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How is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Diagnosed?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)is usually identified and diagnosed by a team of medical professionals. A diagnosis will be made by a doctor, child psychiatrist or paediatrician.

When assessing a child for ADHD, several types of information will need to be collected, including:

  • History of symptoms
    • Nature of problems
    • When the problems started
    • The setting in which problems occur
    • Factors that increase or decrease symptoms
  • Medical history
    • Risk factors during pregnancy
    • Medical conditions known to be associated with ADHD:
      • Fragile X Syndrome
      • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
      • G6PD Deficiency
      • Phenylketonuria
    • Operations, accidents and chronic medical conditions such as:
      • Asthma
      • Epilepsy
      • Heart, liver and kidney disorders
  • Past psychiatric history
    • Any mental health problems
  • Educational history
    • Ability level
    • Specific difficulties experienced
    • Functioning with peers
    • Difficulties with behaviour
  • Family history
    • Mental and physical health of the child's parent
  • Social assessment
    • Housing, poverty and social support can impact children's behaviour
  • Evaluation of the child's personality and temperament

For a full diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the child must have six or more symptoms of inattentiveness, or six or more symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity.

Symptoms of inattentiveness include:

  • Short attention span
  • Easily distracted
  • Carless mistakes
  • Forgetful
  • Difficulty listening and completing instructions
  • Poor organisational skills
  • Difficulty concentrating

Symptoms of hyperactivity include:

  • Fidgeting constantly
  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Excessive movements
  • Excessive talking

Symptoms of impulsiveness include:

  • Interrupting others
  • Acts without thinking consequences through
  • Rule breaking
  • Difficulty waiting for their own turn
  • Little sense of danger and safety

As well as the above symptoms, to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the child must also have:

  • Experiencing symptoms before the age of seven
  • Experiencing symptoms continuously for a minimum of six months
  • Experiencing symptoms in at least two different settings e.g. home and school
  • Symptoms which cannot be accounted for by another condition
  • Symptoms that make the child's live considerably more difficult whether it is on an academic, social or occupational level.

If you would like to arrange an assessment with one of our therapists please contact us by emailing or calling 03300 886 693.

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