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Advocate Tip:  ADHD


Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a diagnosis commonly seen in children in CPS care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children with ADHD may be overly active, have trouble paying attention, or struggle to control impulsive behaviors. 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. 

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 years), 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. 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. Behavior Interventions should be the first line of treatment for young children with ADHD.
  2. How many types of ADHD are there and how are they different?
  3. List three ways Advocates can help children with ADHD.

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