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Dr Sally Poulton

Dr Sally Poulton

Shedding light on ADHD

06 Apr 2021


For more than twenty years, Nepean Hospital paediatrician Dr Sally Poulton has worked with children and young people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their families, to improve the lives of people living with this common neurodevelopmental disorder.

Dr Poulton is renowned as a leading expert in ADHD, which affects at least 1 in 20 children.

Through the Lifespan Community ADHD Clinic at Cranebrook Community Health Centre, she sees 40 - 50 families a month.

In shedding light on the condition, Dr Poulton says ADHD is still often misunderstood but is characterised by difficulties concentrating or controlling impulsive behaviour and restlessness.

“It is important to bring some clarity and understanding to this complex condition – for both the person with ADHD and their family,” Dr Poulton says.

“When I first see families at my clinic, parents often want to know why their child with ADHD behaves differently from other children. As parents start to understand the reasons behind their child’s everyday behaviours, empathy develops for the child’s point of view.”

“It pleases me to witness the ‘lightbulb’ moments when suddenly the child’s behaviour starts to make sense and we can move forward and address the challenges from there,” says Dr Poulton.

A prolific researcher, Dr Poulton has also written a book, ‘ADHD Made Simple’, to help demystify the condition for patients and families. Keen to reduce stigma around the condition, she says there are some common myths which need debunking.

“ADHD is recognised more often in boys, but it certainly does not only affect males,” says Dr Poulton who advises that ADHD is also common in adults.

“We know that 3 – 5 per cent of adults have ADHD. Some adults with the condition have already been treated as children, but others may have had their ADHD missed, or it did not cause them serious problems until they became adults,” Dr Poulton says.

It’s for this reason that Dr Poulton hopes her book and her research may benefit not only her paediatric patients, but others living with ADHD and their families.

“ADHD affects people across the lifespan. For all people with ADHD, it’s important that they seek support available to them to help them manage their ADHD and achieve their goals in life,” Dr Poulton says.

A directory of ADHD support services and resources is available at

For more information about ADHD, Dr Poulton’s factsheets are available online at