Children's Hospital Los Angeles Expert Offers ADHD Parenting Tips

Children's Hospital Los Angeles Expert Offers ADHD Parenting Tips

<0> Children’s Hospital Los AngelesLorenzo Benet, media relations director(323) 361-4823 </0>

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed an 11 percent rise in the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in school-age kids. As a parent or guardian, you may wonder, “How do I know if my child as ADHD?” or “How do I help my child who does have ADHD?”

at provides answers to some of the questions worried parents have.

There are three different subtypes of ADHD:

1. Inattentive2. Hyperactive/Impulsive3. Combined.

Your child must display a minimum number of main symptoms within one of the two main subtypes (or both to be diagnosed for combined ADHD) which will be present in two settings like school and home. The symptoms must start before the age of seven to meet full diagnostic criteria.

The two types of symptoms most present in kids are:

Many children and adolescents will exhibit difficulties in social skills and peer relationships and may have trouble making or keeping friends. The symptom presentation may look different in girls versus boys, as well as between different age groups and different cultures. Gender, age and cultural differences need to be taken into account when evaluating for ADHD.

Speaking with the child’s primary pediatrician is a good first step and should take place as soon as the parent, school and/or child begins to suspect that there is a concern. The outcomes of untreated ADHD, or possible other diagnoses that may be presenting as ADHD-like symptoms, can be quite negative and attenuated if intervention is sought early on.

The pediatricians at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles are very confident in evaluating for ADHD and follow the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). After you speak with your child’s pediatrician, a plan for a more formal evaluation for ADHD and co-occurring disorders can be discussed and developed.

Absolutely. The standard of care recommendations by the AAP vary depending on the child’s age, as research has shown that children of different ages respond more effectively to different interventions.

It is recommended that after the child’s diagnosis, the doctor should hold off on prescribing medications. Instead, refer the family for therapeutic intervention, which often involves training the parent(s) to give behavioral interventions at home, and the teacher in the school setting. If these interventions do not result in major improvement in the child’s functioning, then consideration of medication may be given at that point.

It is more strongly recommended that medication be considered as an appropriate initial intervention, along with referral to behavioral therapy parenting intervention. Ideally, both interventions would be given. As with any age, school interventions should be implemented as well.

The recommendations are more focused on prescriptions of ADHD medications as a front line intervention. Behavior therapy would ideally be considered as treatment too. Risk for abuse of ADHD medications, especially stimulant ones, needs to be evaluated for this age group and given a lot of thought in the process of deciding whether medication is appropriate or safe. Again, school interventions should be implemented.

ADHD is a life long condition because it is neurological. Many individuals, with appropriate or early intervention, may end up with reduced symptoms as they get older and are better at using the behavioral tools that they have been given through therapeutic and behavioral interventions.

Some individuals may choose to stop medications and will rely on the “tricks” they have learned to minimize the level of impairment their ADHD has on themselves. Some examples of these “tricks” are leaving reminder emails or voicemails, using a calendar or scheduling program to keep track of important deadlines, scheduling frequent breaks, etc.

Consistency and organization, like doing daily checklists with your child, is very important. Here are some other tips to help manage your child’s ADHD at home.

Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top five in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious Honor Roll. Children’s Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children’s Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

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