Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Managing Attention Deficit Disorder

Question: My 11 year old son takes medication for his ADHD. Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage this medication or is it better suited to the psychiatrist who first diagnosed his condition?

Answer: The answer to your question is yes to both parts. A pediatrician can both prescribe and manage Attention Deficit Disorder with or without hyperactivity. Many times, a pediatrician will detect there might be a problem when parents voice concerns about their child's school performance. Specific areas of concern include the inability to focus on schoolwork, poor attention span, easy distractibility and most of all the parents frustration on how to deal with the situation.

The pediatrician may order psychometric testing (full battery of tests) to be done at the child's school or privately through a psychologist or psychiatrist. Once testing is complete and a diagnosis and recommendation is decided upon, the pediatrician may prescribe medication, if this is in the best interest of the child.

The pediatrician would be in a good position to monitor progress of treatment as well as the child's physical status (some medications affect appetite and growth). If there is a personal preference to having one or the other or both, that would also be fine. The important thing is communication. It's important to have continuity of care with everyone involved. This includes the child, family, teachers and all professionals involved.

Also see:

  • My 12 year old daughter experiences difficulty sleeping due to fear of the dark and being alone. Is this normal for her age?
  • I recently took my seven year old daughter for her physical. The doctor informed me that she is about 10 pounds over the curve for her weight and age. Do you have any advice?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.