Parents often have a difficult time telling when their ADHD child is responding to his or her medications and when he or she is not.

Why? Because… many times, the treating doctor hasn’t helped them set specific goals and end-points that would allow a parent or teacher to tell when treatment has been successful.

Those of us who evaluate and treat many ADHDers refer to this as a therapy-end-point plan or simply put, a roadmap for treatment and progress. It’s sort of like my father Herbert always said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, how to you expect to figure out how to get there?”

So, what should a parent do to be sure their child is really getting better on ADHD drugs?

Before therapy is started or at your child’s next visit, ask your doctor to outline the specific behavior changes, academic changes and social changes he or she expects your child to experience while undergoing treatment. He or she should be able to give you a rough idea of when or how soon to expect the changes.

Often, these will follow what I call the 75% of the time rule: a 75% improvement in impulsivity or disrupting the classroom, a 75% decrease in hyperactivity and fidgeting, and a steady 75% improvement in academic progress with improved grades of at least one letter in a report card period or semester.

If your child meets the 75% rule at school…then the medicines are probably working well.

You will need feedback from out-of-the-home family members (i.e. grandparents, aunts, and uncles), schoolteachers, church members, and athletic coaches to gauge how she or he is doing in other settings outside of your home. It’s hard to apply the 75% rule in these circumstances, but you should be able to ask enough questions to get a good idea of how well your child is doing outside of the classroom and home!

For home related behavior-social-academic-family interrelationship assessment, I advise that both parents compare notes and then get feedback from brothers, sisters, other care-givers and anyone else who lives in the home. If the general consensus of this “family-home-group” is that your ADHD kid or teen has a 75% improvement in behavior, study habits, getting along with siblings, doing chores, caring for personal items, and interrupting others while speaking, then your child’s ADHD drugs are probably working.

Hopefully, you’ll find these tips helpful in raising your ADHD child or teen.

About the Author:

Frank Barnhill, M.D. is the author of the book “Mistaken for ADHD”, a parent’s guide to preventing misdiagnosis and mislabeling their behavior-problem child as a failure in life!

You can learn more about ADHD misdiagnosis at

You can also discover much more here ( about ADHD evaluation and treatment.