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Slide 2 - What is ADHD?The Current Clinical View A disorder featuring age-inappropriate : Inattention Poor persistence of responding Impaired resistance to distraction, Deficient task re-engagement following disruption Hyperactivity-Impulsivity (Disinhibition) Impaired motor inhibition, Poor sustained inhibition Excessive and often task-irrelevant motor and verbal behavior Restlessness decreases with age, becoming more internal, subjective by adulthood Most cases are developmental and involve delays in the rate at which these two traits are maturing Some cases are acquired (20%+; mainly males) These may represent pathology and may differ in severity, recovery, & possibly treatment response
Slide 3 - Essential Features ADHD presents as impairment in: Persistence Resistance to distraction Working memory
Slide 4 - Persistence ADHD Individuals do not have problems with such perceptual aspects of attention as: arousal or alertness focus or selective attention span of apprehension or divided attention Rather have an inability to sustain action toward a goal for an adequate period of time which is a motor problem Persistence is on the motor side of attention, it is an output disorder. Output is the problem Most people think of attention as an input problem: how you perceive, select filter and process information
Slide 5 - Resistance to Distraction Related to persistence: opposite sides of the same coin. If you can persist it is because you can resist distraction; If you can resist distraction you can persist: One requires the other Not a perception problem, ADHD kids are not “overly perceptive” they do not perceive distractions any better the difference is that they respond to the distracting events Most of us are able to inhibit our responses to distracting events, ignore them even though we detect them. ADHD is not a problem of perception but inhibition
Slide 6 - Working Memory Once distracted ADHD individuals are far less likely to return to the original goal or task “task” re-engagement is a major problem for this population This is modulated by working memory: information held in mind that guides us toward a goal. People with ADHD are likely to have serious difficulties with working memory. Once distracted they are gone, off on another task
Slide 7 - Inattention Symptoms (DSM-IV) Failure to give close attention to details Difficulty sustaining attention Does not seem to listen Does not follow through on instructions Difficulty organizing tasks or activities Avoids tasks requiring sustained mental effort Loses things necessary for tasks Easily distracted Forgetful in daily activities Symptoms must occur “Often” or more frequently
Slide 8 - Hyperactive-Impulsive Symptoms Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat Leaves seat in classroom inappropriately Runs about or climbs excessively Has difficulty playing quietly Is “on the go” or “driven by a motor” Talks excessively Blurts out answers before questions are completed Has difficulty awaiting turn Interrupts or intrudes on others Symptoms must occur “Often” or more frequently
Slide 9 - DSM-IV Criteria for ADHD Manifests 6+ symptoms of either inattention or hyperactive-impulsive behavior Symptoms are developmentally inappropriate Have existed for at least 6 months Occur across settings (2 or more) Result in impairment in major life activities Developed by age 7 years Are not better explained by another disorder, e.g. Severe MR, PDD, Psychosis 3 Types: Inattentive, Hyperactive, or Combined
Slide 10 - ADHD Varies by Setting Better Here: Worse Here: Fun Boring Immediate Delayed Consequences Frequent Infrequent Feedback High Low Salience Early Late in the Day Supervised Unsupervised One-to-one Group Situations Novelty Familiarity Fathers Mothers Strangers Parents Clinic Exam Room Waiting Room
Slide 11 - Prevalence (United States) 7-8% of children (using DSM-IV) (~3-4 million) Varies by sex, age, social class, & urban-rural 3:1 Males to females in children (5:1 in clinical samples) Somewhat more common in middle to lower-middle classes More common in population dense areas No evidence for ethnic differences to date that are independent of social class and urban-rural
