The clinicians at CHOP’s Center for Management of ADHD have years of experience assessing and providing ongoing, comprehensive treatment for children and adolescents with ADHD, including behavioral therapy, parent education and support, and medication management. Our experts also work with parents and teachers to help them better understand the condition and develop strategies for interacting with children with ADHD most effectively.
Please note that due to individual patient needs and the large volume of patient referrals to our center, we may need to help you identify treatment providers in your community for ongoing care. Please visit “Finding a Provider for Behavior Management with ADHD” for information on how to identify an ADHD provider who uses a behavioral management approach for managing ADHD.
ADHD group treatments
Offered several times throughout the year
The ADHD Bootcamp program is a four-session parent group program designed for the parents of children (ages 5-11 years) who are newly diagnosed with ADHD. The purpose of the Bootcamp program is provide education about ADHD and its treatments, facilitate sharing among parents, and promote the empowerment of parents to navigate the health, mental health, and educational systems to obtain needed services for their children. The ADHD Bootcamp program includes intervention components that are solidly based in scientific research about how to treat ADHD effectively, including parenting strategies, approaches for collaborating with school professionals, and useful information about whether to consider a trial of medication. Interested families must be evaluated by providers at CHOP to determine eligibility.
Family School Success
The Family School Success (FSS) program is an eight-session group parent training program designed to address the home and school difficulties of children with ADHD (ages 5 to 11 years). The FSS program is an evidence-based treatment that uses a behavioral parent training approach with a special focus on strengthening parent-child, family-school, and student-teacher relationships. Behavioral parent training focuses on:
- Positive parenting approaches, including prevention strategies to set children up for success
- Frequent use of positive reinforcement
- Ignoring frequent undesirable child behaviors
- Strategic use of punishment
The FSS program also includes strategies to establish a strong working relationship between parents and teachers and problem-solving techniques to address children’s difficulties in school.
The FSS program has been shown to be effective in a large-scale randomized controlled trial conducted through our ADHD Center. In addition, the FSS program is similar to other combined behavior parent training programs and school behavioral interventions that have been shown to be effective. Interested families must be evaluated by CHOP providers to determine eligibility.
Children do not attend the ADHD Bootcamp and Family School Success groups. Instead, parents work with their child at home to apply the strategies they learn to address their child’s difficulties. In addition, parents learn how to work with their child’s teacher to deal with problems at school.
Because the skills taught in each week’s session build upon the information presented in previous sessions, attendance at group sessions is very important.
Organizational Skills Training Program
Organizational skills can be treated through behavioral parent training interventions. Alternatively, deficits in organization, time management and planning skills can be addressed by teaching children and youth with ADHD skills to overcome these deficits.
The intervention we offer is based on the Organizational Skills Training for ADHD treatment developed by Drs. Abikoff and Gallagher. This treatment program is an empirically-based treatment to address organization, time management, and planning deficits in children with ADHD. In this intervention, children are trained in skills for tracking assignments, managing materials, managing time, and planning for long-term assignments. In addition, parents are trained to support their child's learning and use of the new skills between sessions.
We offer this program in several formats:
- We have in the past offered this treatment in a 12-session group format for middle school students. This is not currently being offered. We will update our website when we are able to offer it again.
- We offer this treatment in a 16-session small group format for third through fifth graders at the beginning of the school year as part of post-doctoral training for a research study.
- We offer this program for students grades 3-12 individually on a limited basis as available appointments allow.
ADHD family treatments
Family behavior therapy
Family therapy services at the Center for ADHD at CHOP are available to provide parents and caregivers with individualized training in evidence-based techniques for addressing the problems commonly experienced by children with ADHD, including behavior problems at home and school, academic difficulties, homework problems, peer relationship problems, and self-esteem issues.
For school-aged (ages 5 to 11 years) children with ADHD, we encourage parents to participate in our Family School Success parent group program (described above), as we have clear evidence for its effectiveness in a time-efficient manner.
Family therapy services (including individual sessions as appropriate with the child or adolescent in addition to sessions where parents are also involved) are available in the following situations:
- The provider determines that the child has a complex set of conditions and requires an individualized approach to care.
- The child is dealing with additional mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression that need to be the primary focus of treatment (rather than their ADHD).
- There are complicating factors in the family that are difficult to address in group settings.
- An adolescent and their parents need assistance in managing ADHD and associated problems. At present we do not offer group treatments for families of adolescents with ADHD.
Family therapy is a time-limited ADHD-focused treatment with the goal of teaching parents and children or adolescents the skills needed to cope with their difficulties independently. A large body of research supports the effectiveness of family behavior therapy for children with ADHD.
As a general rule, primary care pediatricians (PCPs) have the training and interest in providing medication management for most children with ADHD. We encourage you to first speak with your child’s pediatrician about medication options. If your pediatrician is not comfortable managing medications for ADHD, you may want to inquire if there is another pediatrician in the practice who is able to treat your child’s ADHD.
Medication management by our developmental pediatricians, child and adolescent psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners is appropriate for children as a second line intervention when medical trials initiated by the PCP have not been effective or the child has a complex set of medical or mental health conditions. If your pediatrician believes your child’s medications should be managed by a CHOP developmental pediatrician or child/adolescent psychiatrist, please contact our office for an ADHD medication management consultation.
Your child's visit with a developmental pediatrician, child and adolescent psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners may include a discussion about the indications, benefits and risks of medication treatment for your child's ADHD symptoms, if warranted. Medications for ADHD include both stimulant and non-stimulant options. A complete medical history and physical exam is required prior to starting medications.