About 9% of school-aged kids have ADD Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. People with ADD/ADHD have persistent symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and sometimes hyperactivity, above the normal range for their age. These symptoms interfere with their ability to lead normal lives at both home and school.
Making the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is a thorough process that takes time. Not all children with increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, or inattention have ADD/ADHD. Deficient sleep, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, and other psychological or medical problems can cause ADD/ADHD-like symptoms, and 64% of people with confirmed ADD/ADHD have at least one other mental, emotional, developmental, or behavioral disorder. That is why we agree with the AAP and CDC recommendation to get a thorough psychoeducational evaluation in addition to a medical evaluation in our office if other conditions including emotional or behavioral disorders (like anxiety, depression, and oppositional or defiant behavior problems) or developmental disorders (like learning and language disorders or autism spectrum disorder) are suspected.
To Start the ADD/ADHD Evaluation Process:
- Make an appointment with the Cornerstone doctor who knows your child best for an ADD/ADHD evaluation. This will be a long appointment, at least 30 minutes. If you have psychoeducational evaluation reports, Parent/Teacher assessments, or a diagnostic evaluation from another physician, please fax them to 919-481-3952, or email them to email@example.com at least 5 days in advance of your child’s appointment so the doctor has time to review it. In order to make the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, an additional visit is often necessary to gather all the needed information.
- If your child is struggling academically or you suspect your child has a learning disability, you can request a psychoeducational evaluation from your child’s school system by writing to your child’s principal or school counselor. Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) will provide psychoeducational testing at no cost for children who qualify. If you have concerns and are unable to get appropriate or timely testing through the school system, then it is possible to obtain full psychoeducational testing from a qualified child psychologist. We understand that psychoeducational evaluations take time and private evaluations can be costly. You do not need to have this testing done prior to evaluation in our office.
- Have one or both parents/guardians and 2 teachers complete the Vanderbilt Assessment Forms linked below, and send them to our office at least 5 days prior to your appointment.
Once the Diagnosis is Made:
If your child is 4-6 years old at the time of diagnosis, parent training in behavior therapy and classroom behavioral accommodations are recommended and vitally important to your child’s academic success and emotional well-being. Parent training in behavior management is important because children 4 to 12 years old need their parent’s help to change their behavior. Medications are not usually recommended at this age.
If your child is 6 years or older, a combination of the above therapies with the addition of an FDA-approved medication for ADD/ADHD is usually recommended.
If medication is prescribed, patients with ADD/ADHD need to follow up at our office within 3 weeks of starting medication and a minimum of 2 additional times within the first 10 months. Most ADD/ADHD medications need to be started at low doses and adjusted as needed. It can take weeks to months to make sure that your child is on the right medication and the right dose. We will work with you, your child, and his/her teachers to make sure the effects of medication and behavioral intervention strategies are working. We will need to monitor for any medication side effects as well as any effects on weight, height, blood pressure, and heart rate. Once your child is doing well on his/her medication, we will need to follow up in the office every 3 to 6 months to make sure your child is continuing to do well as he/she grows and develops. Please see our Medication Management Guidelines Brochure.
Prior to your child’s initial assessment, please complete the Vanderbilt Assessment Form-Parent Informant and ask the teacher or teachers that know your child best to complete the Vanderbilt Assessment Form-Teacher Informant (D4), and fax them to 919-481-3952, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org least 5 days prior to your child’s appointment so the doctor can review them.
For follow-up visits please complete the Vanderbilt Follow-Up Form-Parent Informant (D-5) and ask the teacher or teachers that know your child best to complete the Vanderbilt Follow-Up Form-Teacher Informant (D-6) and fax them to 919-481-3952, or email them to email@example.com least 2 days prior to your child’s appointment so the doctor can review them.
Management of Controlled Substance Medication Therapy for ADD/ADHD Policy
For mental health concerns and/or behavior therapy, you can schedule an appointment with one of the psychologists on our list of providers.
CHADD: Information for Parents of Children with ADD/ADHD
ADHD Medications and Side Effects
Message to Parents of Teen Drivers Teens are at the highest risk of accidents and traffic violations in the first few months they drive. Teens with ADHD are at much higher risk than the general population.
Parent-Teen Driving Agreement Because driving is one of the riskiest things we do, establishing ground rules before a teen gets behind the wheel is vitally important. Please use this as a guide to help