Getting Help with Treatment
Coping with ADHD can be stressful for parents, children and siblings. Fortunately, families coping with ADHD don’t have to contend with the challenges alone. There are many organizations, online communities, therapists and medical practitioners available to provide help and support.
A few places to look for help:
CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder): This national organization was founded in 1987 to address the sense of frustration and isolation parents and children coping with ADHD so often feel. With more than 16,000 members in 200 local chapters nationwide, the organization offers support to families and individuals coping with ADHD as well as teachers and professionals.
ADDA (Attention Deficit Disorder Association): This 20-year-old international organization is dedicated to providing information, resources and support for adults coping with ADHD. Its advocacy efforts and other work may also be of value to the families of children with ADHD.
National Resource Center on ADHD: A Program of CHADD: Established in 2002, this program aims to be nation’s clearinghouse for the latest science-based information about ADHD. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NRC provides information and support to individuals with ADHD as well as to family members, friends, teachers and medical professionals.
Online communities can provide answers to many of your questions and put you in touch with other parents of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD:
NRC: Ask a question about ADHD (You may also call 1-800-233-4050)
Many other online support groups are listed here
Therapists who specialize in or have a good understanding of ADHD can be a tremendous help to individuals and families dealing with ADHD. One way to find a good, qualified, licensed therapist is to ask your family doctor or pediatrician for a referral. Another is to get in touch with a child psychologist at a respected medical center in your area who may be able to help you or to direct you to someone who can. You can also find a referral through one of the national organizations listed above or use one of the many online resources available to help you find a qualified therapist near you, such as the Psychology Today therapist finder, which allows you to search by specialty (ADHD) and zip code.
How do you know if the person you’ve found is the right fit?
- Make sure they have experience: You want a therapist who has experience treating children with ADHD. Ask about the therapist’s training and make sure he or she is a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker.
- Ask about approach/expectations: There are lots of different ways of therapeutically approaching ADHD. Find out how the therapist plans to address your child’s issues, what the goals are, and how long he or she thinks it will take to meet those goals.
- Trust your instincts: Does the therapist feel like a good fit for your child or your family? If not, keep looking until you find someone you feel comfortable with.
Doctors who understand ADHD
For a family in which a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, having (or finding) a family practitioner or pediatrician who understands the particular challenges and symptoms associated with ADHD and how to treat them is essential.
How can you find a doctor who really understands ADHD?
- Ask other parents: If you know another child who has been diagnosed with ADHD, ask the family about their doctor and the specific treatments and successes. They may be able to give you a referral and advice.
- Ask your own doctor: If your family doctor or pediatrician is not experienced dealing with ADHD, he or she may be able to refer you to someone who is.
- Contact the organizations above (such as CHADD) to get a list of physicians in your area who have the experience and training to deal with ADHD.
- Contact a respected medical institution in your area and ask them for a suitable referral or a list of doctors who have experience treating kids with ADHD.
- Ask your child’s teacher at school if other kids with ADHD she’s had in her classes have shown signs of improvement and see if she can get you the name of the doctor who treated that child.