Slide 12 - Co-Occurring DSM-IV Disorders More than 80% have one additional disorder More than 60% have two additional disorders Oppositional Defiant Disorder (Average of 55%) Conduct Disorder (Average of 45%) Anxiety Disorders (20-35%) Major Depression (25-35%) Bipolar Disorder (0-27%; likely 6-10% max.) (97% of those Diagnosed w/ Bipolar also have ADHD)
Slide 13 - Medical Risks Sleep problems (39-56%); mainly delayed onset and greater night waking leading to shorter sleep time Developmental Coordination Disorder (50+%) Reduced Physical Fitness, Strength, & Stamina (using physical fitness tests) Accident Proneness 57%+ 1.5 to 4x risk of injuries (greater in ODD) 3x risk for accidental poisonings Due to Impulsivity, risk-taking, impaired coordination, oppositionality, and poor parental monitoring
Slide 14 - Causes of ADHD Disorder arises from multiple causes All currently recognized causes fall in the realm of biology (neurology, genetics) Causes may compound each other Common neurological pathway for ADHD appears to be the areas of the brain controlling Executive Functions and Physical Activity (Smaller / Less Developed) Social causes have poor evidence
Slide 15 - Acquired Cases: Prenatal Maternal smoking in pregnancy (odds 2.5) Maternal alcohol drinking in pregnancy (same) Prematurity of birth, especially if brain bleeds (45%+ have ADHD) Total increased pregnancy complications Maternal high phenylalanine levels in blood (?) High maternal anxiety in second trimester (?) Cocaine/crack exposure not a risk factor after controlling for the above factors
Slide 16 - Acquired Cases: Post-Natal (7-10%) Head trauma, brain hypoxia, tumors, or infection Lead poisoning in preschool years (0-3 yrs.) Survival from acute leukemia (ALL) Treatments for ALL cause brain damage Post-natal Streptococcal Bacterial Infection triggers auto-immune antibody attack of basal ganglia Post-natal elevated phenylalanine (dietary amino acid related to PKU) Prenatal – hyperactivity Post-natal – inattention
Slide 17 - Heredity – Family Studies Familial Expression of ADHD: - 25-35% of siblings - 78-92% of identical twins - 15-20% of mothers - 25-30% of fathers - If parent is ADHD, 20-54% of offspring (odds 8+)
Slide 18 - Heredity – Twin Studies Heritability (Genetic contribution) 57-97% of individual differences (Mean 80%+) (91-95%+ using DSM criteria) Shared Environment (common to all siblings) 0-6% (Not significant in any study to date) Unique Environment (events that happen only to one person in a family) 15-20% of individual differences (but includes unreliability of measure used to assess ADHD)
Slide 19 - Etiologies of ADHDFrom Joel Nigg (2006), What Causes ADHD? LBW FASD Lead Smoking Perinatal Other Heritable (Genetics)
Slide 20 - ADHD Evaluation: Core Considerations Are the symptoms of inattention, impulsiveness, and overactivity, present. MOST Importantly Is there clear evidence of an impulsive style? Is there evidence that these symptoms significantly interfere with the child’s functioning both at school and at home? Did these symptoms have a reasonably early onset? (If not, is there a good explanation?). Have these symptoms been an enduring and consistent feature of the child’s behavior throughout their development and in the majority of contexts? Is there evidence that the child wishes to perform well but cannot? Are there better explanations for the underachievement? Is there a pattern or specific triggers to the problem behaviors?
Slide 21 - 6 Step Diagnostic Process Review of Home Behavior Review of School Bx and Collateral Information Review of Developmental History Review of Family/Marital Situation School / Natural Environment Observation Interview of Child
Slide 22 - Psychodiagnostic Evaluation A psychodiagnostic Evaluation may be necessary if the assessment produces mixed/inconsistent results or has uncovered possible evidence of any of the following: Suicidality Significant Developmental Delays Intellectual limitations Learning disabilities Serious Psychiatric disturbance Significant family problems Other reasons to refer for testing: Child was moderately to severely premature Prenatal exposure to toxins especially ETOH & Nicotine Low birth weight Complicated pregnancy and/or birth Reports that child had trouble grasping concepts/acquiring new skills Reports that child has trouble with major academic subjects even when attentive.
