Treatment Planning Tips for Parents of ADHD Children

Douglas Cowan Psy.D. MFT's picture
Share it now

During Summer, Fall, and Winter, Try this FIRST -- usually try the nutritional interventions first. Unless the child is a danger to himself or others, or unless he's really in a lot of trouble, then you will have to start with medications first.

Try our Eating Program ADHD Diet and order the VAXA products "Attend" and "Memorin" for Inattentive Types; or "Attend" and "Extress" for Hyperactive-Impulsive Types. Use them for at least 60 days along with the Eating Program/Diet. It will take 30 to 45 days to really know whether or not this will be sufficient as an intervention. Give it time. If the combination of diet and VAXA products doesn't work after 60 days, then move on to the next level of treatment.

During March, April, May, and June, try this first...

If you are looking for help during the Spring months, then you are probably just trying to salvage the school year for your child/teen. You have probably seen your child's performance get worse and worse as each month has passed, and now you are near panic. OK, here's what we recommend that you consider if you are in this position...

We recommend to most of our parents who are in this position that they go back to the physician and ask for a trial of medication.

Bite the bullet and just do it.

With a smart doctor, and at the right dosage, the medications can provide remarkable benefits in a very short period of time (15 to 20 minutes!). See our discussion on medications.

Use the medications until the end of the school year. Then try the Eating Program/Diet and the Attend/Extress products, or other non-medication interventions, during the summer months and see if you can cut the necessary dosage of medication in half, or eliminate the need for medication completely.

Once the situation is "stable" by either the use of the Eating Program/Diet and ATTEND, or by the use of medications, then it is time to consider other options for treatment. And, yes, there are options that work pretty well. To see how Attend compares in effectiveness with Ritalin and EEG Biofeedback training, visit

Medication paired with counseling is the “medical model” approach to treatment. We do not recommend counseling as an intervention by itself. It can be beneficial if used as an adjunct to one of the "big 3" interventions: medication, Attend, or EEG Biofeedback training. See our discussion on counseling.

Consider EEG Biofeedback Training...

EEG Biofeedback training works well for the majority of kids with ADD/ADHD. Like the ATTEND/EXTRESS products, EEG Biofeedback or Neurofeedback training is another state-of-the-art alternative approach to treatment. Because it can take time to start working, we recommend that the situation be stable before beginning this treatment. Also, because it is the most expensive treatment option, at least in the short-term, we recommend that you try it only after you have tried the ATTEND and EXTRESS products. Both work well, so try the least expensive option first. For those who are in a hurry to begin EEG Biofeedback training, we would recommend that you consider using the "Attend" while you do the Biofeedback training. We believe that it can speed up the process, help you to achieve results faster, and reduce the overall cost of treatment.

To see how EEG Biofeedback compares in effectiveness with Ritalin and Attend, visit

Parent Support Groups...

You, the parents, need to get into a good support group. CHADD is a good group. CHADD is very medical model oriented, and therefore resistant to alternative treatments. But they have many very good things to offer. You the parents also need to get into a good parent training class. Find one in your community, or order resources. Visit the Complete ADD ADHD Bookstore for 100 recommended books to select from.

Evaluate your treatment progress.

The mantra to repeat is simple, “If it works, don’t mess with it, and if it doesn’t work, do something else." Repeat this over and over again.

Be ruthless in your evaluation of the treatment. You are paying “experts” to help your child. If they are not doing their job, find someone who can. It may not be their fault. Your kid might really be a difficult case. But I guarantee you that if you look hard enough you will find someone in your community who actually can help your child, difficult or not.

I can't tell you how many times families have come to see me after they have spent about $5,000 on treatment with a therapist who did not know a thing about working with ADD/ADHD kids, and therefore received zero benefit. It’s your money and time, so spend it wisely.

If a medication is tried, but does not work at all, try a different dose. If it still doesn’t work, try a different medication. If that doesn’t work, try a different approach to treatment, such as the Attend and Extress.

If EEG Neurofeedback is tried, but by 25 sessions you don’t have a measurable change (retesting on TOVA test, etc.) then have a real “heart to heart” discussion with the therapist. Ask, “Is this going to work for my kid?” If you are not convinced that it will, try something else.

If the counseling that you go to doesn’t seem to be helping your child by the 6th or 7th session, have the “heart to heart” with the therapist, and ask exactly what they are doing. Why waste money on therapy sessions with a counselor who doesn't have any idea what he/she needs to accomplish, but charges $75-100 per hour anyway? Don’t waste your money. If it’s not working, find a therapist who will help you.

ADHD ADD information on ADHD

Share it now