Occasionally, we may all have difficulty sitting still, paying attention or controlling impulsive behavior. For some people, the problems are so pervasive and persistent that they interfere with their lives, including home, academic, social and work settings.
Often, when a child is diagnosed with AD/HD, the first response from his or her concerned parent is, “What can I do about it?” Although life with your child may at times seem challenging, it is important to remember that children with AD/HD can and do
Individuals with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) experience chronic problems with inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity to a greater degree than the average person. It is a lifespan disorder, affecting children, adolescents and adults.
There are two federal laws that guarantee a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and provide services or accommodations to eligible students with disabilities in the U.S. They are:
1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (called Section 504)
2. Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act1 (called IDEA)
Section 504 and IDEA are the laws that provide special education, services and appropriate accommodations for eligible children with disabilities in the U.S. When state laws and federal laws are different, schools must follow the federal laws, unless the state law provides the child with more protection. Both laws also say that children with disabilities must be educated as much as possiblewith children who do not have disabilities. But there are differences between Section 504 and IDEA. Parents, health professionals and teachers should know what each law offers so that they make the best choice for the child.
As many as two thirds of children with AD/HD have at least one other coexisting condition. The constant motion and fidgetiness, interrupting and blurting out, difficulty waiting in lines or sitting in restaurants, and need for constant reminders may overshadow these other disorders. But just as untreated AD/HD can leave lasting scars, so too can other untreated disorders cause unnecessary suffering in individuals with AD/HD and their families. Any disorder can coexist with AD/HD, but certain disorders seem to occur more commonly with AD/HD.
In the past decade, there has been a tremendous upsurge of scientific and public interest in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD). This interest is reflected not only in the number of scientific articles, but also in the explosion of books and articles for parents and teachers. Great strides have been made in the understanding and management of this disorder. Children with AD/HD who would have gone unrecognized and untreated only a few short years ago are now being helped, sometimes with dramatic results.
There are still many questions to be answered concerning the developmental course, outcome and treatment of AD/HD. Although there are several effective treatments, they are not equally effective for all children with AD/HD. Among the most effective methods to date is the judicious use of medication and behavior management, referred to in the scientific literature as multimodal treatment. Multimodal treatment for children and adolescents with AD/HD consists of parent and child education about diagnosis and treatment, behavior management techniques, medication, and school programming and supports. Treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each child and family. In an effort to seek effective help for AD/HD, however, many people turn to treatments that claim to be useful but have not been shown to be truly effective, in agreement with standards held by the scientific community.
Psychosocial treatment is a critical part of treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD) in children and adolescents. The scientific literature, the National Institute of Mental Health, and many professional organizations agree that behaviorally oriented psychosocial treatments—also called behavior therapy or behavior modification—and stimulant medication have a solid base of scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness. Behavior modification is the only nonmedical treatment for AD/HD with a large scientific evidence base.
Treating AD/HD in children often involves medical, educational and behavioral interventions. This comprehensive approach to treatment is called “multimodal” and consists of parent and child education about diagnosis and treatment, behavior management techniques, medication, and school programming and supports. The severity and type of AD/HD may be factors in deciding which components are necessary. Treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each child and family.
For more than 100 years, extremely hyperactive children have been recognized as having behavioral problems. In the 1970s, doctors recognized that those hyperactive children also had serious problems with “paying attention.” Researchers in the 1980s found that some children had severe problems in paying attention, but little or no problem with hyperactivity at all.
“I have AD/HD…..so what??” In many ways, “so what” is right: mostly, you are just a regular teen, with all the ups and downs that come with being a teenager. In other ways, growing up and heading towards adulthood with AD/HD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) presents some unique challenges and obstacles. People used to think that just young kids had AD/HD, something that you grew out of as you got older. Now we know differently. Today’s research has shown that most kids do not outgrow AD/HD when they reach adolescence,1 and most teens don’t outgrow AD/HD when they become young adults. So what does being a teen with AD/HD really mean?
First, you should know that having AD/HD doesn’t have to get in the way of living the life you want. Countless teens just like you have grown up to pursue their passions, live happy lives, and be successful in their work. They’ve found this success because they’ve taken the time to learn how AD/HD affects them and taken charge of a treatment plan that works for them and their unique situation.
“Shouldn’t my teen have outgrown this by now!?!” You, along with many other parents, may be wondering why your child hasn’t outgrown his or her difficulties sitting still, thinking of consequences before acting, resisting distractions, organizing daily activities, and managing time wisely. In contrast to what was previously thought, today’s research has shown that the majority of children do not outgrow AD/HD when they reach adolescence.