What is ADHD?
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. 5.1 million children (8.8% of children aged 4-17 years) have a current diagnosis of ADHD: It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (may act without thinking about what the result will be), or be overly active.
Although individuals with ADHD can be very successful in life, without proper identification and proper treatment, ADHD may have serious consequences…
Signs and Symptoms
It is normal for children to have trouble focusing and behaving at one time or another. However, children with ADHD do not just grow out of these behaviors. The symptoms continue and can cause difficulty at school, at home, or with friends.
A child with ADHD might:
- daydream a lot
- forget or lose things a lot
- squirm or fidget
- talk too much
- make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
- have a hard time resisting temptation
- have trouble taking turns
- have difficulty getting along with others
Deciding if a child has ADHD is a several step process. There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, and many other problems, like anxiety, depression, and certain types of learning disabilities, can have similar symptoms. One step of the process involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other problems with symptoms like ADHD. Another part of the process may include a checklist for rating ADHD symptoms and taking a history of the child from parents, teachers, and sometimes, the child.
Based on the types of symptoms, three kinds (presentations) of ADHD can occur:
Combined Presentation: if enough symptoms of both criteria inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity were present for the past 6 months
Predominantly Inattentive Presentation: if enough symptoms of inattention, but not hyperactivity-impulsivity, were present for the past six months
Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation: if enough symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity but not inattention were present for the past six months.
Because symptoms can change over time, the presentation may change over time as well.
What to expect during the initial visit:
- Review records from school,
- Full history, including family history, birth history, medical history, educational history
Information needed from school: Vanderbilt questionaires, Psychoeducational testing results, and report cards
IMPORTANT APPOINTMENT INFORMATION!
Before you bring your child to his/her ADHD appointment, visit our CHADIS page and read its information. The questionnaires available through chadis.com help us to understand your child’s specific medical needs and help us to provide better medical care to your child. Also please invite your child’s teacher or daycare provider to fill out a specified CHADIS questionnaire for teachers.
It is understandable for parents to have concerns when their child is diagnosed with ADHD, especially about treatments. It is important for parents to remember that while ADHD can’t be cured, it can be successfully managed. There are many treatment options, so parents and doctors should work closely with everyone involved in the child’s treatment — teachers, coaches, therapists, and other family members. Taking advantage of all the resources available will help you guide your child towards success. Remember, you are your child’s strongest advocate!
Treatment is individualized for each child. Kids First Pediatrics realizes that each child is different and treatment is tailored toward childs specific needs. If medication treatment is considered, the doctor will do a genetic test to see how your child responds to ADHD medications.
In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and medication. For preschool-aged children (4–5 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy is recommended as the first line of treatment. Good treatment plans will include close monitoring, follow-ups and any changes needed along the way.
The following are treatment options for ADHD:
- A genetic test for medication choice will be administered to determine which class of medicine is best
- Behavioral Therapy Strategies
- Parent Training
- Solving ADHD Problems at Home
- School Accommodations and Interventions
- Special Education Services- Federal Laws
Once a treatment plan is in place, It is very important that your child has regular follow ups every month until an appropriate dose of medication is determined and then every 3 months to monitor signs of medication side effects, growth, and progress in school.
Discuss and review your own observations of your child, his most recent teachers’ reports, and the results of any rating scales completed since the last visit.
Share information about the target behaviors and how they might have changed since the last visit.
Review the plan agenda, the target behaviors, and the current methods of treatment.
Screen for new coexisting conditions.
If your child is taking medication, review any possible side effects.
Review your child’s functioning at home, including his behavior and family relationships.
Review your child’s functioning at school, especially relating to academics, behavior, and social interaction. Make sure that some information is obtained directly from your child’s teacher (particularly important before changing any medication dose).
Discuss your child’s self-esteem, and review his behavioral, social, and academic self-management issues.
Assess and supplement your child’s understanding of ADHD, coexisting conditions, and treatment as appropriate for his age.
Discuss any current problems relating to organizational skills, study skills, homework management, self-management skills, anger management, etc.
Make sure that you get all the information you need to enable you and your child to make informed decisions that promote his long-term health and well-being.
Review and revise your child’s treatment plan.
Make sure that there is a system in place for communication among you, your child, his teacher, and the clinician between visits.
Resources and links