You suspect ADHD; what next – ADHD Diagnosis
There is a lot of conversation about how ADHD is not a real thing, and it is all about hyperactivity, or it is just a “boy thing”. It becomes difficult for parents to recognise the signs and ask for help, but the fact is that ADHD is a neurological condition and affects children in many different ways. If you are worried about your child and suspect that they might have ADHD, you should first talk to the school counsellor, pediatrician, or school teacher. The pediatrician cannot formally five your child an ADHD diagnosis, but they can refer you to a professional, such as a child psychologist or psychiatrist if they feel that your concerns are valid.
ADHD Diagnosis – The process
When you see the professional, they may ask you:
- about your family history
- about any recent prominent event in the family, for example, a death in the family or something equally impactful
- about any recent accident your child had, for example, a head injury
- about any other significant health conditions, you or your child may have
- to explain what your worries about your child are
- when and where did you start seeing the symptoms?
- if the symptoms you observe are affecting your child’s day-to-day life, for example, if they have difficulty in following instructions or are unable to socialise
The professionals may then further ask you to observe your child for a few weeks. They may ask you to look out for certain signs and ask you to keep notes. It is a good practice to keep an eye out for repeated behaviours to convey your concerns appropriately.
As a second step, it would be good to connect to the child’s teacher, who can shed light on what’s going on at school and share similar concerns, especially for the repeated behaviours you have noticed. It will give you an overall picture of what your child is undergoing and help you explain it to the professional once you decide to visit them. Finally, the school might recommend you to talk to the school counsellor, and it is a good idea to speak to them about your concerns as they have a better understanding and knowledge.
After you go through both these steps and feel that the child’s behaviour affects their day-to-day functioning, the professional can recommend a formal assessment for your child. A formal evaluation can sometimes take up to six months or more to give you a formal ADHD diagnosis; in the meantime, you should learn some strategies that you can do at home to help your child cope with the situation.