ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are very common neurological disorders that affect a child’s ability to regulate attention and to perform in a classroom setting. Diagnosis of this problem usually involves a multidisciplinary approach with both educational and psychological testing. It cannot be diagnosed on a routine physical exam or with a blood test. It affects boys more frequently than girls. ADD/ADHD may be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic, biologic and environmental influences.
An initial discussion of attention issues with your pediatrician may lead your physician to recommend starting with the Vanderbilt screen for ADHD. This screening test can help direct the evaluation of a child with attention issues and consists of questionnaires to be completed by a patient’s parents and teachers. Please note that there are two types of forms: Parent and Teacher. Each parent should complete his or her own form. Teacher forms may be given to classroom teachers, tutors, after school or weekend teachers or even coaches. All the forms should be returned to the East Bay Pediatrics either via mail or the patient portal (call if you do not have a portal login). Or if you have an upcoming appointment, you can bring completed forms to the appointment. The physician will score the forms and discuss next steps regarding diagnosis and treatment.
Next steps will often include the recommendation to get a more thorough evaluation with a neuropsychologist, a developmental/behavioral pediatrician or sometimes a psychiatrist. Your physician will likely recommend that you work with your child’s school to develop an appropriate learning plan as well.
There are two primary modalities for treatment of ADHD for children: Behavioral treatment and/or Medication. Behavioral treatment may involve a variety of interventions including the school, tutors, educational consultants and/or psychotherapy. Medications typically prescribed for ADHD are in the class of stimulants and must be monitored closely.
Your pediatrician may be prescribing and regulating medications for ADHD. The standard of care and our office practice require that we examine your child, discuss the medication, and gauge its benefits and risks at least every six months. These examinations are critical in order to monitor for any side effects and to continue prescribing the medication. Both the annual physical exam and the semi-annual Medication Review appointments are required to qualify for prescriptions refills at East Bay Pediatrics. Careful planning allows us to see college students in the summer and during winter break.
Tips on getting your prescriptions on time: