Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is classified by Inattentiveness, Hyperactivity and Impulsivity. It is estimated that 11 percent of of children between the age of 4-17 year of age in the United States have a diagnosis of ADHD. Unfortunately, there is a high rate of misdiagnosis or overdiagnosis of ADHD as practitioners are quick to diagnose with ADHD, the proper diagnostics are not performed or there is a broken chain of communication amongst the individual providers. To come to a proper diagnosis of ADHD requires the exclusion of other medical, mental and sociocultural causes such as Auditory Processing or Learning Disorders. Our society also suffers from over-medicating our children as soon as symptoms of Inattentiveness, Hyperactivity or Impulsivity appear. Just because a child may not be focusing or is forgetful, does not mean he or she has ADHD.
If you are concerned whether you or your child is receiving the correct medical attention for the treatment of ADHD, you are not alone. ADHD patients are commonly sent to a variety of different practitioners, including (but not limited to) Psychiatrists, Neurologists, Psychologists, Social Workers, and Speech Pathologists. Each one of these specialists maximize their specific area of expertise, while often improvising or overlooking the other fields that may be involved in the diagnosis and/or treatment of ADHD. In addition, when only one specialist is involved in the care, there is no reevaluation of a child’s progress to decide whether the current mode of treatment is optimal, (and if this specialist is the best fit for this patient’s treatment or not). If multiple independent providers are involved, patients can end up receiving disconnected care in an uncoordinated way. In reality what is needed is a single entity that provides an integration of all the subspecialty diagnostic and treatment options for patients in one location.
Our Interdisciplinary, co-located medical team provides all the practitioners and diagnostics to rule out the possible causes of your symptoms. This setup prevents patients from experiencing fragmented care going in circles between various specialists. After a diagnosis is identified, we create a tailored, individualized treatment plan including therapy, medication, or both. It takes a team to treat a patient with ADHD.
Starting with an intake interview we ascertain as to whether or not this practice is the right fit for you. Following the intake, our experienced psychotherapist takes an in-depth psycho-social history from you and your child. A "theoretical" or "temporary" diagnosis of ADHD is made, as you are sent to be seen by the other practitioners, all on site, to rule out the possible causes of your child's symptoms. This includes visiting our Audiologist to test your child's auditory processing, our speech pathologist to check your child's learning development and even state-of-the-art computer testing (QbTest) to provide objective data about your child's attention and impulsivity. After all of that is completed our Clinical Psychologist performs additional testing that includes Academic, Intelligence, and Neuro-psychological domains. This allows us to tailor a precise, individualized treatment that targets the weakness of your child.
Following your newfound diagnosis (whatever that diagnosis may be), our team can continue to provide treatment for you, whether it be therapy or medication. Our psychotherapist and psychologist are trained in multiple therapeutic modalities to provide the optimal choice that works for you and your child. Our experienced pharmacist will meet with you and consult our prescribing practitioner to provide the best course of medication therapy. She is always a phone call or video-conference away if the medications are inefficient or there are undesired side-effects warranting a medication change. Our Dietician will also meet with you to construct an eating plan that is appropriate for your child.
Once medical treatment has begun, follow-up appointments with the medical team are made for every 2 weeks to titrate medications until the optimal medication and dose is reached. After that, appointment are on a quarterly or bi-annual schedule.
ADHD is a condition that can cause difficulty in school, at home, or with friends. Children with ADHD need behavioral health services, such as services to diagnose the condition, and treatment. Medications also play an important part in the treatment of ADHD; however, they only solve part of the issue. It treats the hallmark symptoms of ADHD, including inattentiveness, hyperactivity and/ or impulsivity, but it does not change the underlying neurobiology of a patient. Medication does not cure the disorder. ADHD patients still have an underlying executive dysfunction. What this means is that after taking medications, a patient may be more attentive and focused, but they have not been taught how to be organized, manage time or even understand their emotions. A patient may no longer have the urge to be fidgety, but hasn’t been taught what to do now that he/she is relaxed. Research shows that behavior therapy is an important part of treatment for children with ADHD. Using various modalities of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a patient can be taught various skills that will allow him/her to plan ahead, organize life, and socialize. It can help dispel negative emotions that a life of ADHD has caused, replacing them with optimistic and positive thoughts. CBT continuously reinforces the fact that ADHD is not a character flaw and teaches patients to tackle their daily struggles. Together with medication, patients tend to have the best outcomes (as research has shown).
The goals of behavior therapy are to learn or strengthen positive behaviors and eliminate unwanted or problem behaviors. Behavior therapy can include behavior therapy training for parents, behavior therapy with children, or a combination. It is often helpful to start behavior therapy as soon as a diagnosis is made.