Helping Parents And Children Deal With ADD & ADHD

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Knoxville (WVLT) Most schools in East Tennessee begin in about three weeks.

It's a time of transition, but soon after, children will fall into a normal routine.

It's then, you may notice changes in your child's behavior.

And, there are tools in place to help you diagnose problems like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, if you know what to look for.

A new study published in the August Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry finds most children treated for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder improve greatly within a few years.

Many children will be diagnosed over the next few months, when problems become apparent in the classroom.

Dr. Rebecca Sharpe, the Knox County Educational Program Supervisor says, "often times, that's when we identify things, when children are back in school in more of a regulated setting."

Clinical Psychologist Gina Hummel says there are telltale signs to look for.

"In the classroom, kids with ADD, ADHD tend to have difficulty sitting still, paying attention to what's being presented as far as school work, they tend to have very short attention spans."

Diagnosing ADHD begins with you.

In Knox County, your child can be screened, but only at your request.

Dr. Sharpe says, "our school psychologists do have a screening tool, which is simply a checklist, with a number of questions. They give one to the parent, and one to the child's teacher."

It's a series of questions, you, the parent, answers about your child, which you return and a school psychologist scores.

It's meant to help a child psychologist make a proper diagnosis and treatment could include medication, therapy or both.

Hummel says, "for a child that truly has attention deficit disorder, Ritalin and other stimulant medications are very effective in treating the ADD or ADHD."

This new study finds after 14 months, children given medication alone or medication plus behavior therapy did much better than those who received therapy alone.

Studies have shown children with ADHD are more likely than the average child to break laws and take drugs.

Children diagnosed with conduct disorder, which includes aggression, were most likely to use drugs and alcohol.

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