New Clinical Practice Guideline for Complex ADHD in Children and Adolescents

by Robert J. Cattoi

CHADD is pleased to announce the newly released guidelines for complex ADHD in children and adolescents, as described in the executive summary and press release linked below. The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP) guidelines were written with input from former CHADD board member Eva O’Malley. As part of our mission to provide evidence-based information to parents and to all individuals affected by ADHD, CHADD worked with the SDBP by providing not only scientific information, but also the experiences of a real-world parents dealing with the myriad issues raised by complex ADHD.

In addition to addressing the specialized evaluation and multimodal treatment of ADHD in children and adolescents, this guideline further addresses the many systemic barriers to delivering optimal care for complex ADHD. This important addition further highlights the important work that CHADD does to advocate on behalf of people with ADHD and related disorders. CHADD’s public policy committee educates legislative and regulatory agencies in regard to ADHD, particularly in the educational systems, justice and civil rights, employment and healthcare. CHADD is specifically addressing the issues of primary care education, financial impact of ADHD, and the limited resources within the education system as described in this report.

The SDBP website states:

The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics has developed this practice guideline to facilitate integrated, interprofessional assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with “complex ADHD.”
“Complex ADHD” is defined as ADHD co-occurring with one or more learning, neurodevelopmental, or psychiatric disorders. Approximately 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD fit into the complex category, and these are the first guidelines to address this population in a systematic and evidence-based manner.
This guideline consists of five evidence-based key action statements that support clinicians in their assessment of ADHD, evaluation of coexisting conditions, implementation of behavioral and educational interventions, consideration of pharmacologic treatment, and recognition of ADHD as a chronic condition.
A complementary section of the guideline contains process-of-care algorithms for managing the most common conditions that coexist with ADHD, including, autism spectrum disorder, tic disorders, substance use disorders, anxiety, depression, disruptive behavior disorders; and the special consideration of preschoolers with complex ADHD.


Robert J. Cattoi is the chief executive officer of CHADD.

Read the Executive Summary.
Access the full Guideline (Journal of Behavioral & Developmental Pediatrics website).
Read the Press Release.

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