Effective Treatment of ADHD must include working with Schools
Many parents of children with behavioral issues find it difficult to get their public school to acknowledge their child’s disability and provide an IEP or 504 plan. Schools across the country resist evaluating or providing services, especially if the child’s academic performance is within normal range. Moreover, there can be little motivation to help a child who is defiant and disruptive in class. However, recent results from a Consumer Reports Study confirms that children with moderate to severe ADHD fare best when provided with multimodal treatment. ADHD is a complex spectrum disorder and individualized treatment is necessary. Not surprisingly, children who received treatment in the form of medication, plus therapy, plus school intervention were most likely to show improvement. There are also several natural treatments parents can consider.

Below you will find the CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder) statement on the study and links to the consumer reports survey results.

Consumer Reports Publishes Results of Survey on Most Effective Treatments for ADHD

CHADD commends Consumer Reports for increasing parental, professional, and public awareness of ADHD by documenting parental experiences.

By examining the published science and parental experience through twenty-three years of CHADD member sharing, multiple coordinated interventions—known in the science as “multimodal” treatment—are the most effective interventions for those with more substantial forms of ADHD. “Multimodal treatment for children and adolescents with ADHD 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,” according to the consensus statement produced by CHADD’s Professional Advisory Board.

ADHD is a “spectrum disorder” with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, complicated by co-occurring mental disorders in seventy to eighty percent of children with ADHD (National Institute of Mental Health) and by co-occurring learning disability in fifty percent of children with ADHD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The Consumer Reports survey study did not differentiate between individuals by severity of ADHD and those further complicated by co-occurring mental disorders or learning disability.

CHADD agrees with the Consumer Reports finding of the essential parental task of “care coordinator” in effectively dealing with multiple treating professionals and supports. Given this finding, CHADD repeats the American Academy of Pediatrics advocacy and national health reform promotion of the “medical (or health care) home,” coordinated with the availability of electronic medical records to parents.

Given inconsistency in professional practice across the nation, CHADD encourages all health care professionals involved in ADHD to become trained in the assessment/diagnosis/treatment evidence-based guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Unfortunately, similar evidence-based guidelines for adults with ADHD have not been issued by medical societies.

Missing from the Consumer Reports survey study is the important role of parent support groups. Many parents of children with ADHD instinctively seek support, typically first from family and close friends. These natural supports frequently have limitations and many parents turn to ADHD parent support groups, such as those operated by CHADD. Parents gain knowledge of the disorder and develop a more realistic view of their child. They learn what is helpful and what is not. With the support of other parents, they have the opportunity to practice new skills in a nonjudgmental atmosphere. We understand that Consumer Reports will be issuing a supplemental piece on the role of parent support groups.

Media wishing to discuss the Consumer Reports survey study may contact CHADD CEO Clarke Ross (clarke_ross@chadd.org) who will arrange interviews with CHADD’s immediate past president, Marie Paxson. Marie is the parent of two young adult children. Growing up, one child had learning issues and the other had behavioral issues. Her son was diagnosed early, at age seven, and he fared better than her daughter, who didn’t receive a diagnosis until the age of fifteen (the age that young people want to be identical to their peers). Both are experiencing success as young adults, but it has been a longer and more complex journey than for those of the same age who don’t have ADHD.

Image Read the text of the Consumer Reports HealthSurvey press release below.

Image Read the survey findings at ConsumerReportsHealth.org (some content public, some available only to CRH subscribers).

Image Read the Consumer Reports supplement about parent support groups.

Image Read the Consumer Reports blog, ADHD: The stigma is gone.