ADHD: assessment and treatment

Diagnosing ADHD:  A parents guide to the process

1.Talk to your provider if you see that your child is having difficulty concentrating, paying attention to tasks, or completing assignments at school

2. ADHD Diagnosis involves collecting data from 2 sources: HOME and SCHOOL

Your provider will ask ALL PARENTS/GUARDIANS to fill out the VANDERBILT QUESTIONNAIRE based on behaviors of your child AT HOME

Your doctor will ask YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER(S) to fill out the VANDERBILT QUESTIONNAIRE based on behaviors of your child AT SCHOOL

3. Once the Vanderbilt Questionnaire is complete, your doctor will review the scores and give a diagnosis of ADHD or another diagnosis. There are 3 Distinct ADHD Diagnoses: Inattentive, Hyperactive, or Combined.

 4. Based on the AGE of your child, a therapy plan will be developed. Therapeutic plans often involve BEHAVIORAL THERAPY, SCHOOL ACCOMMODATIONS and/or MEDICATION.5. School resources include IEP and 504 Plans which may provide additional help for your child, such as EXTRA TEST TIME or ORGANIZATIONAL HELP. Talk to your child’s teacher and school administrators for further information

5. Remember to Follow Up! Stay in touch with your medical team and school if you are noticing any changes, good or bad as you start making changes!


The BEST Therapies for ADHD:

The Recommended First Choice: BEHAVIOR THERAPY

  • WHO?: Children under 6 should receive behavior therapy as primary treatment, as they are more likely to experience negative side effects of medications including Increased Heart Rate/Blood Pressure, Trouble Sleeping, Loss of Appetite, Loss of Energy
  • WHAT?: Therapists work with children AND parents to teach them skills needed to help better manage their ADHD

After That…Medications Can be Helpful: Your provider will work with you and your child to find the best medication and dose that will be beneficial while minimizing side effects. Be patient! This can take a few tries. When first starting, it is helpful to keep a diary of how long medications are being effective and any negative aspects that you or your child or your teachers observe.

AmphetamineMethylphenidateGuanfacineAtomoxetineClonidine
Brand
Name
Adderall
Vyvanse
Ritalin
Concerta
Tenex
Intuniv
StratteraCatapres
Used ForADHDADHDADHD,
Sleep problems,
Impulsivity, Disruptive Mood
ADHD
ADHD,
Sleep problems,
Impulsivity
Duration of EffectImmediate (4-8 hrs)
Long-Acting (7-8 hrs)
Pearl (8-12 hrs)
Vyvanse (~12 hrs)
Short (3-5 hrs)
Medium (6-8 hrs)
Long (8-12 hrs)
Immediate (4-8 hrs)
Extended (24 hrs)
Immediate (4-8 hrs)
Long-Acting (7-8 hrs)
Immediate Release (3-5 hrs)
Extended Release (12-24 hrs)
Side EffectsBelly pain
Decreased appetite/weight loss
Insomnia
Increased aggression
Nervousness
Belly pain
Decreased appetite/weight loss
Difficulty falling asleep
Aggression
Fast heart rate
Elevated blood pressure
Fatigue
Sleepiness
Belly pain
Irritability(Rarely)
Nightmares
Belly pain
Decreased appetite/weight loss
Difficulty falling asleep
Fatigue
Sleepiness
Vomiting
Dry mouth
Constipation
Slow or abnormal heart rate
Fainting

Some children with ADHD also have executive function issues. Learn more

RESOURCES FOR INFORMATION ON THERAPIES:

Let’s Talk Kids Health: A developmental pediatrican’s take on the most relevant and current issues pertaining to child health

Book: The AAP ADHD – What every parent needs to know by Michael Reif, MD

CHADD: Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Child Mind Institute: https://childmind.org/guide/guide-to-attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder

American Psychiatric Association: An overview on the diagnosis of ADHD in different age groups and what it means for your child


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