Welcome to AADDM





The Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine (AADDM) was formed in September 2002 as a network of doctors with an interest in pursuing improve the health status of people with intellectual and developmental disability (DD). The main focuses are the professional development of its members and their clinical colleagues, and political advocacy.

The committee has continued to hold quarterly teleconferences and welcomes input from members.  To address the professional development AADDM holds yearly conferences and produces an excellent newsletters (see below for recent examples).

AADDM has been and continues to be a major contributor to government policy with a remarkable history of successful advocacy leading to widespread changes in healthcare delivery throughout Australia.

AADDM in colloboration with the NSW Council on Intellectual Disability, successfully advocated over  many years for the development of a Medicare item to fund general practitioners to perform year health assessments for people with intellectual disability.  The Medicare item first became available in July 2006 and resulted in tens of thousands of health assessment being performed throughout the country.  In 2009 AADDM provided the Hon Secretary Hon Bill Shorten MP with a literature review outlining the evidence for early intervention in children with intellectual disability, then in 2010 the Labor party announced funding for this process as part of their platform for re-election.  These changes have now been delivered throughout Australia.  In addition the National Disability Strategy sets out a ten year national plan for improving life for Australians with disability, their families and carers and includes specific suggestions made by AADDM & NSW CID under the sixth priority area;  “Health and wellbeing—health services, health promotion and the interaction between health and disability systems; wellbeing and enjoyment of life.”

Join AADDM, support these activities and be part of an effective association that provides information and support and continues to improve the  health  of people with developmental disability in Australia.


Independent Hospital Pricing Authority

A letter of submission has been sent to the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority regarding the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2015-2016

View the letter here

View the submission here



Recent political activities

The National Roundtable on the Mental Health of People with Intellectual Disability – 22nd May 2013 in Canberra

The 2013 Roundtable was organised by the NSW Council of Intellectual Disability (CID) in partnership with:

  • The Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry University of NSW (3DN),
  • The Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine (AADDM) and
  • The Queensland Centre for Intellectual & Developmental Disability (QCIDD),

with the funding and support of the Department of Health and Ageing.

This was an extra-ordinary day where 95 participants from a range of key backgrounds were invited to attend to discuss critical issues.  The day commenced with presentations from some key people including Prof. Alan Fels AO, the Chair of the National Mental Health Commission, and the Presidents of the College of Psychiatry, Dr Maria Tomasic and the College of General Practice, Dr Liz Marles.

This was followed by active consultation groups that considered a background paper and developed proposals for action.  As reported in the Communiqué from the roundtable, participants considered and supported eight key elements of an effective system of mental health care for people with intellectual disability.

8 key elements of an effective system of mental health care for people with intellectual disability:

These elements are:

1. Inclusion of intellectual disability mental health in all mental health  initiatives,

2. Prevention and timely intervention,

3. Equitable access to, and skilled treatment by mental health services,

4. Specialist intellectual disability mental health services to support mainstream services,

5. Collaboration between disability, schools, mental health and other agencies,

6. Workforce education and training,

7. Enhanced data collection,

8. Addressing contributors to multiple disadvantage.

Identified Priorities for action:

Priorities for action were identified and many of the proposed actions build on existing initiatives, with some fine tuning, while others would require a more focussed or targeted approach. Key examples where proposed actions can build on existing initiatives include:

  • Finalise and implement Accessible Mental Health Services for People with Intellectual Disability: A Guide for Providers as a guide to practice and a tool to support review of service capability.
  • Ensure arrangements to provide coordinated and effective care for people with intellectual disability and mental health needs are properly explored and built into the design of DisabilityCare Australia, starting with focused action in one or more NDIS launch sites.
  • Adapt existing national health initiatives to target systematic improvements in the mental health care of people with intellectual disability. Relevant initiatives include the National Recovery Oriented Mental Health Policy Framework, eHealth records, the Specialist Training Program and primary mental health care programs, practice support and training initiatives through Medicare Locals.
  • Incorporate improved responses to students with intellectual disability in National Schools Reform.
  • Improve the low take-up rates of Medicare annual health assessments by people with intellectual disability.
  • Include consideration of mental health issues in the proposed national strategy to reduce the use of restrictive practices in disability services.
  • Support action in the RANZCP to develop a recognised specialty in intellectual disability mental health.
  • Enhance coverage of intellectual disability mental health in various workforce education and training contexts.

The Communiqué is intended to provide both a broad agenda for reform and a menu from which interested parties can identify actions they can pursue in their varying roles and contexts.

In mid 2014, there will be an audit of what action has occurred in response to the Roundtable.

In writing the above description I have drawn on material primarily written by Jim Simpson.

 AADDM Position statements and submissions


The aims of the Association are to:

  • Improve the health of people with developmental disability across the lifespan;
  • Establish a national standards for management of the health of people with disability;
  • Endorse a national approach to delivery of health care in Australia for people with developmental disability;
  • Continue professional development of doctors with an interest in the health of people with developmental disability.

To achieve its aims AADDM will focus on:

  • Policy advocacy;
  • Engagement of members and governance;
  • Medical workforce professional development;
  • Guidelines and uptake of evidence for medical management of people with developmental disability;
  • Collaborative health service research and evaluation;
  • Standards for service provision;
  • Regional, national and international representation.

AADDM has adopted as its Principles the European Manifesto: Basic Standards of Healthcare for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which are driven by principles of human rights. This Manifesto states that:

  • People with intellectual disabilities are citizens of their country and they have an equal right to be included in society, whatever their level of disability.
  • People with intellectual disabilities have many gifts and abilities, but they may also have special needs and may need a choice of services to support their needs.
  • People with intellectual disabilities have the same human rights as other citizens.
  • People with intellectual disabilities have the right to equal participation in society and to participate in all decisions that concern their lives.

AADDM Priorities for 2010- 2015

  • Lobbing for to establish multi-disciplinary teams throughout Australia
  • Finalise our five year strategic plan
  • Newsletter with lobbing, clinical and organisational updates.
  • Webpage updating and further development
  • Enhance the membership of AADDM
  • Regular Conference organisation
  1. 25/10/2010 at 9:07 am

    Mr Justice Carter’s speech at the Conference made an impression on everyone. One of my friends asked if the newsletter would print a copy of this speech if it is available. If no copy available it might be worth-while asking Mr Justice Carter to contribute an article for the newsletter in December.

    Also, suggest the following article to be referenced in the newsletter:

    Injuries, falls and accidents among adults with intellectual disabilities. Prospective cohort study
    J. Finlayson, J. Morrison, A. Jackson, D. Mantry and S.-A. Cooper
    JIDR Article first published online: 1 OCT 2010 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2010.01319.x

  2. 12/08/2013 at 3:25 pm

    Tony Holland will be an excellent resource at this year’s (2013) seminar. I look forward to hearing what he has to say and network with my colleqgues over this challenging issue of transition from childhood services to adult (non)-services

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  1. 17/03/2016 at 1:20 pm

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