Once a diagnosis of ADHD is confirmed, multidisciplinary treatment is likely to be initiated requiring the cooperation and coordination of mental health, educational and medical professionals. The Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD (MTA) found that a combination of medication and behavior therapy is more effective than medication therapy alone, behavior therapy alone or usual community care. Therefore, collaborations between professionals is critical for promoting successful management of the child's ADHD symptoms and ability to thrive.
What role does each professional play, then? Medical professionals may have to monitor stimulant medication treatment in the long-term, while mental health professionals may have to intervene in the short-term or episodically to help the individual with ADHD cope and adapt to changing demands placed on them as they grow older. Additionally, the child's parents and treatment team should work together to establish target outcomes or goals of treatment. Some goals may include:
Fewer careless errors in schoolwork, improved completion of schoolwork
Improvement in following directions
Improved compliance with classroom or home rules
Improved success with daily report cards or reward schedules/systems
Improved behavior in public places
Improved family relationships
Improved compliance with parental requests
Improved sibling interactions
Increased independence in specified activities of daily living
Improved peer relations
If, following treatment, the child has not met target outcomes or goals on a specific treatment, the physician should evaluate the original diagnosis, use of appropriate treatments, adherence to treatment plan, and possible presence of coexisting physical or behavioral health conditions. This should be done through regular follow-up appointments with the child and family to monitor their progress. For information on medication treatment and psychosocial treatment, please follow the links below.
In order to better manage the behavior of children with ADHD and reduce associated deficits, parents often seek out or ask for a recommendation on psychosocial treatments. For more information about their options, click here.