Slide 23 - Ruling out Depression Later onset than ADHD Usually preceded by excessive anxiety Not uncommon to have both as a result of the negative outcomes due to ADHD behaviors. Must treat both When comorbid, associated with a 4x increase in suicidal ideation and 2x increase in attempts Appears to be connected to same genes associated with ADHD. Best differential: EARLY HISTORY
Slide 24 - Ruling Out Anxiety Onset later than ADHD Associated with a particular event or in accordance with a time pattern (anniversary). Restlessness is not a primary manifestation of Anxiety (usually a habit, style, or boredom) Usually characterized by panic or dread along with worry. Best measure for presence of anxiety is child’s report (parents and teachers under report).
Slide 25 - Ruling Out PTSD Must look closely at developmental and early school history. PTSD will stem from a specific event Children with ADHD are at greater risk for PTSD from abuse and risky behaviors.
Slide 26 - Ruling Out Bipolar Disorder Childhood BPD manifests as severe and chronic irritability (rather than episodic mania) Also characterized by Disjointed thinking, capricious mood, destructiveness, and dysphoria. BPD usually starts as ADHD in childhood ADHD itself does not develop into BPD One-way Comorbidity 3-6% of ADHD have BPD 80-97% of BPD have ADHD
Slide 27 - Ruling Out ODD In many cases ADHD is at the root of ODD There is a high degree of co-occurrence Early onset of ADHD symptoms is the differential
Slide 28 - TreatingATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDERIn Children & Adolescents
Slide 29 - Current Perspective ADHD creates a kind of Myopia for future events or “Time Blindness”. ADHD individuals live in the Moment ADHD is a Disorder of: Performance, not skill Doing what is known, not knowing what to do The when & where, not the how or what Using representations of the past at the appropriate place & time (Point of Performance) ADHD is better characterized as an Intention Deficit
Slide 30 - ADHD & Executive Functioning Executive Functioning is responsible for two types of sustained attention (SA): Contingency-shaped (Externally maintained) Video Games Goal-directed (Internally guided & motivated) Homework Goal-directed (SA) is impaired in ADHD individuals which creates problems with: Delayed responding & intrinsic motivation Doing the opposite of what is suggested in sensory fields Time, waiting, delays, and future orientation Problem solving, strategy development, & flexibility Increases in complexity with age & development
Slide 31 - Treatment Implications Teaching skills is ineffective (As is insight) Treatment must occur at the point of performance. Medications are likely to be essential for most but not all cases. Diminished capacity does not excuse accountability (The problem is time and timing not consequences). Behavioral treatment is essential but does generalize or endure after removal. Treatment success depends on the compassion and willingness of others to make accommodations. Maintaining a “Chronic Disability” perspective is most effective.
Slide 32 - Unproven / Disproved Therapies Elimination Diets: Sugar, Additives, etc. (Weak Evidence) Megavitamins, Anti-oxidants, Minerals: (No strong evidence or disproved) Sensory Integration Training (Disproved) Chiropractic Skull Manipulation (No Evidence) Play / Psychotherapy (Disproved) Neurofeedback (Experimental) Cognitive Self-Control Therapies (Effective in Clinic) Social Skills Training (Effective in Clinic Setting) Better for Inattentive (SCT) Type and anxious cases
Slide 33 - Empirically Proven Treatments Parent Education Psychopharmacology Parent Training in Child Management 65-75% of Children under 11 respond 25-30% of Adolescents show reliable changes Family Therapy for Adolescents: Problem-Solving and Communication Training 30% show change (best combined with BMT) Teacher Education Train Teachers in Classroom Bx Management Special Ed (IDEA, 504) Regular Physical Exercise Residential Treatment (5-8%) Parent Family Services (25+%) Parent/Patient Support Groups
Slide 34 - Managing ADHD Time is critical: reduce delays Externalize a many processes as possible: Time (Clocks, Timers, Calendars, PDAs etc.) Important information (Lists, reminders, instruction cards, etc.) Motivation (Token economy, tangible rewards) Problem Solving (use paper and pencil or dry erase board) Give immediate feedback Increase frequency of consequences Increase accountability to others Use salient & artificial rewards
