Does my child have ADHD? Many parents worry about this question. Child and Adolescent Clinic will work with your child, your family, your child's teachers, and other doctors as a team. Together we can find the answer to this question, and develop a care plan for your child, if needed. To get started, make an appointment at a time when both parents can attend, if possible, and let the scheduler know you are concerned about ADHD.
Forms You Will Need for Your 1st Appointment
ADHD Instructions to Parents
ADHD Initial Assessment Parent
ADHD Initial Assessment School - Cowlitz County
ADHD Initial Assessment School - Clark County
ADHD Expanded Health History
Health and Behavior Questions
Forms You Will Need for Your Follow Up Appointments
Information from our Pediatricians
Does My Child Have ADHD?
ADHD Tips for Parents
Working with your Child's School
ADHD Homework Tips for Parents
Establishing a Daily Report Card
ADHD Problems with Sleep
Resources for ADHD Management
For up to date information about ADHD from the American Academy of Pediatrics, click here.
The ADD Warehouse has a great deal of information on ADHD under the "Free Articles" tab. In addition, this site offers many good books on ADD and ADHD and other developmental disorders.
CHADD is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides education, advocacy, and support for children and adults with ADHD. They include information on treatments that are proven to work, and those that have little proven effectiveness. They sponsor chapter locations across the country, and list some very helpful books.
The ADHD Support Company
The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association
Healthy Children - ADHD Resources
All Kinds of Minds Institute
Sandra Rief Educational Resource Specialist
The Progress Center
Kelso School District
Longview School District
Castle Rock School District
Woodland School District
Kalama School District
Battleground School District
Camas School District
Evergreen School District
Hockinson School District
Ridgefield School District
ESD 112 Special Services
CHADD Online Support Group
Evergreen Counseling Services
Parents Place - 360-414-9212
Our own Dr. Sue answers a common question about Ritalin used as a treatment for ADHD.
ADHD AND THE USE OF RITALIN
Dear Dr. Sue,
I hear a lot about misuse and overuse of medicines for children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. Is Ritalin really the best treatment for them? I hate the thought of so many children being medicated with drugs such as that. What are the pros and cons to medication for these problems?
There are more children being diagnosed with ADHD now than there were years ago. It is believed that the true incidence of the disorder is somewhere between 3 and 5 percent of all children. Why are more children being labeled as ADHD these days? One reason is that in previous generations children with the same behaviors were given different labels, such as "postencephalic disorder" or "minimal brain disorder." Another reason, I believe, is that more children in previous generations slipped through the cracks and failed to be recognized as having a treatable disorder. I remember a number of boys from my school days who were just felt to be "stupid," "stubborn," "spoiled," "juvenile delinquents," and so on, some of whom might have been successful in school if their problems were looked into a little more closely.
Are there children on stimulant medications who should not be? Definitely. Are there children on medications or dosages that are inappropriate for them? This is also true. It is extremely important that the diagnosis of ADHD not be made on a whim, or simply because the teacher can't seem to control a certain child, or the parents have trouble making him mind. Before the diagnosis is made, all other possibilities that could explain the child's behaviors have to be considered, whether those are medical conditions (such as a subtle seizure disorder, vision problems or hearing loss), poor parenting skills, boredom in school, a learning disability or unrealistic expectations by the teacher, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorder, or just a level of activity that is at the upper range of normal.
There are four specific areas of treatment for children with ADHD:
1. School - The parent and teacher must become a team. The teacher can help by having the ADHD child sit in the least distracting spot in the classroom, breaking instructions into small steps, writing directions on the board, allowing more time for tests and writing assignments, reminding the child to turn in his homework, allowing some children to use a tape recorder to record lessons, and limiting the number of repetitions of the same type of work in an assignment. They can also reward positive behavior and try to ignore negative behavior when possible. Parents need to get to know the teacher well, to stay closely in touch with their child's performance at school, and to be an advocate for their child.
2. Therapy - Many ADHD children need and benefit from psychological techniques offered by counselors, support groups or special classes, which may include behavior modification, social skills training, anger management, and support for their self-esteem, as well as help in dealing with the frustration and anxiety that an attention disorder can produce. Parents can benefit from family therapy and/or parenting classes.
3. Home - Parents must look for and reward positive behaviors, and do their best to avoid rewarding (even by giving attention to) negative ones. They are the ones who can best help their child understand that they have a problem with concentration and impulse control; and that they are NOT crazy or bad kids. They must also reinforce the fact that their ADHD child will be held responsible for all of his choices, but that every attempt will be made to help him so that good choices become easier.
4. Medication - Finally, to answer your question specifically, many studies have shown that stimulant medications are by far the most effective therapy for ADHD at the present time; far more effective than the items listed above without medication. Most experts think these medications are helpful for at least 70 to 80% of children with ADHD. Stimulants (like Ritalin) have been used for over 50 years to treat people with attention disorders. The safety of these medications has been proven beyond doubt (in spite of false rumors you may hear about Ritalin causing drug addiction or other problems). The most common side effects are loss of appetite and sleep disturbance, which are usually mild and temporary. If other side-effects such as spaciness, irritability or increased moodiness occur, the medication (and perhaps the diagnosis) should be re-evaluated, since these are not acceptable side-effects. With medication, there is every possibility that a child who might otherwise experience school failure, rejection by his peers, poor self-esteem, anxiety and depression, and maybe even trouble with the law because of his lack of concentration and poor impulse control, can thrive and be successful and happy.