Diagnosing ADHD

By Dr Tommy TranGeneral28 Aug 2015

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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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