ADHD Evaluation & Management

Martin’s Pediatrics and Counseling can diagnose and treat Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) through dedicated counseling and, when necessary, prescription medications.

adhdChildren with ADHD show signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity in specific ways. These children:

  • Are in constant motion
  • Squirm and fidget
  • Do not seem to listen
  • Have trouble playing quietly
  • Often talk excessively
  • Interrupt or intrude on others
  • Are easily distracted
  • Do not finish tasks

ADHD in Children

How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
Though your child may have some symptoms that seem like ADHD, it might be something else. That’s why you need a Health Care Provider to check it out.

There is no specific or definitive test for ADHD. Instead, diagnosing is a process that takes several steps and involves gathering a lot of information from multiple sources. You, your child, your child’s school, and other caregivers should be involved in assessing your child’s behavior. A Health Care Provider will also ask what symptoms your child has, how long ago those symptoms started, and how the behavior affects your child and the rest of your family. Health Care Providers diagnose ADHD in childrenafter a child has shown six or more specific symptoms of inattention or hyperactivity on a regular basis for more than 6 months in at least two settings. The Health Care Provider will consider how a child’s behavior compares with that of other children the same age.

A Health Care Provider will give your child a physical exam, take a medical history, and may even give him a noninvasive brain scan.

Your child’s primary care Health Care Provider can determine whether your child has ADHD using standard guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says the condition may be diagnosed in children ages 4 to 18. Symptoms, though, must begin by age 12.

It is very difficult to diagnose ADHD in children younger than 5. That’s because many preschool children have some of the symptoms seen in ADHD in various situations. Also, children change very rapidly during the preschool years.

In some cases, behavior that looks like ADHD might be caused instead by:

  • A sudden life change (such as divorce, a death in the family, or moving)
  • Undetected seizures
  • Medical disorders affecting brain function
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder

3 Types of ADHD in Children

Health Care Providers may classify symptoms as the following types of ADHD:

Combined type (inattentive/hyperactive/impulsive). Children with this type of ADHD show all three symptoms. This is the most common form of ADHD.
Hyperactive/impulsive type. Children show both hyperactive and impulsive behavior, but for the most part, they are able to pay attention.
Inattentive type. Formerly called attention deficit disorder (ADD). These children are not overly active. They do not disrupt the classroom or other activities, so their symptoms might not be noticed.

ADHD Treatment Overview

Treatment plans may include special education programs, psychological intervention, and drug treatment. Learn as much as you can about the options and talk them over with your child’s health care provider so you can make the best plan for your child.

Studies show that long-term treatment with a combination of medications and behavioral therapyis much better than just medication treatment, or no specific treatments in managing hyperactivity, impulsivity, inattention, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. Those kids treated with both ADHD drugs and therapy also had better social skills.

Drugs for Childhood ADHD

A class of drugs called psychostimulants (or sometimes just stimulants) is a highly effective treatment for childhood ADHD. These medicines, including Adderall , Vyvanse, Concerta , Focalin, Daytrana , Ritalin , and Quillivant XR, help children focus their thoughts and ignore distractions.

Another treatment used to treat ADHD in kids is nonstimulant medication. These medications include Intuniv, Kapvay, and Strattera.

ADHD medicines are available in short-acting (immediate-release), intermediate-acting, and long-acting forms. It may take some time for a Health Care Provider to find the best medication, dosage, and schedule for someone with ADHD. ADHD drugs sometimes have side effects, but these tend to happen early in treatment. Usually, side effects are mild and don’t last long.

Behavioral Treatments for Children With ADHD

Behavioral treatment for children with ADHD includes creating more structure, encouraging routines, and clearly stating expectations of the child.

Other forms of ADHD treatment that may benefit your child include:

Social skills training. This can help a child with ADHD learn behaviors that will help them develop and maintain social relationships.
Support groups and parenting skills training. This includes support for the parents and helping them learn more about ADHD and how to parent a child who has ADHD.

What Treatment Is Best for My Child?

No single treatment is the answer for every child with ADHD. Each child’s needs and personal history must be carefully considered.

For example, a child may have undesirable side effects to a medication, making a particular treatment unacceptable. If a child with ADHD also has anxiety or depression, a treatment combining medication and behavioral therapy might be best.

It’s important to work with a Health Care Provider to find the best solution for your child. Martin’s provides counseling for children suffering from ADHD!