Where should a family go for support for a child with Noonan Syndrome and ADHD who hadn’t had success going to CAMHS and a psychologist whose only suggestion was medication such as Ritalin which their cardiologist said her daughter couldn’t have with her heart defect.

Obviously the specific answer depended on the specific cardiac manifestations that the child has. As a general rule it is true that medication like Ritalin can affect the heart – it can speed it up and it can sometimes cause abnormal heart rhythm. But one view is that it is a balance between how much the symptoms of ADHD are affecting the individual’s quality of life balanced against the possible risk of an abnormal heart rhythm with the medication. What normally happens is that if medication is considered the right treatment for the ADHD, the treatment is started with very close cardiac monitoring – ECG and perhaps 24 hour tape – and in the majority of cases there aren’t complications. Of course it depends on the specific condition and it’s vital to know what the specific heart condition is but ADHD plus Noonan Syndrome should be a caution not a contra-indication when it came to medication.
In terms of support, the family were going down the best route in that they had a psychologist involved and CAMHS but it was also important to get everyone to communicate well with each other which was a real key with behavioural issues. It isn’t easy but is the best approach.