What is the ADHD Prognosis for My Child?

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ADHD is a neurological condition that affects the ability of children and adults to focus, complete tasks, control impulses and manage activity levels. Once parents know their child has ADHD, they need to take advantage of every treatment that is appropriate so that the child has the best possible chance of a good prognosis.

Chronic Disorder Can Be Successfully Managed

To get a good ADHD prognosis for your child, you need to understand that while ADHD is chronic and never “goes away,” it does not have to be a lifelong struggle. If you talk to your child’s doctor and request referrals to a therapist, you are improving the chances of a good outcome. By capitalizing on more than just stimulant or non-stimulant medication, you are giving your child additional tools to handle symptoms. [1]

Treatment and Coping Skills Affect Outcome

Treatment (medication, behavioral therapy and psychotherapy) address not only the symptoms, but the methods of coping. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches the child how to look at ADHD, symptoms and behaviors in a different way. CBT also gives the child additional ways of responding to symptoms and everyday challenges.

Children who receive a full range of treatments to address ADHD are more likely to succeed in school, college, relationships and a career. [1]

Some children may not like taking medication to address the more immediate physical symptoms. If their ADHD is not severe, they can talk to their parents and doctor about the likelihood of using non-medication methods of treating their ADHD symptoms. If they do choose this route, however, they need to take other treatments seriously and apply them every day, whether they are at home, with friends, in school or the dorm room.

Non-Treatment Prognosis

The child who is not given effective treatment faces quite a different outcome. This child is more likely to face academic difficulties or failure, relationship issues with schoolmates, friends, family and romantic partners.

More ominously, these children are more likely to experiment with illicit substances in an effort to self-medicate; they are also at high risk of getting into accidents when they begin driving.

Adulthood Helps

Approximately one-half of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue experiencing symptoms of impulsivity or inattention into adulthood. Because adults with ADHD have had long practice at recognizing and controlling their symptoms and behavior, they may be better at managing their lives.

Half of all children diagnosed with ADHD appear to “outgrow” their disorder, either in adolescence or shortly after reaching adulthood. As long as the child receives an early diagnosis and intervention the outcome can be positive. A nurturing, supportive and caring environment at school and at home helps, as well. [2]

Adaptation is the Key to a Good Prognosis

One key for a good ADHD prognosis is adaptation. Children who learn to adapt possess one of the most effective coping skills.

These skills include recognizing how to accommodate ADHD in different situations. In group learning situations, the child with ADHD can be given tasks that don’t require sitting for long periods. As the child gets older, he or she should look for specific after-school jobs–those that require physical activity, for instance.

Parents who recognize skills and strengths will help their child to view their outlook positively. Children who learn not to let an ADHD diagnosis define who they are, find that a good prognosis is more likely. [3]


Children who receive an ADHD diagnosis don’t have to resign themselves to failure. If their parents recognize the value of effective treatment, stability, love and support, these children can look forward to a good prognosis.


[1] Diana Rodriguez. The ADHD Prognosis is Promising. Everyday Health. January 28, 2010, retrieved at:


[2] Prognosis for ADHD in Children. Healthy Place. January 3, 2009, retrieved at


[3] What is Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder? National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. October 25, 2010, retrieved at