Center for Children and Families (CCF) Resources
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined as a pattern of behaviors in which a child shows, usually before the age of 7, developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity, or hyperactivity. It is the most common mental health problem of childhood, affecting 3% to 5% of the population, and is considerably more common in boys than in girls. The behavior of children with ADHD often results in serious disturbances in their relationships with parents, teachers, peers, and siblings, as well as academic problems. For more information about ADHD, see "What Parents and Teachers Should Know About ADHD".
A large number of standardized rating scales and assessment tools are available for ADHD. A number of rating scales and interviews
used by the CCF are available for free download.
Treatment for ADHD
Comprehensive Treatment for ADHD should always include a strong psychosocial (that is, not medical) component. Most professionals believe that effective psychosocial treatment is the backbone of good treatment for ADHD. Medication is a very useful addition to psychosocial treatment in many cases, yielding a combination approach that may be even more effective than psychosocial treatments alone (See “ADHD Medication Information Sheet for Parents and Teachers”)
. Indeed, the scientific literature on treatment for ADHD, the National Institute of Mental Health, and many professional organizations say that there are two treatments that have a solid base of scientific evidence for short-term effectiveness: behavioral psychosocial treatments—also called behavior therapy or behavior modification—and stimulant medication. Behavior modification is the only nonmedical treatment for ADHD with a large scientific evidence base.
For more information, see our information sheets on psychosocial treatment
One of the most widely-used behavioral treatments is a daily note or daily report card. In a daily report card program, parents or teachers target specific behaviors for the child to work on improving, and provide rewards for meeting daily goals. The CCF has developed guidelines for creating daily report card programs for school
When considering medication treatment for ADHD, it is important to conduct a controlled assessment of medication effects, including possible side effects. For professionals interested in more information about conducting medication assessments for children with ADHD, the CCF has developed guidelines and accompanying behavior ratings
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