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Joining Alexa today is Colin McGee, who is trained in psychoanalytic and humanistic therapy and hypnotherapy. Colin McGee works at the National ADHD charity ADDISS as a psychotherapist, supervisor, and trainer, and also has his own personal clinical practice specialising in behaviour management, ADHD and autism. He’s the perfect guest for this episode as we’re looking at teaching neurodivergent singers.


  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects around 5% of people, but only about 1% are diagnosed. People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.
  • Symptoms of ADHD tend to be noticed at an early age and may become more noticeable when a child’s circumstances change, such as when they start school. Most cases are diagnosed when children are under 12 years old, but sometimes it’s diagnosed later than that.
  • You need a trained psychiatrist to diagnose ADHD rather than just your GP. Getting a diagnosis is more like moving towards a conclusion based on lots of evidence, rather than a test for a binary yes or no answer.
  • Being dismissive of the validity of someone’s ADHD is only going to hurt them; it impacts life hugely. People with ADHD aren’t doing things or being forgetful deliberately.
  • There’s no one size fits all approach to teaching singing to someone with ADHD; it’s a case of working out what works best for them as an individual.
  • When you’re in an emotionally flooded state, you lose about 30 IQ points and have reduced hearing. As a teacher, you need to find ways to reduce this in neurodivergent students; usually breathing exercises help.


‘ADHD is not deliberate; they’re not late on purpose’

‘People with ADHD are visual kinesthetic learners’

‘When you become emotionally overloaded, that’s where the problems start’


Guest Website:

Relevant Links & Mentions:

  • Dr. Russell Barkley – This is How you Treat ADHD Off Science Lecture: com/watch?v=_tpB-B8BXk0
  • Georgia & Tommy: Baby Steps Documentary (Series 3; episode 1)


Trained in psychoanalytic and humanistic therapy and hypnotherapy, Colin McGee works at the National ADHD charity ADDISS as a psychotherapist, supervisor, and trainer (Schools and Parents), and also has his own personal clinical practice.

Colin has a background in education and has taught in three countries over many years, teaching in most types of schools from Kindergarten to MA level and as deputy head and headteacher. His specialist areas are behaviour management, ADHD, and, more recently, autism, particularly as part of a dual diagnosis.

In the early 1990s, Colin started to work with singers from various backgrounds, from students to young professionals and established international performers. He has also worked with a number of classical musicians. Colin says: ‘I think that one of my strengths is that I know very little about music or singing, and I tend to ask questions that others may overlook.’

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