Slide 35 - General Recommendations Change rewards periodically Minimize talking, maximize communicative touch Corollary: “Act don’t Yak” Maintain a sense of humor Emphasize rewards over punishments (reward first) Anticipate problem situations and make a plan Keep a sense of priorities (pick your battles) Hold to the perspective of ADHD as a Disability Be forgiving (of child, self, and others)
Slide 36 - Give Effective Commands Initially give heavy praise to high compliance commands Don’t use questions, use Imperatives Use eye contact and touch Have child recite request Break complex tasks into simpler ones Make chore cards for Multi-Step tasks List all steps involved on a 3x5 card Stipulate the time period on the card Reduce time delays for consequences Make use of Timers at the Point of Performance Avoid assignment of multiple tasks all at once Praise initiation of compliance Provide rewards throughout the task Have child evaluate their performance at the end
Slide 37 - Time-Out Target time-out to focus on one problem Act quickly after infractions Violations of household rules get instant time out Immediate commands: Give Command ( count backwards from 5) Give Warning with raised voice (repeat count of 5) Initiate time-out Release from time-out contingent on: Completion of minimum time period (1-2 minutes/year of age) Becoming quiet Consenting to command Reward next good behavior Best to use Bedroom for Time-out Remove all major play activities (Sanitize)
Slide 38 - Psychopharmacology
Slide 39 - Stimulant Medications These are the most well studied drugs in psychiatry In use for over 40 years Over 350 studies Thousands of cases
Slide 40 - Stimulants:Behavioral Effects Increased concentration and persistence Decreased Impulsivity & hyperactivity Increased work productivity Better emotional control Decreased aggression and defiance Improved compliance Better working memory & internalized language Improved handwriting and motor coordination Improved self-esteem Decreased punishment Improved peer acceptance and interactions Better awareness in sports Improved driving performance
Slide 41 - Stimulants: Side Effects Most tolerate well 5% discontinue due to negative effects Side effects are dose dependent Most common side effects: Insomnia (50% +) Loss of Appetite (50% +) Headaches (20-40%) Stomach Aches (20-40%) Irritability, tearfulness (<10%) Nervous Habits & Mannerisms (<10%) Tics (<3%) and Tourette’s (Rare) Mild Weight Loss (Average 1-4 pounds; transient) Small effect on height during 1st year (Approx 1cm) Increased heart rate (3-10 bpm) Increased blood pressure (1.5-14 mmHg) Psychosis (<3%)
Slide 42 - Stimulants:Common Myths Addictive when used as prescribed No, Must be inhaled or injected Over Prescribed 7.8% prevalence rate, only 4.3% on stimulants Creates Aggressive, Assaultive Behavior No, decreases aggression and antisocial actions Increases the likelihood of Seizures Only at very very high doses Causes Tourette’s Syndrome Can increase tics in 30%; decreases it in 35% Increases risk of later substance abuse No, 14 studies have found no such result, some found that it decreased risk if continued throughout teens
Slide 43 - Strattera Selective Norepinepherine reuptake inhibitor Not Schedule II; no abuse potential Effective for children, adolescents, and adults Equal efficacy with Methylphenidate with previously unmedicated cases (75% positive response) Slightly lower efficacy with those previously on stimulants (55% positive response) Sustained response for up to 3 years Increasing improvement over time Can be given once daily (morning) or split (am/pm)
Slide 44 - Benefits of Strattera Reduces ADHD, ODD, & aggression Reduces internalizing symptoms Increases school productivity Improved peer social behavior Improved self-esteem Improved parent-child relations Improved dry nights among bed-wetters Better “morning after” behavior Less insomnia and faster onset of sleep than Methylphenidate No emotional blunting
Slide 45 - Academic and Occupational Interventions for the Treatment of ADHD
Slide 46 - Classroom Management:Basic Considerations One of the major impairments of children with ADHD is functioning in the educational setting. More children with ADHD are receiving services in public schools now than at any other time in history. Despite the success of medication management and parent training, psychoeducational interventions are needed to ensure academic success and maintain positive behavior in children with ADHD.
