Many parents mistakenly believe that a simple one-time test can determine whether or not their child has a form of ADHD. In reality, diagnosing ADHD is a lengthy process and one that resembles a thorough evaluation more so than a single exam. Parents may also be understandably anxious before the evaluation begins and unsure about what to expect. Below are just a few of the things you can expect from an ADHD evaluation so there are no surprises for you or your child.
A Meeting With a Medical Expert
Be prepared to meet with someone who is qualified to evaluate possible symptoms of ADHD, as well as their effects at school or in the home. This person may or may not be a medical doctor, but they will always be working closely with professionals who are able to formally diagnose disorders and prescribe solutions of various kinds. When meeting with an ADHD evaluator, you should be prepared to speak candidly about your child's strengths, as well as their struggles. The more complete the picture of your child's life, the easier it will be for the evaluator to work with you.
Documenting Medical Information
Just having a conversation about your child's medical history won't be enough for a formal evaluation and diagnosis. An ADHD evaluation will usually require you to submit as much health-related information as possible. This could mean anything from seemingly related medical issues to basic allergies, diet, and sleep patterns. Evaluators seek to understand ADHD symptoms in a more holistic way than many parents may realize, and as such, parents should be prepared to gather as much paperwork as possible about their child's medical condition.
While the ADHD evaluation process is complicated and in some ways subjective, experts still seek to evaluate potential cases of ADHD as fairly and scientifically as possible. This means that your child will likely be tested in various ways for both hyperactivity and impulsivity, in addition to inattention. The results of these tests will then likely be compared with results from other children the same age and finally placed on a rubric or rating scale to be more easily classified. Results from other tests, such as standardized testing at school, may also be requested by an ADHD evaluator. The goal is not to reduce a possible case of ADHD to a mere number but rather to bolster a parent's understanding of how their child's symptoms fit in a bigger picture.
Reach out to a local medical professional to learn more about ADHD evaluations.