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Advocacy Tip: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a diagnosis commonly seen in children in CPS care. Children with ADHD may have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors, or be overly active. There are three types of ADHD: predominantly inattentive presentation, predominantly hyperactive-impulsive presentation, and combined presentation. Children who fall into the category of predominantly inattentive may have difficulty finishing a task, following instructions, or be easily distracted. Children in the category of hyperactive-impulsive may have difficulty sitting still for long, waiting their turn, or may interrupt others a lot. In children with a combined presentation of ADHD, symptoms of both inattentive presentation and hyperactive-impulsive presentation are equally present. Additionally, children diagnosed with ADHD will have the severity of their ADHD rated as mild, moderate, or severe. Children who are diagnosed with Mild ADHD may have few symptoms, whereas Severe ADHD has symptoms that result in significant social or occupational functioning. Children diagnosed with Moderate ADHD have symptoms that fall somewhere between these two categories.

Diagnosing ADHD and Treatment Options

Children believed to have ADHD should receive a medical exam, including hearing and vision testing to rule out other causes of ADHD symptoms. A detailed history of the child’s behaviors should be obtained from the caregiver. A checklist rating ADHD behaviors should also be completed by the child’s teachers and sometimes the child themselves. For most children a combination of medication and behavioral therapy can be used to manage ADHD. For young children (ages 4-5) with ADHD, behavior interventions should be the first line of treatment for ADHD as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parenting programs are also available to help parents learn how to manage behavioral issues and utilize positive reinforcement. Medications can also be an effective part of treating ADHD in children. Some of the medications commonly used to treat ADHD include Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, and Intuniv. 

Advocating For Children with ADHD

When advocating for children with ADHD it is important to understand the child’s behaviors and the current methods of treatment. Advocates should obtain information regarding the child’s prescribed medications and dosage. Advocates may also recommend that a child receive behavioral therapy to address ADHD symptoms if they are not already receiving therapy. Advocates can contact the child’s teacher or school to determine if special education resources can be provided for the child. Advocates can also ensure that children receive follow-up appointments as recommended and report any concerns to the child’s caseworker and attorney. 

  1. True or False. Children with ADHD should always be prescribed medication to control their behaviors.
  2. What testing and/or evaluations should be completed for children suspected of having ADHD? 
  3. In what ways can advocates help children with ADHD?

To receive 1 hour worth of training credit, read the above article and submit answers to the accompanying training questions to Leticia Hernandez at

Advocacy Tip: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder