The criteria and symptoms for the diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD as it is more commonly called has been established by the APA (American Psychiatric Association) and have divided the criteria based on their major symptoms into 3 groups. These are the predominantly hyperactive-impulsive type, the predominantly inattentive type, and the combined type.
There is also a classification known as “adhd not otherwise specified” where the symptoms of hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsiveness are present but cannot be classified into any of the three ADHD types listed above. These criteria are used as an initial ADHD test in order for the practitioner (child psychologist or physician) to determine if the child has developed the disorder.
Diagnosing the disorder
There is specific information that the child psychologist or physician will gather and use to diagnose the condition including:
o an ADHD behavior rating scale of some type or checklist used by the parents and teacher of the child to evaluate the apparent symptoms
o interviewing the child
o medical history of the child including such aspects as their behavioral, educational, emotional, and social history to date
o physical examination
In many cases, it is difficult to determine if the child’s behavioral issues have been caused by ADHD, a combination of it with another behavioral or mental disorder, or other issues that have exhibited similar symptoms.
An ADHD test that involves both verbal and written tests for similar disorders is oftentimes used to assist in the diagnosis of the condition. It is important to remember that children suffering with ADHD usually have difficulty learning to do mathematics problems, read and write. Teachers develop the best educational plans possible for children with ADHD by testing them for any learning disabilities that may exist.
Other testing used in conjunction with the ADHD test
In most cases, practitioners will conduct other tests in conjunction with the ADHD test to uncover any medical conditions that may exist and which might explain certain symptoms that the child is having. These include:
o anemia or low red blood cell count
o exposure to lead
o hearing and vision tests
o thyroid disease
During the ADHD test, there are certain questions that are asked and hopefully answered in the process of evaluation. Are learning disabilities involved? Could the behavior problems be caused by something other than ADHD? Could the cause be some other medical or psychological condition? Has the problem been exacerbated by any environmental or situational factors?
The benefit of asking and answering questions is that it enables both the practitioner and you to learn more about what is actually happening to cause the problematic behaviors at hand. Once ADHD has been diagnosed, you should compile a list of additional questions to ask that relate to such areas as family and professional support, options for treatment, and parental education. All of these are necessary once the ADHD test has uncovered the existence of the condition. However, it is best to provide support to the child at every stage.