ADHD or ADD has developed into one of the most well-known childhood problems of the last twenty years.  As its visibility has increased, ADHD has gained many notable advocates, such as Andres Torres, Major League Baseball player for the 2010 World Series champion Giants team.  Torres speaks publicly about the challenges he’s faced with ADHD.  

ADHD–Neurologically-Based

Some people brush off the diagnosis saying ADHD is another name for any behavior exhibited by energetic young boys.  (It’s true that more boys than girls are diagnosed with early childhood disorders; diagnoses for boys and girls level out by age 12.  It’s also true that conventions dictate that boys sit in desks at school for hours at an age when they appropriately want to be active and move.)  But inattention or hyperactivity problems are neurologically-based and children do not outgrow them.  These are issues that children will have to manage throughout adulthood. 

Diagnosing ADHD

There are two formal diagnoses for ADHD:  ADHD, inattentive type (formerly called ADD) and ADHD.  Between the two diagnoses, the main difference is the presence of hyperactivity.  Kids with ADHD, inattentive type are often seen as smart, but not motivated, when in fact, they have a neurological disorder that causes their minds to wander.  Kids with ADHD are often blamed for bad behavior problems, though in reality, their behavior is rooted in difficulties controlling their impulses, among other problems.

Complicating Factors

Often other problems accompany ADHD symptoms, like anxiety and learning disabilities, which further complicate problems and solutions. Depending on the degree and complexity of the diagnosis, you may be referred to specialists such as an educational specialist or occupational therapist to help your child learn skills and develop productive habits for school and daily routines.  These specialists often work in conjunction with a psychologist and/or a psychiatrist.

Leadership & Approach

Children’s Health Council (CHC) is proud to have on its staff one of the foremost leaders in ADHD diagnosis and treatment, Glen R. Elliott, PhD, MD.  Dr. Elliott is the former director of UCSF Children’s Center, author of Medicating Young Minds:  How to Know If Psychiatric Drugs Will Help or Hurt Your Child and director of the ADHD team at CHC.

CHC’s approach to working with kids with ADHD and inattention is to develop skills that address immediate problems and teach skills that will be ingrained as lifelong strategies.  We recommend early intervention to protect your child’s self-esteem and enthusiasm for learning.  Unfortunately, many kids with ADHD and inattention problems decide that they aren’t smart or aren’t interested in school before discovering the root of their problem and getting help. 

When we recommend medication it is usually in conjunction with therapy and educational services.  Research shows that in approximately two thirds of kids, medication can do a good job of treating symptoms without causing side effects.  Research also shows that medication isn’t sufficiently effective in nearly two thirds of kids.  Medicating a child is a serious decision and many parents are uncomfortable with it.  We respect every family’s right to make their own choice.  

Specialists Who Work With ADHD & Inattention

Assistive Technology Specialists
Behavioral Specialists
Educational Specialists
Marriage and Family Therapists
Neuropsychologists
Occupational Therapists
Psychologists
Psychiatrists
Speech-Language Pathologists

To discuss your concerns further, call 650.688.3625 or email help@chconline.org.