A Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Agency



Posted by on October 22, 2011 at 12:20 AM


Your pediatrician will determine if your child has ADHD using standard guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Connors or Vanderbilt rating scales are often used to screen for certain behavior patterns. For example, the child’s teacher may note difficulty staying seated and excessive talking in the classroom, while the parents may note inability to complete tasks or disorganization at home. The process involves gathering a lot of information from multiple sources. ADHD is a clinical diagnosis; there are no lab tests or imaging studies to determine whether a child has ADHD. To confirm a diagnosis of ADHD, symptoms:

-Occur in more than one setting, such as home, school, and social situations and cause some impairment

-Significantly impair your child’s ability to function in some of the activities of daily life, such as schoolwork, relationships with family members and friends or in their ability to function in groups such as sports teams

-Have continued for more than 6 months

Often ADHD is detected around age 5-6 years; however, mild forms of the condition (especially in girls) may not be noticed until the early teen years. It is difficult to diagnose ADHD in children younger than 4 years because of rapid changes in their development. Your pediatrician will do a thorough medical history and physical examination. He will screen for other conditions that may affect the child’s behavior and mimic ADHD:

-Intellectual disability (mental retardation)

-Developmental disorder such as speech problems, motor problems, or a learning disability

-Chronic illness being treated with a medication that may interfere with learning

-Trouble seeing and/or hearing

-History of physical/sexual/or emotional abuse

-Major anxiety or depression

-Severe aggression (mood disorder)

-Possible seizure disorder

-Possible sleep disorder

Referral to a subspecialist may be needed for the above conditions. For an accurate diagnosis, the pediatrician will need information from the school to assess the child’s behavior in the classroom; his learning patterns; how long the symptoms have been a problem; how the symptoms are affecting the child’s progress at school; ways the classroom program is being adapted to help the child; and whether other conditions (being bullied, etc.) may be affecting the symptoms. In addition, the pediatrician may want to see report cards, standardized tests, and samples of your child’s schoolwork. Other caregivers (grandparents, etc.), former teachers, religious and scout leaders, or coaches may also have valuable input.

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