Slide 47 - Classroom Management:Basic Considerations The first goal of school-based interventions is to improve basic knowledge among educators about the nature, causes, course and treatment of ADHD. The second goal is to increase home and school collaboration to ensure that the treatment plan is consistent, and effective across settings. Third, effective interventions should include strategies to improve academic and social functioning in children and adolescents and occupational functioning in adults.
Slide 48 - ADHD Basics:Training for Educators ADHD is biologically based and is treatable but not curable. Goal is to manage symptoms and reduce secondary harm (e.g., grade retention, peer rejection, disciplinary actions). ADHD is not due to a lack of skill or knowledge, but is a problem of sustaining attention, effort, and motivation and of inhibiting behavior. It is a disorder of performing what one knows, not of knowing what to do. Treatment is most effective when applied consistently at the place and time where a behavior is expected to be performed (e.g., at school).
Slide 49 - ADHD Basics:Training for Educators It is harder for students with ADHD to do the same academic work and exhibit the social behavior expected of other students. Thus, these students need more structure, frequent positive consequences, consistent negative consequences, and accommodations to assigned work. To maximize behavior change: proactive interventions involve manipulating antecedent events to prevent challenging behaviors from occurring; reactive interventions involve implementing consequences following a target behavior.
Slide 50 - Classroom Interventions :9 Key Principles Rules and instructions provided to children with ADHD must be clear, brief and often delivered through more visible and external modes of presentation than required for the management of their peers. Consequences used to manage the behavior of those with ADHD must be delivered more swiftly (ideally, immediately) than with their peers. Consequences must also be applied more frequently.
Slide 51 - Classroom Interventions :9 Key Principles Consequences must often be of a higher magnitude, or more powerful, than that needed to manage the behavior of typical children. An appropriate degree of incentives must be provided within a setting or task to reinforce appropriate behavior before punishment can be implemented. Reinforcers/rewards that are employed must be changed or rotated more frequently than typical to avoid habituation or satiation.
Slide 52 - Classroom Interventions :9 Key Principles Anticipation is key. Thus, teachers must plan ahead and ensure that children with ADHD are cognizant of an upcoming transition or change in rules or routine before it occurs. “Think aloud, think ahead.” Children with ADHD must be held more publicly accountable for their behavior and goal attainment than typical children. Behavioral interventions only work while they are being implemented and require modification over time for effectiveness.
Slide 53 - Classroom Management:Accommodations 10 core areas of intervention: Decrease workload to fit the child’s attentional capacity Alter teaching style and curriculum Make rules external Increase frequency of rewards and fines Increase immediacy of consequences Increase the magnitude/power of rewards Set time limits for work completion Develop a hierarchy of classroom punishments Coordinate home and school consequences Modifications for teens & adults
Slide 54 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Decreasing the workload Give smaller quotas of work Allow frequent, shorter work periods Target productivity and effort first; accuracy and completion of assignments later Post work instructions on the board; provide a schedule of assignments weekly and send home to parents. Reduce the amount of homework to 10 mins. per grade level (e.g., 1st grade= 10 mins.)
Slide 55 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Modifying the classroom and curriculum Be animated, flexible and responsive Reward incentive systems and clear consequences for misbehavior are crucial Use participatory teaching strategies: have child write on board, point, use counters Sit child close to the teacher’s area Allow for restlessness, short stretching and/or exercise breaks Intersperse low interest with high interest tasks
Slide 56 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Make rules external Post schedule and rules Use color-coded materials for instructions and organization Have child re-state the instruction to ensure understanding Use verbal prompts such as “stay in seat,” “keep on working,” etc.
