How to help families awaiting an autism diagnosis

“Wait times to get a formal autism diagnosis from a qualified program range from six months to two years. It’s very frustrating for parents and their children who need services,” explains Dr. Mark Wolraich, MD, a REACH faculty member and retired professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. 

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Navigating the ADHD stimulant medication shortage

“The ADHD stimulant medication shortage is affecting patients, families, pharmacists, and clinicians,” explains Andrew Adesman, MD, a developmental pediatrician specializing in ADHD.

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Supporting mental health needs in rural areas

Rural healthcare providers can be overwhelmed—and understaffed with specialists. Discover how REACH inspired Elizabeth Wallis, M.D., to build a community to support her patients.

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Is it ADHD? Or something else?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common behavioral health disorders, affecting approximately 9% of all children and adolescents. About 75% of pediatric patients with ADHD have comorbid mental health conditions, ranging from oppositional-defiant disorder to anxiety and mood disorders.

What is a busy clinician to do? How do you discern whether a child who is, say, having difficulty focusing at school and at home has ADHD, anxiety, both, or something else?

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IEP and 504 school accommodations for mental health needs

Children with mental health diagnoses may need special accommodations in order to succeed in school. Patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism come immediately to mind. However, children with depression and anxiety disorders may also struggle in the classroom.

Pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) and therapists can help families get the school accommodations their children need. Mark Wolraich, MD, REACH faculty member and retired professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, emphasizes that children are best served when professionals take a team approach to mental health care.

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ADHD medication “holidays”?

As summer rolls around, families may ask whether their children can have a “holiday” from their psychoactive medication, especially for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). We asked Lawrence Amsel, MD, MPH, a REACH faculty member and associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, to lay out the pros and cons.

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New treatments for ADHD

Newer treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pediatric patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include two medications that address some of the common issues families have with standard stimulant treatments. Another development is use of devices to manage ADHD symptoms.

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Getting smarter about child mental health

“For these straightforward cases, when you can identify uncomplicated ADHD in patients without co-occuring depression or anxiety – well, everyone in primary care should be able to do this.”

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