Treatment for ADHD in Children and Adolescents

Currently there are two treatments that have a solid base of scientific evidence for effectiveness: behavioral treatments—also called behavior therapy or ABA intervention—and stimulant medication. In other words behavior treatment is the only nonmedical treatment for ADHD with large scientific evidence. As such Comprehensive Treatment for ADHD should always include behavioral therapy.

Why behavioral treatment for ADHD is so important?

  • Behavioral Therapy focuses on the child’s problems in daily life functioning such academic performance and behavior at school, relationships with peers and adults, noncompliance with instructions from teachers and parents.
  • Medication, without behavioral therapy, has not been shown to improve long-term outcomes for children with ADHD.  Many practitioners believe that treatment should begin with behavioral treatments, and medication should be added only if and when it is necessary
  • Other treatments such as occupational therapy, sensory integration, special education achieve no or very limited results and can at times being counterproductive.

How does behavior therapy for ADHD looks like?

Effective behavioral interventions for ADHD typically include one or more of these components: child-focused treatment, parenting training, and school intervention.

  • Child treatment is typically implemented by therapists under supervision of professionals. Treatment should focus on developing academic, recreational, and social competencies, decreasing aggression and building positive relations with peers and adults. Intensive treatment is often recommended.

 

  • Parent Training is often critical to help parents to manage their child’s behavior and at home and to establish positive educational relationships in the family. Parents are taught parenting skills that can be implemented at home.

 

  • School Intervention. The child’s teacher or school’s shadow are taught classroom management skills by a consultant and implement them with the ADHD child during school hours. Length of training depends on the teacher’s prior knowledge and skills as well as the child’s condition.