ADHD, which stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a common mental health condition that affects millions of children in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 6 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Research also shows that boys are more likely to be diagnosed than girls.
ADHD testing is a way for doctors to identify children, or indeed adults, with ADHD. There is no single test is used to diagnose this condition, rather a combination of written tests and interviews are used to identify behaviors that are symptoms of ADHD.
In this blog post, we will take a close look at ADHD testing. This includes highlighting what it is, what a person might need testing, what to expect, how the results are determined, and more. Let’s get started.
1. What Is ADHD Testing?
As we have highlighted, no single test exists that doctors use to diagnose ADHD in a patient. Instead, there are several steps involved when making a diagnosis of ADHD. The specific tests used will depend on the age of the person, which means that a very young child may have different tests compared to an older teenager.
One such test is an ADHD rating scale, which usually involves questionnaires or checklists that measure ADHD symptoms. Depending on the age of the child, either they or their parent can answer these questions. Some of these different scales that doctors use when testing children include:
- Child Behavior Checklist
- Behavior Assessment System for Children
- Conners Rating Scales
- Vanderbilt Assessment Scale
Depending on the specific scale, these tests may consist of just a handful of questions or more than 100.
2. When Is ADHD Testing Necessary?
If you are wondering if you should test your child for ADHD, there are a number of relevant symptoms that you should be mindful of. Depending on the type of ADHD that a child has, these symptoms can vary. For example, a child may demonstrate symptoms of inattention, including the inability to focus, being easily distracted, poor organizational skills, and a short attention span.
They may also display symptoms of impulsivity, which may include risk-taking, interrupting others, and constant talking. Another common symptom is hyperactivity, which includes continuously moving, inability to complete tasks, forgetfulness, and fidgeting or squirming.
Note that if a child does have these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that they have ADHD. It is important, though, that they should undergo testing to determine if they do, as they are then able to seek suitable treatment as needed.
3. What Does the ADHD Testing Process Involve?
We have highlighted above some of the different questionnaires or checklists that are often involved in ADHD screening. As we have also noted above, there is no single test.
In the case of ADHD testing, for example, a doctor may initially start by performing a physical examination. This includes tests for hearing and vision, so as to rule out medical causes of any symptoms. Following this, a doctor may use a combination of different tests to test for ADHD.
In the case of a child, a doctor may seek input from different people with whom the child is close. These include babysitters, teachers, and family members, allowing them to form a better understanding of their attitudes and behavior. This may take the form of sit-down interviews or questionnaires.
Psychological testing is also common when screening for ADHD and is used to measure a person’s level of intelligence and how they think about situations. In the case of testing for ADHD in a child, these tests are appropriate for the age of the child. In addition, behavioral tests are used to compare a child’s behavior to other children within a similar age group.
4. How to Understand the Results of ADHD Testing
The results of the above-mentioned ADHD tests are then used to make an ADHD diagnosis. There are 3 main presentations of ADHD that a person may be diagnosed with. They are:
- Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Presentation
- Predominantly Inattentive
- Combined Presentation
It is important to note that the type of ADHD presentation a child is diagnosed with can change, given that symptoms can evolve over time. For example, impulsivity and hyperactivity are often more pronounced in young children, while other children often tend to display more difficulty with attention.
ADHD testing allows individuals to receive appropriate treatment. The specific type of treatment that a child receives depends on their age. Treatment often includes behavioral therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
The good news is that many children outgrow their symptoms of ADHD. This is not always the case, and ADHD can affect an individual into adulthood. With proper ADHD testing, parents and the children themselves are able to better understand their symptoms and receive effective treatment.
Things All Parents Should Know About ADHD Testing
As we have highlighted, ADHD is a mental health condition that causes unusual levels of impulsive behaviors and hyperactivity. People with ADHD may also display difficulty with focusing their attention on a single task or sitting still for prolonged periods of time.
ADHD testing is an effective way to understand whether or not an individual has ADHD and what treatment options would be effective. There is no single process when it comes to testing for ADHD, and a doctor typically uses a number of different steps.
If you are interested in learning more about ADHD testing, then don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Developmental Pediatrics in Texas. Click here to contact us.