To accurately diagnose ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can be difficult, as the disorder affects children in many different ways. Therefore there is no single test to diagnose ADHD, also referred to as attention deficit disorder (ADD). ADHD is only diagnosed by a doctor after a child has shown several or close to all of the symptoms of the behavior disorder on a regular basis for more than six months.
Pediatricians and child psychologists can accurately diagnose your child with ADHD by utilizing the standard guidelines set in place by the American Academy of Pediatrics. However, the diagnosis involves the gathering of information across several different settings. Therefore, the doctor will have to seek information from your child's teachers, caregivers and you. When diagnosing ADHD or ADD, a doctor will look at your child's symptoms and compare them to several factors.
In order to properly diagnose ADHD a doctor will perform a physical exam and discuss your child's past medical history with you. This examination allows for the screening of other conditions that could be causing the change in your child's behavior. When diagnosing ADD or ADHD, your doctor will also test for certain conditions that are likely to cause similar symptoms, including:
If you know what to expect when your child is being tested for ADHD or ADD, it will make the process that much easier for all parties involved. Remember to remain calm and to comfort your child; overreacting in the situation is likely to increase the symptoms your child is experiencing. Also, be patient, as the process of diagnosing ADHD can take a while. Your child's doctor will want to explore all possible avenues in order to give the correct diagnosis.