The health care setting plays an integral role in the diagnosis and care of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The diversity of services available and the pathways that child and family inevitably find themselves taking can be long and arduous, therefore finding a service that will meet the needs of both is crucial.
As defined by Ministry of Health (2001), “Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in childhood are persistent overactivity, impulsiveness and inattention, although not all may be present” (p. v). Children may appear as though they are unfocussed, defiant, excessive risk takers or have difficulty performing simple tasks in ...view middle of the document...
Diagnostic criteria for ADHD are lengthy and all factors must be considered and assessed. Young (2007) mentions, “The impact of ADHD can be significantly detrimental on daily functioning. Progress at school and the development of social skills are very often affected” (p. 454). Therefore, as clinicians conduct formal interviews and evaluate information received from those closest to the child such as family members, educators are also crucial in identifying concerns surrounding the child’s level of functioning and behaviour. Kutscher (2005) claims, an invaluable tool often used in this process is a behaviour rating scale such as the Connor’s checklist, with which the teacher is able to determine possible deficits of functioning in the class environment.
To receive a diagnosis of ADHD the child must meet the criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) (Ministry of Health, 2001, p. 3). In addition to meeting these criteria, evidence must prove symptoms are detrimental to the child’s daily functioning, have been evident for a period of six months or more, have appeared before the age of seven, and are present in more than one aspect of the child’s life, for example; home and school. (Ministry of Health, 2001).
M. Klaver, Child, Adolescent & Family Service Psychiatrist, has said there is no known cure for ADHD but effective treatment in conjunction with a specialist service may help lessen the symptoms (personal communication, May, 2013). The packages of care available within the service vary according to needs. Family therapy and observation may be recommended for children with symptoms less severe, with the addition of stimulant medication prescribed for severe needs.
Methylphenidate is a Special Authority, central nervous system stimulant prescribed for treatment of ADHD (“Methylphenidate,” 2014). While Methylphenidate has raised concerns regarding side effects and the ability to be misued, benefits of the medication should be taken into consideration (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014). With the correct dosage, under strict guidance of medical professionals,...