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How Do I Know If My Child's ADD Treatment Is Working?

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Updated July 27, 2008

Gathering information on your ADD / ADHD child's progress at school is important in sorting out whether or not treatment is working. Dr. David Rabiner of Duke University has developed a simple system that parents can use to monitor the effectiveness of ADHD treatments. “One of the most important things one can do to help promote the healthy development of a child with ADHD is to carefully monitor how he or she is doing at school,” says Dr. Rabiner. The ADHD Monitoring Program helps make it easy for parents to do this.

For a child with ADHD, consistency across settings and communication between parents, teachers, and treatment providers is essential. The ADHD Monitoring System provides a simple way of tracking a child’s progress and can provide information about ways treatment approaches may need to be adjusted.

What kind of information about school behavior is helpful for treatment providers? They need to know the following:

  1. How well are symptoms being managed at school?
  2. What is the child’s behavioral, social, and emotional functioning at school?
  3. How is the child doing academically?

A weekly or monthly monitoring report may be used by the teacher to help clarify the above questions. A list of 15 behaviors including fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat, difficulty remaining seated, difficulty waiting turn, talks excessively, interrupts others, etc. are observed. A simple rating scale of 0 to 3 is used and the teacher circles the number that best applies. Additionally, behaviors in the morning verses afternoon times are compared.

The System also provides information about the amount of classwork the child was able to complete, the quality of the work, as well as homework progress.

The ADHD Monitoring System appears to work best for children in elementary school who have a single teacher. It can certainly be used with middle and high school students, though it gets more difficult to keep track of behaviors with multiple teachers who do not spend the whole day with the student. If you are uncertain about the best way to monitor school progress in these grades, meet with the school principal to develop a plan.

If you are interested in receiving a free copy of the ADHD Monitoring System click on ADHD Treatments.

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