There is no single test to diagnose ADHD, instead, determining whether a child or adolescent has this disorder takes many steps. Because the symptoms of ADHD can be caused by many other factors, a comprehensive evaluation is necessary to establish the diagnosis of ADHD and to rule out other causes for problematic behavior as well as determine the absence or presence of coexisting conditions.
When academic concerns are present, at any level, we believe that it is important to first rule out any processing or learning issues as the cause and determine exactly where the student is functioning and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. Our evaluations begin with a comprehensive evaluation of the student as well as data collection from both parents and teachers.
It is also important to understand that in order for ADHD to be diagnosed, certain criteria must be met. To be diagnosed with ADHD, individuals must have six of the nine characteristics in either or both DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) categories listed below.
In children and teenagers, the symptoms must be more frequent or severe compared to other children the same age. In adults, the symptoms must affect the ability to function in daily life and persist from childhood.
In addition, the behaviors must create significant difficulty in at least two areas of life, such as home, social settings, school, or work. Symptoms must be present for at least six months.
Criteria for the three primary subtypes are:
ADHD – Predominantly Inattentive Type
Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
Has difficulty sustaining attention.
Does not appear to listen.
Struggles to follow through on instructions.
Has difficulty with organization.
Avoids or dislikes tasks requiring sustained mental effort.
Is easily distracted.
Is forgetful in daily activities.
ADHD – Predominantly Hyperactive/Impulsive Type
Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in chair.
Has difficulty remaining seated.
Runs about or climbs excessively.
Difficulty engaging in activities quietly.
Acts as if driven by a motor.
Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
Difficulty waiting or taking turns.
Interrupts or intrudes upon others.
ADHD – Combined Type
Individual meets both sets of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive criteria.
Diagnostic Learning Services offers specific evaluations to assess for ADHD. In addition, we will use the assessment information to makes relevant recommendations for both school and home. Call today for more information about how we assess and diagnose ADHD.
Diagnostic Learning Services has been assessing children and adults since 2004. We have locations in DFW, Houston, The Woodlands, and Austin. Call today to see how we can help!