Therapy for Children with ADHD
Newport Beach, California
Newport Beach, California
Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly known as ADHD, is a neurological disorder commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. The symptoms of ADHD tend to be first noticed when children begin school (Moffitt et al, 2015). Children with ADHD tend to struggle with the structure and expectations of the classroom, resulting in acting out, poor performance, and/or difficulties with peers.
ADHD broken down into three main categories: Inattentive Type, Hyperactive Type, and Combined Hyperactive and Inattentive Type. The symptoms of ADHD are rooted in issues with executive functioning and/or motor drive. Executive functioning is a broad term used by psychologists to explain the brain’s capacity to organize thoughts, plan ahead, and integrate perceptual information (Willcutt et al, 2005). Issues with executive functioning are most easily identified with poor attention control and organizational skills. Motor drive is used to describe the body’s level of agitation or motivation to move and be active, which is most often seen as the squirminess and “bouncing off the wall” level of activity in children with hyperactivity.
Many, many parents ask this question at the OC Psychology Center. Although ADHD is relatively common, many of the symptoms are also developmentally typical for most children. How many 6-year-olds have you met that sit quietly, wait patiently, or have strong organizational skills?
Children who qualify for a diagnosis of ADHD struggle with symptoms of inattentiveness and/or hyperactivity in at least two settings. For example, a child without ADHD may have difficulty with attention and focus in school but is able to focus normally with family and friends, at the grocery store, at church, and other settings. In this case, the child may have a learning disability or another issue that impacts academic functioning but is not necessarily struggling with ADHD.
The normalcy of high-energy and inattentive behaviors makes a diagnosis of ADHD difficult for most healthcare professionals (see Harold et al, 2015), which is why parents should seek services from a licensed psychologist who is trained to do ADHD assessment. An inaccurate diagnosis can lead to severe consequences, particularly in cases where children who do not require medication are given a prescription for ADHD symptoms.
Clinical psychologists are trained and licensed to accurately assess ADHD and rule out the presence of other mental health issues. Our team of mental health professionals is determined to help you and your child find answers. If your child struggles with maintaining attention, staying on-task, or regulating their behavior, let us help. Contact OC Psychology Center today to schedule your first appointment.
The first step for anyone who struggles with ADHD or a similar mental health issue involves an accurate diagnosis. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, treatment for ADHD may look different than treatment for anxiety or depression - particularly for adults. Although many of the issues related to having ADHD can be resolved through psychotherapy services, a combination of medication and therapy tends to be the most effective (National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference Report, 2000). Young children with ADHD are often not prescribed medication unless the symptoms are severely impacting their functioning. We can help answer any questions or concerns you might have about your child’s optimal treatment, along with consult with your child’s prescribing doctor to select the appropriate route for medication.
Healthily manage their emotions
Down-regulate during moments of hyperactivity
Focus in class and pay attention to instructors
Play well with other children
Manage stress related to having ADHD
Our mission is to help children and their families find answers and solutions through assessment (testing and diagnosis) and psychotherapy (treatment) services. To read more about our assessment services, check out our other pages on psychological testing and diagnosis. To learn more about what assessment looks like here in our clinic, read on!
Our ADHD assessment services are entirely confidential and scheduled based on you and your child’s availability. Your child will typically meet one-on-one with one of our licensed professionals to complete a testing battery that is designed based on their needs. For ADHD testing, this typically involves behavioral, executive functioning, cognitive, and academic assessments. Some younger children will complete testing with their parent in the room, which will be discussed before testing begins. Assessment may require scheduling multiple blocks of time (2-6 hours) depending on the testing, along with a final feedback session where we provide you with the results and our recommendations. A copy of the report will also be given to you to use, and can be sent to your child’s school if requested.
We teach parents and children cognitive and behavioral strategies for managing ADHD symptoms at home and school.
Want to learn more about our team of child, adolescent and young adult behavioral health specialists? Select a provider below to learn more about the credentials and specialties of each provider.