Diagnosing ADHD

If you believe your child might have ADHD, it is very important to seek input from a qualified team of professionals. Do not ignore problems you see and assume that “he just needs discipline” or that “he’ll grow out of it” – because he probably won’t. The diagnosis of ADHD should be with a careful evaluation. Other learning disabilities or medical conditions, or problems at home may be a cause of the disruptive behavior.

The person who evaluates your child should be a licensed physician (usually pediatricians, family practitioners, neurologists, and psychiatrists are wise and experienced with ADHD when it may be involved) or a psychologist, social worker, or education specialist with training in ADHD and its management from parents and school personnel, observation of medical tests (if necessary), certain behavior-scales and tests of attention-related skills may all be used, depending upon the evaluator’s reference and experience.

Your child’s doctor or teacher may suggest one or preferred consultants. Local support groups such as Children & Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (A.D.D.) can offer recommendations as well. Your district is obligated by law to provide assessments as its resources allow, even if your child is not in public school. The obvious advantage of this is that it’s affordable, especially if ADHD evaluation isn’t covered under your health insurance or if you’re not insured. But, as is the case with some public services, you may have to wait several months for the work to be done.