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It Takes a Village to Treat ADHD: Community and Clinical Collaborations

(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES)- ABSTRACT: The majority of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are assessed and treated by primary care pediatricians. However, the services of others are frequently needed to provide optimal care for children with ADHD; one of the pediatrician’s most important roles is to serve as coordinator of the treatment team. A child’s parents are the most important members of the ADHD treatment team. Education of parents by professionals is the cornerstone of any treatment plan for a child with ADHD. Schools are a major provider of services for children with ADHD. Schoolbased evaluations and interventions are often provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In cases complicated by comorbid diagnoses, medication treatment resistance, or complex family and psychosocial dynamics, child psychologists and psychiatrists can provide invaluable assistance with diagnosis and treatment. Other professionals, such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatric social workers, and nurse practitioners can also provide valuable services. Developing technology is creating new avenues of collaboration, including telepsychiatry and phone or Internet consultation.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most common mental health disorder treated by pediatricians.1 Some pediatricians may not have the training, clinical experience, or time to adequately evaluate and treat children with ADHD—and most may feel their skills are insufficient in children with medication treatment resistance, comorbid psychiatric illnesses, or complex family dynamics.

In addition, pediatricians who treat children with ADHD often encounter complex systems issues that are beyond their usual scope of practice.
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