Thursday, 13 February 2014

Information about ADHD and Treatment

Please note this information is taken from Alan Carr's (2006) The handbook of Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychology - this information is based on his work I have summarised it and add a little bit of my experience and knowledge. This is to help you in understanding the methods adopted by the medical professionals to assist your child. It is in your interest to discuss and consult any associated problems that you have with the necessary professionals. I only can suggest these under the understanding that the correct and qualified professionals must be contacted so that they can advise you accordingly.

For more information: take a look at Alan Carr's book the chapter for ADHD or consider purchasing the book. Although targeted more for professional and study use it is a helpful chapter for parents who have children with ADHD.

I am often asked by parents about the methods used by professionals (such as medication and behavioural treatments). The principles are best described by Alan Carr.

The principles describe by Alan Carr (2006)  are based in "a multi-systemic treatment programme for children with ADHD [which] includes the following elements:
1. psychoeducation
2. psychostimulant medication
3. family intervention to promote rule-following at home
4. school intervention focusing on the management of school-based learning difficulties and conduct problems
5. dietary asses
sments and intervention"


 Information for your understanding of these principles:

 1. Psychoeducation is learning about ADHD. This means gaining authoritative information and ensuring you understand it. There are many symptoms to ADHD and to know about them allows you to have a better understanding and observational skills of your child. There are misleading and misconceptions regarding ADHD so a reliable source is essential. Knowing this information assists you in the decision to take medication, what rights your child has educational or otherwise, strategies to use at home or in other environments (there are also various support groups) to name a few. The key to psychoeducation is learning from reliable sources.

 2. Pyschostimulant medication should be offered when an authoritative diagnosis has been made by a professional (specially Psychiatrist - they are specifically trained to assess and decide the correct dosage or whether the medication is having significant results). This should be continually monitored as dosages change with age, weight and environmental factors. In certain cases medication is preferable but if you are weary of medication it is suggested that you try other alternatives - however if there is definitely little or no improvement medication should be considered. This is because ADHD is known to have a biological component that can be assisted with the correct medication.

 3. Family Intervention - Yes treating the individual will not address all the issues or concerns at hand. Family intervention, support and involvement has indicated significant results with ADHD particularly in preadolescents and adolescents. There are different programmes available a Psychologist who specializes or has an interest in ADHD would be a good place to start with both individual and family sessions.

 4. School Intervention is the involvement of the school assistance in helping the child. Carr (2006) says "the aim of school-based interventions is to provide the child with an appropriate level of teacher contact, an appropriate curriculum and a contingency management programme." The involvement of specialized professionals with schools is invaluable. A team of medical professional, the parents, the teachers and the child has shown to have both positive and significant results.


 5. Dietary and other interventions are also essential. Many parents with a child who has ADHD do not realizes the significance of a healthy balanced diet - I am not saying a child should not have indulgent meals or treats on occasion but the dietary intake should be monitored. Perhaps consider visiting a dietician for further advice or suggestions. Other interventions include child-focused and interventions for co-morbid problems. Child-focused intervention is simply when a professional helps a child develop self-instructional skills to assist them in daily life. Interventions for co-morbidity should be consider when a child has other diagnoses.


 The above discusses options regarding ADHD. It is suggested that a multi-systemic be adopted - using all of the above will significantly improve your child's ability to manage their ADHD and it will also assist you in offering your child the best you can for your child.
 
I hope this answers many of your questions.