ADHD Fact Sheet

Arguably the best resource to start with for ADHD is with a simple Fact Sheet that can be provided to parents. Though this condition is commonly talked about by parents, media, teachers, etc., there are often misconceptions and/or misunderstandings that can easily be provided.

One such fact sheet is available from the Center for Disease control at:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/documents/adhdfactsheetenglish.pdf 

This resource is also available in Spanish:

http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/documents/adhdfactsheetspanish.pdf 

For a web-based or longer fact-sheet, a few other options exist:

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Self-Management

For students with ADHD, a common issue is that teachers grow weary of redirecting and prompting student behavior. Therefore, self-management and monitoring can be a valuable intervention for students with ADHD, though many other students may also benefit from this type of intervention.

Self-management ensures that students take responsibility for their own behavior and record their own success.

The simplified steps of this intervention are as follows:

  • Establish a prompting method (e.g. timer, MotivAIDER – http://habitchange.com/, verbal prompt)
  • Create a method for self-assessment (e.g. behavior interval recording form)
  • Clearly define target behaviors (e.g. speaking aloud without raising hand)
  • Explain self-monitoring procedures (prompts and assessment form)
  •  Instruct student to begin self-management during target period

This intervention can be combined with goals, reinforcement (verbal, physical reward, etc.), and/or self-charting.

One important tip is that the target behaviors must be clear to the student. Defining these behaviors in the student’s own words, and providing explicit examples and non-examples may be valuable.

A full brief of this intervention is available at the Missouri EBI Network: http://ebi.missouri.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Self-Managememt-Brief1.pdf

 

 

Medication for ADHD

The below chart, titled ADHD Medication Chart, is copied from WebMD as a handy resource for comparing the class, name, form, duration, and common side effects of different types of ADHD medication. This is an important resource for parents and teachers alike, as it is important to have at least cursory knowledge of what to expect when a students is on ADHD medication.

Citation:

WebMD. (2016). “ADHD Medication Chart.” Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-medication-chart.

ADHD Medication Chart

Class
Drug Name
Form
Duration Common Side Effects
Amphetamine Stimulants
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Some loss of appetite,  weight losssleepproblems, irritability,tics. Short-acting medicines require frequent dosing.
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Dexedrine
Spansule
Long-acting
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss,sleepproblems, irritability, tics. Long-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater effects on appetite and sleep.

Adderall XR

Long-acting
8-12 hours

Long-acting

(prodrug)

10-12 hours
Methylphenidate Stimulants
Short-acting
4-6 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Short-acting medicines require frequent dosing.
Methylin
Short-acting
3-4 hours
Short-acting
3-4 hours
Metadate ER
Intermediate-acting
6-8 hours
Some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Longer-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater effects on appetite and sleep.
Methylin ER
Intermediate-acting
6-8 hours
Ritalin SR
Intermediate-acting
4-8 hours
Metadate CD
Intermediate-acting
8-10 hours
Ritalin LA
Intermediate-acting
8-10 hours
Long-acting
10-12 hours
Some loss of appetite,weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics. Longer-acting medicines are convenient but may have greater side effects on appetite and sleep.
Quillivant XR
Long-acting
12 hours
Focalin XR
Long-acting
6-10 hours
Long-acting
10-12 hour
Skin irritation, some loss of appetite, weight loss, sleep problems, irritability, tics.
Nonstimulants
Long-acting (extended release)
24 hours
Sleep problems,anxiety,fatigue, upset stomach,dizziness, dry mouth. Rarely,liver damage. There are some concerns about a link between Strattera andsuicidalthoughts.
Long-acting (extended release)
24 hours
Sleepiness,headache,fatigue,abdominal pain. Rarely, Intuniv can cause low blood pressure andheart rhythm changes.
Short-acting
4-5 hours
Sleep problems,headaches. Although rare, Wellbutrin may increase the risk ofseizures.
Wellbutrin SR
Sustained release
(long-acting)
12 hours
Extended release
(long-acting)
24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
Sleep problems,anxiety,fatigue,upset stomach, dizziness, dry mouth, elevated heart rate, risk ofheartarrhythmias.
NA
8-24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
NA
8-24 hours
Not recommended for children. Associated with rare cases of fatal heart problems.
Blood
Pressure Medicines

