ADHD is a disorder commonly characterized by a lack of attention and inability to control movement. Parents can work with their pediatrician to arrive at a definitive ADHD diagnosis, but the process is time consuming and detailed. Children must exhibit symptoms of ADHD for more than six months. In order for a child to be tested, parents must work with a pediatrician to journal activities. According to WebMD, after six months or more of journaling, certain pre-criteria must be met before a child is tested for ADHD. During the six month time, children need to have experienced at least six ADHD specific symptoms in two unique settings.
What are the Symptoms of ADHD?
The most common symptoms of ADHD include being in constant motion, fidgeting, excessive talking and inability to complete tasks. These symptoms must be a part of the six month journaling process because life changes can also create unique emotional responses. Some of the life changes like moving, parental difficulties, divorce, or changing schools can cause the ADHD-like symptoms.
How is ADHD Diagnosed?
Parents need to work hand-in-hand with the pediatrician, teachers, baby sitters and caregivers during the journaling process. If the journal meets ADHD diagnosis guidelines, pediatricians will use guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatricians to evaluate the child for diagnosis. These guidelines are established for children between the ages of 6 and 12. Children under the age of 6 can be diagnosed, but the process is much more difficult.
ADHD requires strong medications, in some cases, to relieve symptoms. For this reason, pediatricians may ask to speak with teachers, school counselors or other caregivers about the expressed symptoms and severity of those symptoms. Detailed analysis is needed to rule out situational mood changes verses a constant battle with ADHD symptoms. If a child shows no signs of ADHD outside the home, other diagnoses may be suggested.
Parents should feel free to talk with all caregivers before approaching a pediatrician for ADHD testing. Typically, children will exhibit ADHD symptoms in all settings. If symptoms are only present in the home or some specific location, there could be cause other than ADHD. Parents should ask to have children tested for ADHD when all preliminary information is gathered and a firm baseline of ADHD symptoms is established.
“ADHD/ADD In Children.”WebMD – Better Information. Better Health. Web. 23 Aug 2010.