Slide 57 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Use a reward incentive system Combine positive consequences (praise, rewards, token economies) and negative consequences (response cost, time out), with positive consequences tending to make the most impact Use strategic teacher attention: smiles, nods, pats on the back, active ignoring
Slide 58 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Consequences must be immediate Avoid lengthy reasoning over misbehavior. Simply state the misbehavior and the consequence (should be posted as a rule) Use a daily report card or sticker chart. Variations of time out: go to the “chill area” of classroom; complete a given number of worksheets (drills) depending on the severity of the misbehavior Use mild, private, specific reprimands although punishment should be used sparingly
Slide 59 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Rewards must be tangible and desirable Vary rewards to keep interest high A videogame (especially, educational type) or computer program can be used as an incentive Have parents donate preferred toys and games Try group rewards Use a home-school based reward program (e.g. good behavior points from school transfer to rewards at home)
Slide 60 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Set time limits for work completion Use timers or a bell to signify the end of a work period; use a signal about five minutes before the end as well Generally, “extra time” is not beneficial. Focus on developing a distraction-free work setting and provide breaks after short work periods.
Slide 61 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Use a punishment hierarchy Head down on desk; quiet time Response cost (loss of tokens) Time out in a corner/”chill” location Time out at school office where child’s behavior can be monitored Suspension to the office (in school, not at home)--punishment is immediate and brief and does not include rewarding activities
Slide 62 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Coordinate home and school consequences Daily school behavior report card/rating form and point system Daily home-school journal to communicate with parents and/or provide a reminder to child when completing homework Gradually, move to weekly monitoring
Slide 63 - Classroom Management:Accommodations Specifically, for teens with ADHD: Use a daily assignment notebook/planner with teacher verification and cross-checking Create a private, in-class cueing system for off-task behavior and disruption Use a daily or weekly school report card; coordinate w/ home rewards (e.g. $ for grades) Assign a daily case manager or organizational coach to help monitor, organize and motivate Permit music during homework Require note-taking to pay attention Keep an extra set of books/materials at home
Slide 64 - Classroom Management:Accommodations More tips for teens: Learn SQ4R for reading comprehension: Survey material, draft Questions, Read, Recite, Write, Review -- Study with buddy after school -- Swap phone numbers and email addresses with classmates to call in the event of lost or missing assignment sheets and instructions -- Attend after school help/tutoring sessions -- Schedule parent-teacher review meetings every 6 weeks
Slide 65 - Occupational:Accommodations College-bound teens and young adults may require assistance with: Employment Independent Living Managing money Organization Time management Accommodations/resources for college and occupational success
Slide 66 - Occupational:Accommodations CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) offers several resources to assist adults in handling these and other important issues. Please visit for more information.
Slide 67 - Summary Education of teachers and other professionals working with children and adults with ADHD is crucial to helping these individuals receive the accommodations needed to ensure success academically and occupationally. Interventions are effective as long as they are being implemented and must be maintained over extended time periods. Collaboration between school and home appears to ensure greater success in the classroom. There are many resources available offering a wealth of advice to professionals who help those with ADHD.
Slide 68 - Resources offers scientifically reliable information in English and Spanish about ADD in children, adolescents, and adults. Sponsored by Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD), the largest ADHD support and advocacy organization in the United States, it has downloadable fact sheets of science-based information for parents, educators, professionals, the media, and the general public. The site also includes contact information for two hundred local chapters of CHADD throughout the United States. presents evidence-based information in English and Spanish about ADD in children, adolescents, and adults. This national clearing house of downloadable information and resources concerning many aspects of ADHD is funded by the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and operated by CHADD. New material is added frequently, and questions directed to the site are responded to by knowledgeable health-information specialists. is a resource in English for adults with ADD. Sponsored by Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), the world's largest organization for adults with ADHD, it provides information, resources, and networking opportunities.