ADHD Diagnosis Criteria
Useful informants for a doctor diagnosing a child who may have ADHD
Children are usually diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when they start school, as this is often when the symptoms become “visible.” They are suddenly exposed to a new environment and a different daily routine when they join the school. They must also follow some stipulated rules, sit still for long durations, and concentrate on a specific thing. However, children can also start to show the first signs of conspicuousness even before they start school. Some children show comparatively mild symptoms, while in other cases, there is severe impairment in performance and social functioning. Helpful informants for a doctor diagnosing a child who may have ADHD include:
- Parents/Caregivers: The child’s parents or caregivers are often the first to notice any behavioral or developmental concerns. They can provide doctors with valuable information on the child’s behavior patterns, attention span, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
- Teachers: Teachers spend a considerable amount of time with children and are in an excellent position to observe and report on their behavior in the classroom. They can provide information on the child’s academic performance, ability to focus, social interactions, and behavior in a structured environment.
- Mental Health Professionals: Mental health professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists, can provide diagnostic evaluations, including psychological testing, to help determine if a child has ADHD. They can also provide treatment recommendations and ongoing therapy for the child and family.
- Pediatricians: Pediatricians can also be helpful informants, as they are often the first healthcare provider to see the child for routine check-ups. They can provide a medical history, assess the child’s physical health, and screen for other conditions contributing to ADHD symptoms.
- Other family members: Other family members, such as grandparents or siblings, can also provide information on the child’s behavior and development over time. They can provide additional insight into the child’s behavior in different settings and with different people.
The diagnosis of ADHD, as with other mental disorders, is essentially based on behavioral observations and descriptions of the patient and their caregivers. The characteristic criteria for ADHD are used to assess whether inattention (distractibility), hyperactivity, and impulsivity are present to such a degree that ADHD is present. By consulting the informants mentioned above and considering the child’s behavior across various settings, physicians can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the child’s behavior and accurately diagnose ADHD.