When my 15 year old son was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder at the age of 7, I was told it was a lifelong chronic condition.
I was a little hopeful when a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics last winter said that “an estimated 30 to 60 percent of children who have A.D.H.D. no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for this disorder in late adolescence. "
Does that mean they topped it?
There's no easy answer, said Thomas Power, director of the Center for Management at A.D.H.D. at Philadelphia Children's Hospital and the study's lead author.
He was one of eight experts I consulted and while they fell into different camps to find out if anyone was about A.D.H.D. outgrowth, everyone agreed that the answer is complicated. Some said that the outgrowth of A.D.H.D. may have a genetic component, while others have told me that certain coping skills and career choices play a prominent role in reducing symptoms that may make it appear that the person no longer has them.
Russell Barkley, clinical professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, clarified that A.D.H.D. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, the most important resource clinicians use to diagnose does not mean that the individual is no longer the A.D.H.D.
"People are growing out of the D.S.M. Criteria that for the most part do not grow beyond their disturbance, ”said Dr. Barkley.
"Diagnosing A.D.H.D. is not like leukemia, where you do a blood test and you definitely know you have leukemia," said Dr. William Barbaresi, pediatrician for developmental behavior at Boston Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
When a young child has an A.D.H.D. Diagnosis, doctors and clinicians rely on feedback from patients, parents and teachers. However, when assessing a later adolescent or adult, it is usually based on self-reports only.
"There are many reasons to wonder how accurate this report is as it is difficult to evaluate yourself," said Dr. Barbaresi.
And Dr. Power noted, “People with A.D.H.D. tend to underestimate their symptoms. "
Ari Tuckman, a West Chester, Pennsylvania psychologist and author of Understand Your Brain, Get More Done: The A.D.H.D. Executive Functions Workbook, ”stated that the challenges of diagnosis add to whether the condition has outgrown or whether it is simply becoming less of a problem.
"It's not black and white that someone has ADHD or not, so much so that it comes on a severity spectrum and some people cut it while others fall short but still have more problems than the average person," he said .
"Some adults have become essentially asymptomatic because they were able to use coping strategies," said Robyn Mehlenbeck, director of the George Mason University Center for Mental Health Services and president of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
Dr. Mehlenbeck, a clinical psychologist, further stated that if that person shows no symptoms, but A.D.H.D. As a child, she would then be diagnosed with A.D.H.D. through history and she would not consider it to be beyond diagnosis.
But Dr. Tanya Froehlich, a pediatrician in developmental behavior at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and professor at U.C. Department of Pediatrics said that when coping skills improve a patient's function, an A.D.H.D. Diagnosis may not apply.
"With an A.D.H.D. The diagnosis is not only symptomatic, but compromised, ”she said.
Doctors usually recommend a combination of behavioral interventions, counseling, and medication to manage a child's symptoms. A child who has the symptoms of A.D.H.D. and thus a more successful school experience can reach a point where A.D.H.D. is far less of a problem. Facilitating school success and ultimately life can be the way to outgrow the diagnosis.
Dr. Damon Korb, a pediatrician for developmental behavior in Los Gatos, Calif. And author of Raising an Organized Child, stated that the best evidence for improving A.D.H.D. Impairments support behavior training for children and parents.
"When parents receive information about A.D.H.D. and how to work with your child when they are younger, those children tend to have the best outcome, ”he said.
Dr. Mark Bertin, a pediatrician for developmental behavior in Pleasantville, New York and author of Mindful Parenting for A.D.H.D., recommends a "detailed and appropriate school schedule." He added, "It is important to realize that someone is academically gifted but leaves behind all of the skills required to manage education, such as studying, doing your homework, and being forgetful."
For some students with A.D.H.D. Remote learning can have certain advantages as they don't forget their Chromebooks or their tasks on the bus. And you don't have to be in a classroom to be attentive for hours. For others, however, it may be more difficult because a personal school day lacks support and structure.
Dr. Power emphasized the importance of students and parents building close relationships with their teachers to help students achieve academic success. A student with A.D.H.D. is eligible to receive a 504 plan that provides accommodations such as additional time or a distraction-free environment to conduct tests. These can be changed when the student is not in the classroom.
Adolescents with A.D.H.D. You may struggle to learn the organizational and time management skills required to succeed in traditional high school.
"People with A.D.H.D. is difficult because it's a bit of circular logic – what do you need to implement an organizational plan? You have to be organized, ”said Dr. Barbaresi.
He recommended the use of external systems such as electronic organizational systems with adult supervision and reinforcement. He also suggested that an assigned teacher do a quick check-in with the student at the beginning of the day.
Dr. Froehlich suggested that teenagers with A.D.H.D. Attend organizational training like the one held in Cincinnati entitled "Academic Achievement For Young Youth" with A.D.H.D. She also recommended the Challenging Horizons program, a school-based treatment for middle and high school students with A.D.H.D.
Some of the challenges of A.D.H.D. can be due to the discrepancy between a child's strengths and the behaviors a typical school day requires. Depending on their choice of profession, A.D.H.D.
“When you choose a career and do your best, the way you work will improve. What we are telling people is that you want to choose a career that you are good at, that you enjoy, and that someone will pay you for, ”said Dr. Happy.