After a thorough assessment to confirm or exclude ADHD and the effects of any co-existing conditions, a management plan can be made. The most effective approach is a multi-disciplinary one, using the most appropriate strategies for the individual child. In the past, the various remedial strategies have often been undertaken separately. However, a much more satisfactory approach is that of interlocking strategies.
Of necessity, to be successful, this will require the co-operation and goodwill of teachers, parents, the wider family and all the involved professionals. Relevant professionals need to work together in effective treatment, as no one professional group “owns” the management of these children.
Some professionals and non-professionals alike may see the diagnosis of ADHD as a soft option. However, ADHD should not be used as an excuse-rather as an explanation. Everybody is responsible for his or her own behaviour, but in ADHD treatment of medication will simply help the person to function to their potential, and achieve effective results more readily.
There are a number of options available. It is helpful to work through these, discuss which have already been tried and which might need implementing now. Whilst Educational Management are always important in the management of ADHD, if they do not improve the situation and a child has ongoing significant problems with ADHD, then this should be acknowledged, and other possible options considered, such as the use of Medical Management. This applies in the same way to the use of behavioural, psychological and psychiatric strategies. The core symptoms of inattentiveness, impulsiveness and hyperactivity are not usually primarily helped by such strategies along, although they may have a modifying effect. Counselling is important, but this and other strategies should be reserved for the secondary problems associated with ADHD.
It is helpful for parents to become as informed as possible about ADHD from a reputable source, so that they can be involved in the decision-making process. However, the final decision about treatment should be taken together with the key medical professional involved in the treatment of their child. Such professionals managing children with ADHD must be fully conversant with ADDH concepts, must understand the complexity of ADHD and be able to handle not only the straight-forward cases with a few complications, but also the more complicated cases, where multiple strategies and sometimes multiple medications are necessary.
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