Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common mental health disorder that can cause increased levels of hyperactive, impulsive behavior. Individuals with ADHD may find it difficult to sit still or focus on a task for extended periods.
ADHD is commonly diagnosed in children, with about 9.4 percent of U.S. children diagnosed. ADHD affects about 4.4 percent of U.S. adults, as well.
Though demand for behavioral health services has increased, including treatment for ADHD, fewer adults with ADHD receive a diagnosis and treatment for their condition. Many adults with symptoms of ADHD have to wait weeks or even months for an assessment, diagnosis, and help. However, assessment is a vital step in getting an individual with ADHD the help they need.
Examples of ADHD Assessments
Online assessments play an important role in helping behavioral health providers diagnose ADHD through telehealth. Some examples of these assessments include:
ASRS for Adults
Primary care and mental health providers can use the Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS) for quickly screening patients over age 18 who show symptoms of ADHD. This assessment can help determine an individual’s symptom severity. The ASRS can also be used for individuals diagnosed with ADHD to monitor their symptom changes and the effectiveness of treatment.
Vanderbilt Assessments for the Youth
The Vanderbilt Assessment Scales (VAS) were developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. VAS is completed by parents and teachers, assessing a child’s ADHD symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity. This scale also assesses academic performance, conduct disorder, and anxiety/depression. VAS is intended to assess ADHD symptoms in children aged 6-12 years.
Treating ADHD Remotely
As more jobs, classes, and health services move online in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, many individuals with ADHD have struggled to keep up. Children and adults with ADHD have difficulty adjusting to disruptions to their routines. Many have found online classrooms and workspaces more distracting.
Though children and adults with ADHD may struggle with online work, however, telehealth may still be a viable option for addressing ADHD.
Behavioral health providers may offer videoconferencing options for counseling sessions. Some providers may continue to offer in-person therapy sessions, while using remote, telehealth options to conduct initial assessments, prescribe or monitor medications, or make follow-up visits.
Telehealth can be used effectively to provide education to ADHD clients and caregivers. Parents can receive online training in interventions that help them deal with their child’s ADHD symptoms.
Individual or group online sessions can offer support for children or adults with ADHD. Remote behavioral health services also can address comorbidities, such as anxiety and depression.
The disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency remains challenging for behavioral health providers and caregivers of individuals with ADHD. Despite these challenges, providers must continue to follow best practices for ADHD. This includes offering appropriate treatment, medication and treatment monitoring, symptom and medication assessments, and routine screening.
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