According to new research, children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) who don’t have access to in-person care can receive supervision via videoconferencing.
It’s not easy to find local ADHD specialists if you live outside of a major metropolitan area. However, new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry helps us look at this problem from a new perspective.
Now parents can look beyond their geographic region for psychiatrists, therapists, and behavior-therapy consultants who offer their services via videoconference.
According to the new Children’s ADHD Telemental Health Treatment Study (CATTS), one of the most successful ways to improve ADHD symptoms in kids is to use new telehealth programs, such as therapy sessions delivered through real-time videoconferencing.
Such ADHD symptoms as inattention, hyperactivity, and defiant behaviour decreased more significantly in children who worked with remote psychiatrists (in addition to local primary care physicians) than in children who saw only a primary care physician.
223 children referred by 88 primary care providers participated in the CATTS. The children were studied for 22 weeks. During this time, each child was receiving treatment by a primary care physician, either combined with an extended telehealth program or not.
The extended program included six pharmacotherapy sessions via videoconferencing, and caregiver behaviour training for parents by community therapists who were supervised remotely.
Both groups showed improvement in symptoms. Still, when the results of the assessments were compared between groups, it became obvious that the improvement in children receiving extended telehealth services was much more significant.
First of all these results mean that telehealth services can be used to treat children with ADHD in communities with limited or no access to specialty mental health services. However, the scientists hope that this will lead to more investigation of mental health treatment in videoconference that make health care available to all children, wherever they are.