As with assessment, treatment is often provided by a team of professionals, usually a psychologist and a paediatrician, working together. They often work with parents and the child as well as provide support and advice to the child’s educators. It is important for the psychologist, the parents and the educators to work together to provide the best care and support for the child’s learning and for parents to feel part of the team.
Treatment varies according to the needs of the child and their family. Children with mild ADHD without other developmental or behavioural issues generally do well with family support around behavioural management strategies. Children with more difficult to manage symptoms or a variety of different concerns often benefit from a combination of medication and psychological strategies, particularly behavioural management.13
Effective treatments and interventions include:
A number of ADHD medications have been found to be effective in the short-term, although there appears to be no ‘permanent’ positive effect.13, 15 In Australia, the medications available for the treatment of ADHD are
- Short-acting stimulants (e.g. Ritalin 10, Attenta, dexamphetamine).
- Long-acting stimulants (e.g. Ritalin LA and Concerta) and atomoxetine (Strattera).16
Where medications are used, they are best used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes age appropriate psychological, social and educational support.17
Behavioural Parent Training
Behavioural parent training involves the parent(s) learning about ADHD, the use of a range of positive parenting and effective disciplinary strategies, and the use of problem-solving to address day-to-day issues.18
Social skills training
Social skills training involves training a parent or educator to teach, model and encourage positive social behaviours, and to help the child use these behaviours to improve social skills and relationships with peers.19
School-based interventions involve supportive strategies such as changing the layout of the classroom to make it less distracting for the child, modifying work, or putting in place clear behavioural goals and applying fair, logical and immediate consequences for appropriate and inappropriate behaviours.19
Addressing other learning difficulties
Children with ADHD often have other learning difficulties making life at school all the more difficult for them. It is important for the child’s learning abilities to be fully assessed and any difficulties addressed and supported both at home and in the educational setting.