If you suspect your child might have ADHD, it is important to see a doctor or clinician who can help you determine a proper diagnosis. Although there is no singular test for ADHD, a battery of tests, interviews and questionnaires can be administered to determine whether or not your child has ADHD. Proper diagnosis is extremely important so the right care program can be put in place in order to help your child manage his or her symptoms in the most effective manner possible.
One of the most common ADHD assessments is an interview. Your child’s doctor will ask questions about his or her behavior, mood, productivity and habits at home and at school, including situations in which you notice potential ADHD symptoms. The doctor may examine school records to determine if your child’s academic, social and emotional functioning is at the appropriate developmental level. The doctor will also ask for a brief family health and behavior history in order to determine if ADHD is present in other family members. The interview data will then be compared to the criteria for diagnosis of ADHD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V).
Next, your child’s doctor will conduct a general physical examination. Hearing and vision will be checked. Blood tests will look for the presence of lead and other irregularities such as thyroid disease. The doctor may request an MRI or CT scan to look for any brain abnormalities, and will often examine the brain’s electrical activity using an encephalograph. As far as ADHD assessments go, these physical examinations are less about determining if your child has ADHD and more about ruling out other potential causes of your child’s behavior, such as mental retardation or a learning disability.
Another popular group of ADHD assessments involves behavior scales and forms administered by your child’s doctor, school psychologist or other trained clinicians. The Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC-2) screens for conduct issues, hyperactivity, attention problems, learning difficulties, aggression and other symptoms generally associated with ADHD. Another popular tool, the Connors-3, screens for the same issues as the BASC-2, but also examines peer and family relations as well as the presence of co-morbid disorders such as Oppositional-Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder. Your child might also be observed in the classroom by a school psychologist or another trained clinician who can provide unbiased data about your child’s academic functioning.
ADHD is a highly common childhood disorder, but determining if your child has ADHD can cause a lot of stress for your child and for you as well. However, data from a battery of assessments such as those discussed above can help detect and diagnose the disorder. ADHD is highly treatable and your child can lead a very normal life with a lot of success at school. For more information about ADHD and treatments for ADHD, visit https://learningbreakthrough.com/specific-challenges/drug-free-add/adhd-alternative-treatment.