A doctor relies on a combination of exams, tests, and other information to diagnose attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The doctor will look at guidelines created by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The diagnosis will be based on:
- An interview with the child.
- Medical history. The doctor will ask about the child's social, emotional, educational, and behavioral history.
- A physical exam.
- Behavior rating scales or checklists for ADHD. These are used by parents and teachers to evaluate the child's symptoms.
Before meeting with your doctor, think about at what age your child's symptoms began. You and other caregivers should record when the behavior occurs and how long it lasts. An important part of evaluation for ADHD is thinking about the kinds of problems caused by the behaviors. How much do they affect schooling and social behavior?
Tests for related problems
For example, children with ADHD may have a hard time learning to read, write, or do math problems. Testing for these learning disabilities will help teachers form the best plan for a child with these problems.
If you are concerned about how your child's temperament, learning skills, and behavior are developing, talk with your doctor during your next visit.