Clonidine

Catapresor

Kapvay

NA

4-6 hours (tablets)

24 hours (patch)

24
hours
(Tablet taken twice a day)

Fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, irritability, behavior problems, low blood pressure. Stopping this medicine suddenly can result in high blood pressure.
NA
6-8 hours
ADHD Medicines and Safety

The FDA has issued a warning about the risk of drug abuse with amphetamine stimulants. FDA safety advisors are also concerned about the possibility that all amphetamine and methylphenidate stimulants used for ADHD may increase the risk of heart and psychiatric problems.

The FDA has also issued a warning about a connection betweenantidepressants (including the non-stimulant Strattera) and an increased risk of suicide in adults aged 18-24, especially in the first one or two months of treatment.

While these risks may seem alarming, keep in mind that experts generally consider these medicines safe when they are monitored properly by a professional. Serious problems are rare. Still, you should discuss the risks and benefits of these drugs with your doctor.

Nonpharmacological Interventions for ADHD: A Review

With ADHD, arguably the most common treatment/intervention involves the use of medication. However, other treatments/interventions exist that may have value for these students, and it is important that these are adequately studied before being recommended. Sonuga-Barke et al. (2013) conducted a systematic review (meta-analysis) of non-pharmacological interventions for ADHD.

To summarize their findings, they found that:

  • Dietary interventions:
    • Had small beneficial effects
    • “Free fatty acid supplementation and artificial food color exclusions appear to have beneficial effects on ADHD symptoms, although the effect of the former are small and those of the latter may be limited to ADHD patients with food sensitivities” (Sonuga-Barke et al., 2013, p. 285). Clinical significance may be close to negligible.
    • Restrictive elimination diets require more (blinded) evidence.
  • Behavior interventions:
    • Limited to unblinded ratings, which is problematic as these individuals have a clear stake in the results. Thus, more, blinded evidence is needed. (Sonuga-Barke et al., 2013).
  • Psychological interventions:
    • “While the most proximal assessment data on neurofeedback [and] cognitive training…. were potentially more positive, evidence of efficacy from blinded assessments is required before they are likely to be supported as ADHD treatments” (Sonuga-Barke et al., 2013, p. 285).”

As of the time of writing this post, this resource is available via ResearchGate without a subscription at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Maite_Ferrin2/publication/235326200_Nonpharmacological_Interventions_for_ADHD_Systematic_Review_and_Meta-Analyses_of_Randomized_Controlled_Trials_of_Dietary_and_Psychological_Treatments/links/0c960521505d9609f3000000.pdf.

However, as with many web resources, this link may change over time, or may return to requiring a subscription. Therefore, the reference below should allow for finding this resource in its original form.

Reference:

Sonuga-Barke, E. J., Brandeis, D., Cortese, S., Daley, D., Ferrin, M., Holtmann, M., … & Dittmann, R. W. (2013). Nonpharmacological interventions for ADHD: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials of dietary and psychological treatments. American Journal of Psychiatry 170, 275-289. 

Organization and Study Skills for ADHD

General Resource: EducationWorld Post (http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/doe/adhd_page8.shtml)

This resource is a 10 part post on Instructional Strategies for interacting with students with ADHD. I specifically linked the post on Organization and Study Skills Useful for Instruction of Students with ADHD.

This website is a list of techniques that are generally recommended for students with ADHD, specifically designed for teachers but understandable by any reader. The tips are:

  • Designate an advisor or coordinator for the student
  • Use assignment notebooks
  • Color-coded folders
  • Homework partners
  • Periodic cleaning
  • Visual aids as reminders

Other tips are related to time management:

  • Use a clock or wrist-watch
  • Use a calendar
  • Practice sequencing activities
  • Create a daily activity schedule

And for study skills or modifications:

Each of these tips is elaborated upon, usually including some form of education component for the student, as might be expected. Overall, this resource could be used for teachers who need ideas, or even for accommodations that may be included in a 504 plan for a student with ADHD as a school psychologist.