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ADHD lessons needed for parents

24th September 2008

New guidelines on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest that parents could benefit from lessons in coping with their child’s unruly behaviour.

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The guidelines, which come out in 2009, have been provided by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and cover England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They indicate that parent training and education programmes should be offered as a first-line treatment for ADHD, both for pre-school and school age children.

Teachers would also benefit from such training with figures suggesting that most primary school classes are likely to contain a child with ADHD.

And NICE also says that drugs such as Ritalin - which is offered to some children with ADHD - should be avoided and must not be given to the under-fives.

Dr Tim Kendall, who is joint director of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health and helped draw up the guidelines, said: "There is an over-reliance on medicines. Quite commonly, people tend to revert to offering methylphenidate or atomoxetene.

"When they do that it's not always because there's a good balance of risk and benefits. It's because the child has got what appears to be ADHD and that's what's available.

"It’s easier to prescribe a drug when other options like parent training programmes are not available."

Andrea Bilbow, chief executive of the ADHD charity ADDISS, welcomed the NICE recommendations but questioned how helpful the parent training programmes would be to parents.

"Parenting programmes are extremely important, but they need to be specific for ADHD," she said.

 

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