In my medical practice, I often see parents who are going through the process of treating their child for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, or previously ADD).  Because ADHD is a biological illness, it typically responds well to treatment with medications.  But I also want to emphasize that there are also important behavioral techniques that parents can implement to help their child cope with ADHD in our modern world.   Parents often come for checkups with their child to see how the treatment of their ADHD is progressing. 

Studies have shown that outcomes of children with ADHD are related to an improvement in your child’s ability to function at school, home, play, or work. 

This is important for families to know, as parents are often concerned about ongoing challenges with ADHD symptoms such as forgetfulness, losing things, or fidgeting and tapping. 

The progress in treatment of ADHD is actually less related to reduction in specific symptoms of ADHD, and more related to your child’s improved ability to function.  

To help track if your child is improving on their ADHD challenges, it is helpful to monitor measurable outcomes.  These may include:

  • Improvement in academic performance: This can include improvement in school grades, number of completed assignments, less forgetfulness of homework and handing in more homework. 
  • Improvement in productivity: This includes an increase in the number of tasks your child is able to complete in a day, a reduction in the average time to complete tasks, and generally following through more often with instructions.
  • Improvement in their social life ability to play with other children: This can include your child getting in less conflicts with other children, having more friendships develop, or your child being invited to more play dates.
  • Reduction in disruptions at home and in class: This includesan increase in the time your child is able to sit still in class, less blurting out or interrupting less at school, or your child is getting less distracted when doing chores at home. 
  • Improvement in relationships with parents, teachers, siblings, and friends: This can include if your child is arguing less with you at home, or is having less falling outs with friends at school.   
  • Improvement in following rules: This can include less talking back, doing chores/responsibilities more often at home, handing in homework more often or listening to the teachers instructions more at school.

References

Subcommittee on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Steering Committee on Quality Improvement and Management, Wolraich M, et al. ADHD: clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. Pediatrics 2011; 128:1007.

Understanding ADHD. Information for parents about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL 2001.

American Academy of Pediatrics, National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. How to establish a school-home daily report card. http://www.nichq.org/toolkits_publications/complete_adhd/12HowToEstabSchlHomeDailyRepCa.pdf (Accessed on November 17, 2011).

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