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Therapy for ADHD consists of several pillars that complement each other. The education and involvement of family and social environment (e.g. school, kindergarten) play an important role. Parents and other people who look after affected children should be well informed about ADHD as one of the most important therapeutic measures.
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- Kindergarten and preschool age
- School age
- Whom can I ask?
- Who pays the costs?
Kindergarten and preschool age
A number of measures make everyday life easier for young and preschool children:
- Clear messages and rules,
- well-planned daily structure,
- Avoid being overwhelmed as well
- Reinforcement plans for problem behavior.
By means of occupational therapy (possibly also occupational riding or climbing), moto-pedagogy and games in the group, motor, sensory and social skills are improved and self-confidence is strengthened.
Psychotherapy and medication
The psychotherapeutic measures at this age include parenting and educational counseling as well as play therapy. There are currently no approved drugs available in Austria for small and preschool children. In exceptional cases, the active ingredient methylphenidate can be administered from the age of four.
When children with ADHD start school, they (and those around them) are faced with major challenges. You should sit still, listen carefully, and remember lots of new things. In those affected, however, self-regulation and self-control are not age-appropriate. The children perceive all information, but only for a shorter period of time. Switching between two different tasks is difficult. With clear guidelines on when, where and how homework should be done, for example, school children with ADHD could increase their self-regulation.
There are special recommendations for teaching staff to encourage and support the children accordingly. As with toddlers and preschoolers, clear messages and rules, a well-planned daily structure, and avoidance of excessive demands help every now and then and justified praise.
Versatile treatment options
The therapy for ADHD in school age consists of:
- Psychotropic drugs
- Exercise (sport etc.)
- Parent counseling
Specific clinical-psychological treatment techniques are also used. In most cases, treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis. Inpatient admission to a hospital or partial inpatient treatment (partly in the hospital, partly in the social environment) may be necessary in the case of severe symptoms or concomitant diseases.
In the psychotherapeutic treatment of school children with ADHD, behavior therapy measures are in the foreground. The school and social environment are included. The training of parents or caregivers and special training for the teaching staff promote understanding of ADHD and help to cope better with everyday life.
Psycho-education aims to promote understanding of the disorder. Exercises to improve concentration, self-management as well as social skills training and play therapy lead step by step to better handling of the situation. Group therapy is also possible. Children and young people can exchange ideas and learn from and with one another. One of the most important points is to control ADHD and not let it overwhelm you.
Restrained use of medication
From the age of six, drug treatment with different active ingredients is possible. On the one hand there are stimulants (active ingredient methylphenidate or amphetamine) available, on the other hand so-called norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (active ingredient atomoxetine). Both drug groups intervene in the neurotransmitter balance and enable better regulation of neurotransmitters. Regular medical check-ups are necessary during drug treatment. The medication should be used cautiously and only when really necessary.
Note Your doctor or pharmacist will inform you about risks, side effects and contraindications.
Unsaturated fatty acids are used as nutritional supplements and can have a positive effect on the brain and nerves.
Whom can I ask?
If you suspect that your child suffers from ADHD, contact a child psychiatrist or a pediatrician specializing in psychosomatic medicine or one of the specialized ADHD outpatient clinics. The latter then initiates further necessary examinations or therapies.
Who pays the costs?
The costs for the medical examination and treatment are normally covered by the social security agencies. For more information, see Costs and Deductibles and Prescription Fee & Co.
A full assumption of costs for psychotherapy is possible in own or contractually bound institutions of the health insurance carriers as well as in institutions that are subsidized by the public purse. In these cases, there is the option of paying a deductible. Otherwise, you have the option of applying for a subsidy from the health insurance company if you are undergoing psychotherapy with a resident psychotherapist. If this is approved, the health insurance provider will reimburse you for part of the fee paid to the psychotherapist.
You can find further information on "Psychotherapy on sickness certificate", cost subsidies and addresses of resident psychotherapists under Services.
The clinical-psychological diagnosis is a service provided by social insurance. Treatment or advice from resident clinical psychologists, on the other hand, must be paid for privately. There is no reimbursement of costs or grants from the health insurance provider. Treatments and counseling in institutions of the health or social sector or in another publicly financed area (e.g. family counseling centers) can in some cases also be used free of charge or at low cost. Information on occupational therapy can be found under occupational therapist. Moto pedagogy is to be paid for privately.