ADHD Testing and Evaluations
If you are concerned that your child may have ADHD, it is important to seek an evaluation by a qualified professional. ADHD is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Unfortunately, these symptoms are common in childhood and can be caused by a myriad of factors. ADHD is only one of the causes of these symptoms in children. Because of this, it is especially difficult to accurately diagnose ADHD in children under 4 or 5 years old. Read for more information on what is ADHD.
Many parents worry that their child will be misdiagnosed. This is a legitimate concern as the over-diagnosis of ADHD has received attention for a while now. This is precisely why it is important to seek a thorough evaluation by a professional who specializes in the diagnosis of ADHD.
The publicity of the over-diagnosis and over-medication of ADHD in the past several years has spurred quite a bit of research on ADHD evaluations. It is important for the evaluator to have expertise in child development, mental health diagnoses in general, and ADHD specifically to correctly identify the causes, and eventually, the best form of treatment for your child’s symptoms. Read for more information on ADHD treatment.
The “best practices” for ADHD testing suggests gaining a comprehensive picture by getting information from multiple sources including parents, teachers, the child, and direct observations by the professional. It is important that your evaluator not only know what these best practices are, but that they have received training in using these techniques with all ages as ADHD looks different between ages and across individuals. Read more about adult ADHD.
Conducting a thorough evaluation for ADHD involves interviewing the parent, the child’s teachers as often as possible, and the child themselves. In addition to interviews, the evaluator should use standardized rating forms for ADHD and other childhood disorders with the parents, teachers, and child when possible. Evaluators should be observing the child in both structured and unstructured activities, ideally over a period of time or across two days. Lastly, it is also recommended to use standardized computer testing to assess children’s attention, activity, and impulsivity. Without the right diagnosis, it becomes very difficult to accurately and effectively treat the symptoms that your child is experiencing.