ABOUT THE ADHD MANAGEMENT CLINIC
The clinic accepts referrals from pediatricians and other health care providers of children between the ages of 4 and 16 who have been diagnosed with ADHD. For youngsters with suspected ADHD but no prior evaluation, we strongly recommend an evaluation through our Child and Adolescent Assessment Program prior to initiating treatment. A thorough evaluation is essential for the diagnosis of ADHD and to rule out other potential problems such as learning disabilities that could contribute to inattention, poor school performance, and other issues related to self-control.
The primary focus of our treatment is on the management of problem behaviors associated with ADHD including violations of family rules, disruptive behavior in class, difficulties with frustration and anger, non-compliance, and school-related difficulties such as failure to complete homework or class work. Although medications have been shown to reduce ADHD symptoms and improve functioning, additional benefits often are obtained by adding behavior management strategies to medication treatments. The ADHD Management Clinic does not prescribe medications for ADHD but works with your prescribing doctor to maximize your child’s improvement through behavior therapy. Progress is assessed on a regular basis with behavior observation and standardized measures.
For information and referral, call the clinic at 303.871.3306.
How common is ADHD among children and adolescents?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, rates of diagnosed ADHD in children vary from about 5% to about 10% across various states. Thus, it is not uncommon to find one or two children in a classroom of 25 to have symptoms of ADHD. More boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD. Although problems with hyperactivity decline with age, symptoms of inattention often persist into adolescence and adulthood.
What are the common features of ADHD?
Children with ADHD are characterized by problems with inattention and/or impulsivity/hyperactivity. Problems of inattention include distractibility, trouble staying on task, disorganization, and forgetfulness. Symptoms of impulsivity include acting without thinking, trouble waiting turns, interrupting conversations, and disrupting activities. Hyperactivity includes both excessive talking and problems with inhibiting behavior such as fidgeting, squirming, or running around when expected to stay seated. Such difficulties must be considered in light of developmental expectations for the child’s age. However, ADHD symptoms are usually evident early in development, typically before the age of 7. Some children show only problems with inattention whereas others have difficulties in all three areas.
Children with ADHD often have significant academic difficulties, for example, with completing homework, staying on task in class, or forgetting assignments and many have problems getting along with parents, peers, and teachers as a result of their inattention or impulsivity.
Can ADHD in children be effectively treated?
Numerous clinical trials have been conducted on ADHD. Stimulant medications have been shown to be effective in reducing ADHD symptoms and in improving children’s classroom behavior. Over two-thirds of children with ADHD benefit from stimulant medications. For many children, stimulant medication is not sufficient to return the child to age appropriate functioning. Greater improvements are often found when medication is combined with behavior therapy, and the use of combined therapy has been shown to lower the dose of medication to attain improvement. Behavior therapy with ADHD children involves the use of behavior modification strategies at home and/or in school. Clear behavior expectations or house rules are established and both positive and negative consequences for meeting or failing to meet expectations are implemented. Most children with ADHD benefit from increased structure at home or in school. Behavior therapy aims at providing structure to support the child’s success.
What is Parent Management Training for ADHD?
Because ADHD children have trouble with organization and monitoring their own behavior, interventions are delivered by parents or teachers. Parent management training involves teaching parents basic behavior modification principles based on social learning theory. Parents and therapist form a collaborative team. Parents are taught to target and monitor problematic behaviors, set clear and developmentally appropriate behavioral expectations, and deliver positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior and negative consequences for unwanted behavior. Parent management training has been shown to reduce child behavior problems, increase homework completion, and improve parent – child interactions.