Parents’ with strong goals for their children with ADHD significantly influence the type of treatment their children receive, reports a study published September 2. Parents focused on academic achievement were twice as likely to start their children on medication, while those focused on improving behavior were more likely to start behavioral therapy. The study, led by Alexander G. Fiks, M.D., of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, supports shared decision making between doctors and parents for ADHD and other chronic illnesses.
“The results of our study highlight the importance of parents’ priorities for their child–improved academic achievement, behavior or interpersonal relationships–in determining what treatment they ultimately choose for their child’s ADHD,” Fiks told 2 Minute Medicine™. Fiks advised parents to have their pediatricians describe all their treatment options including both the positive and negative aspects of each treatment.
This study involved 148 parents or guardians of children with an ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) diagnosis. First, the ADHD Preference and Goal Instrument (ADHD PGI) was used to establish parents’ preferences for their children’s treatments. Then, after six months, the parents were questioned as to the type of treatment their children had started. Significantly, the parents who initiated either medication or behavioral treatment for their children had lowered goals, suggesting their children's treatment was effective.
There is no cure for ADHD and the primary treatments are either medication or therapy. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), stimulants are the most common type of medication used to treat ADHD. Behavioral therapy is also used to treat ADHD, either alone or in combination with medication. The NIMH advises parents that every child is unique and they need to work with their clinicians to determine the best treatment for their children.
The study, “Parental Preferences and Goals Regarding ADHD Treatment,” is published in Pediatrics.