Sydney Cognitive Development Centre

Sydney Cognitive Development Centre Maximising Potential and Therapy Options  

Who We Are

The Sydney Cognitive Development Centre is one of the largest centres in NSW to provide comprehensive assessment and treatment services, using the latest scientific advances in neuropsychological assessment, neurocognitive therapy & neurotechnology. Our centre is unique as we have clinical neuropsychologists conduct our testing, which is an endorsement that involves an additional 4 year training in assessment on top of a normal 4 year psychology degree. This means that we have extensive experience in conducting highly comprehensive testing to get to the root of the problem, which means treatment can then be more targeted, resulting in much better outcomes.

Once assessment has been completed we then offer very extensive therapy programs including: psychological therapy, cognitive training, social skill training, behaviour management, neurofeedback, family therapy, medication monitoring, and parenting skills. Our centre’s philosophy is to utilise the latest in scientific neurotechnology in order to maximise potential. Our centre prides itself as being at the cutting edge of technology and using neuroplasticity to enhance well-being and performance.

What We Do

At the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we have extensive experience and training in the screening, assessment and treatment of cognitive, social, emotional, developmental and behavioural problems. But what if you are unsure if your child has a problem or whether their behaviour is developmentally normal? You don’t want to waste thousands of dollars on assessments trying to pinpoint the problem, or throw your child unnecessarily into therapy they don’t need.

We have a very comprehensive screening system that can identify many areas that your child may be struggling with, as well as screen for the 13 most common developmental and psychological problems in children. This can be done at a very small fraction of the cost of a full assessment and will indicate whether an assessment is required and if so, what type of assessment. These screeners can be completed by parents as well as teachers and can be conducted from the age of 3 years to 18 years. It is helpful to get ratings conducted in both the home and school setting as often specific issues can present in different situations.

Does your child struggle with learning or distractibility? Do you feel they are not reaching their full potential but can’t pinpoint why? At the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we have comprehensive assessments to pinpoint (1) the exact nature of the described problem and (2) the underlying reasons why these learning issues are occurring. At the SCDC we have neuropsychologists conduct our testing and own one of the most extensive test libraries in NSW. We have specific tests for IQ, academic achievement, memory, attention, planning/organisation, auditory processing, visual processing etc. Our assessments are so highly detailed that we have referrals from all over NSW, Australia and even Asia and Europe.

We do not believe in fixed batteries for assessment- we treat all children like the individuals they are. Whereas some clinician do IQ and academic tests, we find that these tests are really the starting points for assessment, and whilst valuable, only give very limited information about core cognitive issues. We keep our testing flexible and if we note issues in certain areas we will explore those issues to find the root cause. We leave no stone unturned in determining the extent of issues.

At the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we have numerous psychologists who conduct various therapy programs with our children and adults. They all have a very strong basis in cognitive behavioural therapy. This type of therapy teaches people how to recognise unhelpful thoughts and teaches them techniques to be able to dispute and replace these thoughts with more helpful thoughts. At the SCDC we like to combine this type of therapy with ACT therapy, as we find that it is helpful to get patients ‘out of their heads’ so they can start engaging more in life.

This therapy focuses on understanding the nature of our minds, realising how avoidance of negative feelings stops us from living our life fully, and then developing mindfulness and acceptance in order to be able to create a meaningful and enjoyable life. The aim of all of our therapy is to give our patients long-term skills in order to live for meaningful and functional lives: We believe in short-term therapy rather than long-term dependence.

Cognitive training is a type of individually designed ‘brain training’ program based on principles of neuroplasticity in the brain. Neuroplasticity is the ability for the brain to change itself through some form of intervention. At the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we have a highly unique program called the HighQ Cognitive Training Program. We do not just offer computerised programs but rather we identify the exact nature of the weakness and then design a personalised one-on-one program to improve all required skills.

Our program is very skill based in that we first train the skills in an abstract manner using ‘games’ and then teach children how to generalise these skills to everyday life. Unlike other computerised ‘games’  at the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we teach children how these skills exist in real life and teach them how to adapt these skills, so real world functional benefits occur. As part of this training we assess patients to see whether neurofeedback would be helpful as part of a treatment program. At our centre we use the latest advances in neurotechnology to enhance cognitive skills both in terms of neuroplasticity and retraining the brain, as well as using technology to compensate for cognitive weaknesses.

Our ADHD 7-Step program was the first in NSW and is now one of the leading benchmarks for comprehensive ADHD treatment in Sydney. Our program is based upon multi-disciplinary assessment that identifies holistically not just the types of attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity issues, but also the comorbid emotional, social, behavioural, language/auditory, visual processing and learning problems. Our program includes school intervention, cognitive remediation (cognitive training & neurofeedback), social skills training, behavioural management, psychological therapy and executive skills training. Our aim is to address every area so that our patients don’t have to necessarily rely upon medication in order to be able to function to potential.

Our policy is to only medicate as a last resort as stimulant medications usually wear off after 8-10 hours, hence most patients are not covered by medication in the evenings when they are around their families, which can result in negative family interactions. Thus, medication can actually have some major drawbacks if people are not taught strategies on how to control their behaviours when the medication wears off. Our program aims not just for reaching academic potential, but at creating individuals that are resilient, have good functional skills, good relationships and are confident to be able to set their minds to anything they wish to achieve.

At the Sydney Cognitive Development Centre we not only offer child services, but also a range of adult clinics. The clinics were initially created as we found that as children developed into adulthood there were few clinics available to address developmental issues. Our director has conducted PhD and post-doctoral research into understanding how developmental disorders change into adulthood, hence we have created one of the largest Adult ADHD and Adult Autistic Spectrum clinics in NSW. We have strong mindfulness and executive training programs for adults that are extremely popular not just with our ASD and ADHD patients but adults in general who want to get more out of life. We also have an adult psychotherapy clinic. We offer numerous types of therapy, and also match the therapy to the person’s unique profile. We use a combination of therapies including the most popular and well researched therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, ACT therapy, and family therapy.

Where to Start?


Child Cognitive Assessment: Identifying Blocks to Learning

ADHD TREATMENT OPTIONS: 10 alternatives to medication


ADHD Assessment

Research Updates

ADHD & Morning Routines: Does medication help?



ADHD & Morning Routines: Does medication help?

Morning routine trouble for children with ADHD: stimulants do not help It has been previously established that children with ADHD have trouble with completing their morning routines compared to other children their age. This means that they may not be able to prepare for school and organise transport in time. More importantly, not being able to start the day right often leads to worse behaviour…

Read More