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Behavior & Sensory Support

What you need to know

Children with PKU may have behaviors similar to children with ADHD. Some cognitive difficulties may be a function of ADHD, executive function challenges, processing speed, and/or neuroanatomical abnormalities. Individuals with increased PHE levels have increased ADHD, are more clumsy, more talkative and more hypersensitive than peers.

Social difficulties and emotional problems may be present. In treated individuals, psychiatric problems are increased compared to siblings or children with other chronic problems. Adolescents often have less independence and lower self-esteem. They may have increased frustration and be less achievement orientated.

They often try to enhance their independence by not following their diet.

What you can do

  • Monitor for signs of ADHD and talk to the parents if signs are observed. Some children will need ADHD medication; determining which medication works best is the same as for all children.
  • Monitor need for supportive interventions like OT, counseling, or behavioral supports.
  • Support their independence while supporting their need to follow their diet.
  • Follow a consistent break schedule.