ADHD Diagnosis and Therapy on Long Island, NY
Science has come a long way in the last decade. Mainstream medical, psychological, and educational organizations have each concluded that ADHD is a real, brain-based, medical disorder. Getting a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment can significantly improve the lives of those who struggle. This guide is meant to help clarify what is involved in getting a proper diagnosis and what the various treatment options are that have been recognized as effective.
What is involved in a proper diagnosis?
A proper diagnosis is dependent on a lengthy and thorough process that rules out any other possibilities and explores possible co-existing conditions. There is no single test that determines if one has ADHD. A comprehensive evaluation will generally include the following:
1. Rating Scales
2. School-related assessments
4. Medical Examination
5. Medical and developmental history
6. Family and individual psychiatric history
Who can diagnosis ADHD?
There are several types of professionals who can diagnose ADHD.
2. Developmental Pediatrician
5. Nurse Practitioner
6. Clinical Psychologist
7. Clinical Social Worker
Not every professional in these categories has had the necessary training to properly diagnose ADHD. It is very important that the individual you choose is current on their knowledge and does a thorough evaluation so as to rule out or identify any other possible conditions.
What is ADHD Therapy?
ADHD therapy is a term referring to the treatment that can help people with ADHD improve their ability to regulate their attention, reduce their impulsive behavior, and manage their hyperactivity. When people are diagnosed with ADHD, parents, and adults with ADHD are faced with several options for treatment. Treatment should be developed on an individual basis. Understanding the different options available to you can help make the treatment of ADHD less overwhelming.
Here is a brief overview of the various components of an effective ADHD treatment plan. At any time, you might find you want to have some of all of these different parts working together. Remember always, that you as the parent or you as the adult with ADHD must ultimately manage your team, but help and support in doing so are always available. Please reach out to me if you are in immediate need of finding local resources in your area.
Treatment Options for ADHD
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for ADHD
This is a type of talk therapy for adults and children with ADHD where the therapist and patient discuss the underlying reasons certain thought patterns persist and develop strategies dealing with how to change the way patients view themselves and the way they react to these thoughts. It is very important that the therapist have full and current science-based knowledge of ADHD and its impact on behavior.
CBT can be effective support for a person with ADHD in dealing with the emotional issues that may develop as a result of having ADHD. Through the process of ADHD therapy, patients can discover how their thoughts impact their actions and how their views of themselves and the world are influenced by their thoughts.
A trained ADHD Coach provides support for their clients in developing a broad understanding of ADHD and it’s impact on all areas of life: school/work, home, and social. In addition, ADHD coaches work with clients to develop individualized structures, support, skills and strategies to help them stay focused on their goals and face their challenges. The client is seen as naturally creative, resourceful and whole with the Coach there to help raise awareness through powerful questioning and listening.
ADHD Parent Coaching
An ADHD Parent Coach is a trained professional who combines the knowledge of Coaching, Parenting, and ADHD to provide parents with ADHD appropriate tips, tools, strategies and on-going support to manage the complexities of raising a child with ADHD. Once parents are educated about the impact ADHD, Executive Function skills, stress, anxiety, and pressure have on learning and behavior, the ADHD Parent Coach can help a parent become a more effective parent to their individual child.
The ADHD Parent Coach will help the parent learn to effectively manage conflict, set boundaries and motivate positive behavior. By providing on-going encouragement, recommendations, feedback and support the coach can help the parent develop the tools, strategies, and confidence necessary to stay accountable to the changes they wish to make while supporting their child on a consistent basis.
Teacher Training/School Collaboration
Proper support in school is vital for any student who has ADHD. The teachers and staff must be knowledgeable about how ADHD impacts learning and behavior so that they can appropriately set expectations and interactions to support the challenges the student faces. There are important ways that the classroom environment can be modified to accommodate all learners with added value for the students with ADHD.
In addition, teachers who are knowledgeable about ADHD and Executive Function skills will be able to modify their interactions to help the student be more confident and effective in their learning and performing. This will generally reduce the student’s off-task behaviors and help reduce the teacher’s time spent on classroom behavior management.
Medication Used For ADHD Therapy
The decision to use medication is highly personal. Parents, older children, and adults must ensure that understand what meds can, and cannot do, in treating the symptoms of ADHD. Medication cannot teach skills, however, it can make it significantly easier to focus, reduce impulsivity, hyperactivity, irritability, and manage other challenging behaviors. Especially when dealing with children, it is very important to make sure you have a proper diagnosis that includes knowing what, if any, co-morbid conditions exist.
It is very important to be under the care of a doctor who is current and knowledgeable the latest studies and best practices for dispensing ADHD medication. A well trained and experienced doctor will know how to balance treating his patients when more than one diagnosis is present. It can take several months of trial and error to find the best formula and dosing.
FAQs about ADHD treatment for Adults and Children
How long does ADHD therapy take to be effective?
The length of treatment can vary depending on a person’s age and level of challenge, as well as the treatment option they are using. Generally, a minimum of 4 months ensures that there has been adequate time to explore the range of challenges, develop appropriate strategies, and allow for support as changes are made.
What alternative ADHD treatment options are there for me to consider to treat symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder? [e.g. diet treatment, foods etc.]
At this time there have been no specific diets or foods that have been scientifically proven to impact ADHD or it’s treatment. Having said that, many individuals with ADHD have a more difficult time regulating their emotions and performance. Proper nutrition on a consistent basis will make it easier to manage the challenges they may face.
Can exercise be used as part of ADHD treatment?
Exercise is a very important part of treatment for all people, and especially for those with ADHD. Studies have shown that regular exercise can enhance cognitive performance and brain function.
More Information on ADHD Therapy
Helpful ADHD Resources
For additional information, please check out these resources:
Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADD.org)
ADHD Coaches Organization (www.adhdcoaches.org)
National Resource Center for ADHD (www.help4adhd.org)
Information about Rating Scales
Weiss ADHD Clinic