Hope, resiliency and success: AD/HD interventions for a lifetime

Hope, resiliency and success: AD/HD interventions for a lifetime

Review of CHADD’s 17th Annual International Conference on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, October 27-29, 2005. Dallas, Texas, USA

Armando Filomeno, M.D.

The title of this year’s conference shows an emphasis on finding out what makes the prognosis of this disorder good and what can be done towards that goal.

More than one thousand persons attended this year’s conference, many of them from foreign countries —beeing as usual quite diverse—:mostly ADHD persons’ parents and professionals from the many areas that deal with this disorder. This review, by necessity, will be limited to the activities in which  Beatriz Duda —APDA’s president— and myself participated.

Among the Special Training for Professionals’ sessions on Wednesday  26,  there was a workshop on Skills for coaching adults with AD/HD, held by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett and Sandy Maynard, which dealt with how to motivate adults with this disorder, for coaching to be effective. There were also interesting half-day conferences  on Neuropsychological research and clinical best practices in the assessment of AD/HD and on  Advanced treatment of AD/HD —both of them across the lifespan—, given by CHADD President Anne Teeter Ellison, Margaret Semrud-Clikeman and Sam Goldstein.

In the half-day Pre-conference Institutes —in the morning of Thursday 27—, Arthur Robin gave an excellent lecture on Helping adults with AD/HD succeed  in marriage and parenting; he talked about the day-to-day problems in families with one or more AD/HD members, and what strategies are useful for success. Stephen Pliszka gave a well balanced view of AD/HD and comorbid disorders: diagnosis and treatment.

On Thursday afternoon the Iberoamerican Forum was held. Orlando Villegas lectured on Opositional defiant disorder and Conduct disorder. I presented the results of a study on AD/HD teaching in medical school in Peru (www.deficitdeatencionperu.org/estudioperu.htm). María Teresa Hill —the reelected president of the Forum— and Gabriela Delgado Paulsen presented the project of a suvey on how much teachers in Iberoamerica know about AD/HD; the study will produce a guide for teachers.

The opening keynote address —with massive attendance— was on Thurday evening on The bully, the bullied and the bystander, given by Barbara Coloroso, a well-known lecturer and author of books on education.

In the morning of Friday 28 —in the main conference room— James Swanson lectured on the molecular aspects of AD/HD; among other aspects, he talked about a seven repeat mutation of the D4 dopamine receptor, which is present in many people with AD/HD and seems to confer an evolutionary advantge. Among other lecturers, he made fun of Tom Cruise, who is well known for his ridiculous comments on Ritalin, AD/HD and related issues.
On Friday afternoon, Glen Elliott handled in a very neat way the drug treatment for the core symptoms of AD/HD.  Sam Goldstein —despite not having technical equipment for this lecture— presented a good review on what can be done to encourage resiliency, the master key for success for those who have AD/HD (resilience, a concept borrowed from Physics, is the ability to overcome adversity).

In the evening, the Networking sessions by track (Interest group) were held; we attended the Spanish language and culture/International, facilitated by José Bauermeister, which had a remarkable attendance —mostly by iberoamericans— where common interest subjets for our countries were discussed. Concern was expressed about the declarations by fake experts who question the scientific facts on the diagnosis and treatmento of AD/HD and hereby uselessly confuse and alarm people who are not well informed.

In the morning of Saturday 29 —in the main conference room— Sam Goldstein, a remarkable lecturer, presented testimonies of people who have succeeded through resilience; he also mentioned that beside them, many failed to do so. In the Research symposium, Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp announced the National Children’s Study —in which AD/HD will also be studied— with the participation of 100,000 pregnat women and children, which will be followed-up  until age 21 years,  whose preliminary results will be known in the years 2010-2011; the cost of the study will be 2.7 billion dollars of federal funds. The morinig research session concluded with Regina Bussing’s study which showed that women and ethnic minorities have fewer chances of having a correct diagnosis and treatment for their AD/HD.

On Saturday afternoon, Thomas Brown lectured —with his well-known ability— on the Dilemmas in the treatment of complicated cases of AD/HD, and Chris Zeigler Dendy handled, with great efficiency, Developing an educational plan to address executive function deficits.

CHADD’s 18th Annual International Conference on AD/HD State of the Art: Science and Research in Practice was annouced, which will be held on October 25-28, 2006, in Chicago. U.S.A.

CHADD’s conferences, besides offering up-to-date knowledge, make possible to meet people from all over the world  —especially from Iberoamerica in our case—, with affinity and comon interests. We were pleased to meet Isabel Rubió, president of ADANA,  and to see again Ernestina Pergolini, president of Fundación TDAH from Argentina, Doris Ryffel, and Norma Echavarría; we are thankful to the latter for the article of AD/HD in women, which she has sent us for our December newsletter. We were sorry that Michael Finkel and Rubén Scandar could not attend the conference.

Link to a review of CHADD’s 2004 conference (in Spanish).

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Dr. Filomeno is founding advisor neurologilst to the Peruvian Association for Attention Deficit (APDA).
The original Spanish text ot this review may be read in this link.

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