Diagnosing ADHD

By Dr Tommy TranGeneral28 Aug 2015


It seems that there are more and more children being diagnosed with ADHD. On average one or two children in each classroom will meet clinical criteria for ADHD. A common question we get asked by parents is “how do you diagnose a child with ADHD?”

Unfortunately, there is no simple blood test, EEG or MRI that can be performed to make a diagnosis. A diagnosis relies on taking a good history and obtaining collateral information from the school and other allied health professionals.

For this reason, our Paediatricians generally do not make a diagnosis on the first consultation as we will often need to gather more information.

Our Paediatricians will often consider the following information:

  • Parental reports
  • Teacher reports
  • Child reports – particularly adolescents
  • Standardised questionnaires (Conners/Vanderbilt)
  • Results of cognitive testing
  • Considering other conditions such as anxiety, learning difficulties, trauma etc.
  • Reports from allied health professionals

In order to make a diagnosis of ADHD, the presentation must meet the DSM-V criteria which can be found here.

Only after careful consideration of all the above information will your paediatrician decide whether your child’s symptoms are best explained by a diagnosis of ADHD.


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