Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
How Is Adhd Diagnosed?
There is currently no single test that can be given to diagnose ADHD. Since some biological and psychological disorders can appear similar to ADHD, these should be considered and ruled out before a diagnosis of ADHD is made. Conditions such as stress-related anxiety, depression, oppositional defiant disorder, the effects of child abuse or neglect, or obsessive compulsive disorder may look like ADHD but require different treatments.
A comprehensive evaluation is necessary to determine a diagnosis of ADHD. This includes information and observations from parents, teachers, school psychologists, and pediatricians. Parents see their children at home and in small social groups. Classroom teachers can be of assistance since they see how well children perform school work and how children interact with their peers. School psychologists can make behavioral observations in multiple settings and interview the child. Pediatricians provide needed medical information.
Completion of behavioral checklists are part of a comprehensive evaluation. The checklists rate the severity of ADHD symptoms and are completed by primary caregivers such as parents or guardians and classroom teachers. Items on the checklist include behaviors such as having no sense of fair play, temper outbursts, unpredictable behavior, and excessive demands for attention. In addition to this information, a thorough evaluation is needed of the child's current level of academic, social, and emotional functioning. This assessment is used to determine significant impairment in social relationships and academic performance. Careful consideration and review of all the information gathered is needed before the evaluation is complete.
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