Em Rusciano, TV and radio personality is calling on the government to add ADHD to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
In her address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, the 43-year-old said people with the disorder ‘need proper government recognition and support’.
ADHD, also known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, was recognised as a disability in 1992 under the Disability Discrimination Act, but is not included in the list of conditions covered by the NDIS.
TV and radio personality Em Rusciano (pictured on Wednesday) is calling on the government to add ADHD to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
‘ADHD needs to be included in the NDIS as a primary disability,’ she said during her speech in Canberra.
Rusciano said one in 20 Australians has ADHD, but women often go undiagnosed because the symptoms are more noticeable in young boys.
‘I associated it with hyperactive 10-year-old boys who should avoid red cordial, certainly not 42-year-old anxiety-ridden adult women who are chronically exhausted all of the time,’ she said.
‘I felt a deep sadness for that precocious, curious and chaotic 10-year-old girl who desperately wanted to get things right, the girl who tried hard all the time, and who just wanted to be like everyone else.’
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten told SBS News the scheme was never meant for every Australian with a disability.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten (pictured) told SBS News the scheme was never meant for everyone with a disability. He said people with ADHD can ‘still become NDIS participants if they meet the requirements set out in the NDIS Act’, but not all candidates will meet the requirements
‘Generally, a person will be eligible for the NDIS if their disability is, or is likely to be, permanent and significantly affects their communication, social interaction, learning, mobility, self-care or self-management,’ he said.
Mr Shorten noted that people with ADHD can ‘still become NDIS participants if they meet the requirements set out in the NDIS Act’, but not all candidates will meet the requirements.
Elsewhere in her speech at the National Press Club, Rusciano revealed that working in breakfast radio brought out the ‘worst’ of her then-undiagnosed ADHD.
Em Rusciano reveals people have told her ADHD is only a ‘fad’
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Elsewhere in her speech at the National Press Club, Rusciano revealed that working in breakfast radio brought out the ‘worst’ of her then-undiagnosed ADHD
‘I know now that a person with rejection sensitivity dysphoria, low self-esteem, time blindness, someone who is very blunt, has a complete inability to regulate her emotions, and is hypersensitive to external stimuli should be nowhere near the breakfast radio environment,’ she said.
‘It brought out the very worst of my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms. It brought out the worst in me as a human.’
Rusciano, who now has a more flexible work schedule as a podcaster, said the early hours in breakfast radio caused sleep issues, which only made her symptoms worse.
‘I was getting up at 4am each day, having not fallen asleep until at least midnight,’ she admitted.
‘Chronic and accumulative sleep deprivation makes ADHD symptoms much worse.’
Rusciano also revealed she was diagnosed with postnatal depression following the birth of her daughter Odette in 2007, and suffered ‘severe PTSD’ after working in radio
Rusciano also revealed she was diagnosed with postnatal depression following the birth of her daughter Odette in 2007.
Odette, now 14, has since been diagnosed with ADHD too, while the radio star’s son Elio, three, is autistic.
Rusciano has also come out as autistic and has passionately fired back at trolls who have questioned her neurodivergence.
Before her departure from 2Day FM, multiple reports alleged employees had left the network and others were looking for new jobs due to Rusciano’s ‘attitude’
The 43-year-old’s son Elio has been diagnosed with autism, and Em is currently exploring her own autism after coming out as having it too
Em Rusciano fears people think she’s ‘making up’ ADHD diagnosis
She also said her stint on breakfast radio left her with ‘some severe PTSD’.
‘I was constantly told I was angry, I needed to be nicer to people, I needed to smile more and my tone was policed,’ she said last year.
‘I was under this microscope the whole time. Meetings would be on a screen and if I didn’t smile the whole time, there would be three emails about what’s going on with Em.’
Rusciano acknowledged her own behaviour at 2Day FM ‘wasn’t great’, but said no one around her was willing to ‘cut me any slack’.
‘I’m still dealing with it all but I feel like I understand it a bit better,’ she concluded.