ADHD Resource Center

This Resource Center was made possible through funding from the Lasdon Foundation.

Last updated September 2023


ADHD Resource Center ImageAttention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition which includes difficulties with attention, increased activity, and difficulties with impulsivity. Estimates show that up to 10 percent of school-aged children and about 4 percent of adults have ADHD. It is usually first identified when children are school-aged, although it also can be diagnosed in people of all age groups. In an average classroom of 30 children, research suggests that at least one will have ADHD.

No single biological cause for ADHD has been found. But most research points to genes inherited from parents as the leading contributor to ADHD. ADHD often runs in families.

The good news is that there are safe and effective treatments for children and adolescents with ADHD. Treatment is most effective when it begins early and when intervention is individualized to the needs of the child.

Choose a topic:

Glossary of Symptoms: ADHD

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is ADHD?
  2. How common is ADHD?
  3. What causes ADHD?
  4. Common signs and symptoms of ADHD?
  5. What are the types of treatment for ADHD?
  6. When is it okay to stop taking ADHD medication?
  7. What are the consequences of untreated ADHD?

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Treatment Resources

Parents’ Medication Guide

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created the Parents’ Medication Guide series.

Included in these guides are new research on effective treatments for child and adolescent ADHD. The goal of the guide is to help parents make informed decisions about getting the best care for a child or adolescent with ADHD.

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Facts for Families

AACAP's Facts for Families provide concise up-to-date information on issues that affect children, teenagers, and their families. Below are links to Facts for Families with information that may be useful to families of children with ADHD.

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Video Clips

ADHD: A Guide for Families
Many children have restless behaviors that are typical of ADHD. When fidgeting, poor concentration, or impulsiveness begins disrupting performance in school, at home, or in relationships with other children, the cause might be ADHD. To be a good advocate for your child, you need to learn as much as you can about ADHD.

The following are chapters from the ADHD: A Guide for Families book:

What is ADHD?
How common is ADHD?
Common Signs and Symptoms
Getting Treatment
Supporting School Success
The Teenage Years
Working Together

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Clinical Resources

Information about Choices in Psychotherapy Treatment

Treatment for ADHD comes in the form of medication and psychotherapy treatment. Both can be important elements of a comprehensive treatment plan. There are several psychotherapies that are helpful for children with ADHD. We have the most evidence that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral management techniques can be helpful for children with ADHD.

Learn more about the types of psychotherapy that are available to help children and adolescents with mental illness here.

Information about Choices in Medication

Parents who have a child or adolescent with ADHD, or any mental health condition, are often left facing difficult decisions regarding medication.

Learn more about how psychiatric medication is used to treat children and adolescents here.

Learn more about the types of psychiatric medication that are available to treat children and adolescents with mental health disorder here.

View up-to-date information about advances in psychopharmacological treatment for mood disorders here.

ADHD Rating Scales

Vanderbilt Diagnostic Parent Rating Scale

Two rating scales which can be used by clinicians to help identify ADHD and monitor symptoms are the SWAN rating scale and the SNAP-IV rating scale. These scales are completed separately by a parent and a teacher.

The SWAN Rating Scale has 30 items and includes ADHD symptoms and symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder. Download the SWAN Rating Scale.

The SNAP-IV Rating Scale contains 90 items and includes symptoms of ADHD and also ODD and aggression. Download the SNAP-IV Rating Scale.


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Research and Training

AHRQ review of ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Diagnosis and Treatment in Children and Adolescents

The abstract for the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD is an NIMH sponsored research study that examined close to 600 children with ADHD and studied how they responded to different treatments. Click here to find a brief description of results from this study:
Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD

Learn more about the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children with ADHD and results from this large research study.


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AACAP's books: Your Child and Your Adolescent offer easy-to-understand and comprehensive information on the emotional development and behavior of children from infancy through the teen years.

A Bird's-Eye View of Life with ADD and ADHD: Advice from Young Survivors
Chris A. Zeigler Dendy and Alex Zeigler

ADHD and Me: Forty Years in a Fog
Ken Patterson

For more bibliotherapy resources, visit Living with Mental Illness: Books, Stories and Memoirs.

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Getting Help

ADHD Resource Center ImageGetting help is the most important thing that parents can do for children and adolescents with a mental health concern. Parents should try to find a mental health professional with advanced training and experience evaluating and treating children and adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Also, it is important to find a comfortable match between your child, your family, and the mental health professional.

A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders that affect children and adolescents. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have completed four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency training in medicine, neurology, or general psychiatry with adults, and two years of additional training in psychiatric work with children and adolescents.

Find a child and adolescent psychiatrist in your area.

To learn about accessing child and adolescent psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, please read Where To Find Help For Your Child.

Oftentimes, parents are unsure when to seek a referral to a child and adolescent psychiatrist. For more information on when to seek a referral, please read this article.

Learn more about understanding mental health insurance, please read AACAP's Facts For Families on Mental Health Insurance.

Services In School For Children With Special Needs: What Parents Need To Know

Related Websites

This Resource Center was made possible through funding from the Lasdon Foundation.

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