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New directions: holistic approach to managing ADHD in childhood

New directions: holistic approach to managing ADHD in childhood

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) involves a persistent pattern of behaviours – inattention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity.  It can affect a child’s ability to learn and get along with others.  Current estimates suggest it is present in 1% - 5% of the population.

What is the Marinoto West Attention & Behaviour Team (ABT)?

Value: ConnectedThe Attention and Behaviour Team is a collective of health and education professionals from multiple agencies.  The team provides interagency assessment and interventions for children 5 – 13 years where there are significant concerns about their attention and behaviour.  Marinoto West Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services coordinate the ABT pathway in the West Auckland and Rodney area.


What are we trying to achieve?

The purpose of the Attention and Behaviour Team is to support the child and family throughout the assessment and treatment process, and work together with everybody who is a part of the child’s world.


What did we find?

An evaluation of the Attention and Behaviour Team was undertaken by a reference group and results were compiled in a report dated February 2009.

The report identified areas for improvement including the need to implement recommendations developed in the Attention and Behaviour Team process across the education and health sectors. Some of the interventions recommended include parenting support, psychological education, a social skills programme, an educational plan, cultural support, and school meetings.

The Attention and Behaviour Team took up the challenge and made a number of changes to develop a holistic approach to the assessment and management of ADHD.


What have we done?

In the past 12 months, we have implemented new changes so as to provide better health care, to “go that extra mile”, always conscious that we are treating "the person" and not the "illness". 

1.   ADHD Parent & Children Group – focus on psychological education and behavioural management

The Parent Group helps the family / whanau understand their child’s behaviour, learn strategies to manage challenging behaviours associated with ADHD, and gives them knowledge and skills so that they can make an informed decision around treatment options.

In the Children’s Group, the child learns about ADHD and gains insight into individual behaviour, their strengths, and develops new skills to better manage their own behaviour.

In the past 12 months, 32 parents and 23 children have participated in these groups.


2.  Clinical Assessment

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists, Paediatricians, Clinical Psychologists, and Occupational Therapists provide clinical assessments to ensure that the physical well being of the child is met and that support is provided for the family.  Services offered include health checks, home visits, public health intervention.


3.  Interagency Meetings

Interagency meetings are held every fortnight. Representatives from all the different services that interact with the child and family meet to discuss new referrals, assessments outcomes and recommendations.

This also includes school meetings where everyone who is working with the child and family / whanau meet to discuss the assessment outcome and recommendations.


4.  Psychometric Assessments

Psychometric assessments provide a holistic approach to the assessment process and help identify areas of difficulties and strengths.


5.  Cultural Support

Working in close partnership with Whitiki Maurea (Maori Mental Health) and Malaga a le Pasifika (Pacific Mental Health), we provide support for the child, family and clinicians during the assessment and intervention process.


6.  Resource Teachers

Resource teachers for learning and behaviour coordinate interventions for the child in school.  This provides support and advice to the Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCO) of the child’s school.  The Ministry of Education provide educational assessment, and on-going case management and support.

New Directions


Overall winner for poster and winner in "Excellence in consumer engagement" category for Waitemata Health Excellence Awards 2012