Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems Clinic

The Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP) Clinic is a clinical and research program devoted to promoting mental health in youth from preschool to college age. We specialize in identifying and treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other disruptive behavior problems (DBDs), including oppositional and conduct problems. We also evaluate learning and emotional problems that often accompany these concerns.

Children referred to HALP typically have problems at school (e.g. not working up to potential, difficulty completing and turning in assigned work, or trouble following rules and directions consistently). Common problems at home include not completing routine daily activities (homework and chores) regularly and independently. Some children referred to HALP have problems with defiant behavior. Others are primarily disorganized and inattentive. Many have low self-esteem. Often, these children have trouble making or keeping good quality friendships. These problems affect millions of children in the United States.

HALP’s mission includes three goals:

  • Service: To make “evidenced-based” clinical services (diagnosis and treatment), factual information, and consultation available to families and community agencies in Northern California.
  • Research: To discover new knowledge about the possible causes and best ways to treat ADHD and other DBDs.
  • Clinical Education: To train mental health practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and other DBDs.


Comprehensive evaluation

HALP offers a complete diagnostic workup that covers major problems and disorders that can affect a child’s ability to do well at school or home. A team of mental health professionals meets for a full day with the family to gather all the information needed for a thorough evaluation, including medical screening, diagnostic interviewing, psychological and neuropsychological testing, and extensive information about the child’s functioning at home and in the classroom. Since information from the teacher is critical, we recommend scheduling diagnostic evaluations during the school year.

Superparenting 101

A course to help parents learn techniques to help children with behavior, learning, or emotional problems. The approach combines traditional parent training with specialized therapeutic skills training. We often teach parent and child courses at the same times. When this happens, the parent course covers everything taught in the child course. This lets us adapt the same language and rewards used in the child course to the home setting so that progress can be maintained at home after the courses are completed.

Social and life skills training

A fun course that helps children learn skills and tips on making and keeping friends, handling disappointments, and getting along better with family and friends. The course also includes strategies for children to get better organized and takeresponsibility for the daily tasks, like getting ready for the day, being on time, managing homework assignments, and establishing good habits and routines. The course combines learning new skills with lots of repeated practice and teaches ways to put new skills to work in everyday life. The parents attend their own course at the same time to learn strategies for supporting their children’s use of these skills at home.

School consultations

HALP clinicians can visit a child’s school as needed for several purposes, including classroom observation, IEP staffings, teacher training, or to design a behavioral program with the child’s teacher to help with academic productivity. We can provide technical advice on educational accommodations when these are appropriate under IDEA or Section 504. We frequently set up daily school-home report cards as a means of teaming up parents and teachers to support a student’s learning and behavior.


The HALP Clinic’s philosophy on medication is to provide the most factual information possible to parents, and then to allow the family to decide what is best in their individual case. We provide information about what medications do and don’t do, including all potential benefits and risks. For families who want to try medication, we refer to our Medication Management Clinic. For children with more complicated medication needs, we provide further care in our Assessment Clinic.


For an appointment, please call our intake and referral service at (415) 476-7000.