How to Test for ADHD

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Testing for ADHD can be a lengthy and complicated process, because it is not a simple matter of reporting symptoms. Learn about the importance of biological, cognitive and social and environmental factors with help from a child and family psychologist in this free video on testing for ADHD.

Part of the Video Series: ADHD Treatments
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Laura Grashow, a Licensed Psychologist with DrGrashaw.com. Please remember that advice from this video is not intended to replace actual psychotherapy. Okay, so now let's talk about how to test a child for ADHD. From my point-of-view and in my experience, this is, it can be a lengthy process and it's a complicated process. It's not just a matter of, you know, reporting some symptoms and filling out a questionnaire. Again, from my point-of-view this testing is best done by a child psychologist. We are usually the best qualified to do this. You have to take into account a number of factors such as biological factors, cognitive factors and then social and environmental factors. When I see a child in my office presenting with the symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity, high activity levels and inattention, I need to spend some time with the child. I also need to spend some time interviewing the parents and getting to really know the family a little bit. What I want to find out is did these symptoms appear before age seven? Have they been present for at least six months and are they present across settings? And the other thing that you really want to take note of is, are the symptoms much greater? Are these behaviors much greater than you would see in a typical population? And, if you are talking about, for example, a young child, you know, maybe a preschooler or a kindergartener who is a boy you think about this population, they are very active. So when you are diagnosing a child in this category, a boy you know, who is relatively young with ADHD, if you are looking at inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity, they have got to be beyond what you see in young boys. Testing a child is again, it's a lengthy process. It involves doing tests of cognitive functioning, looking at some tests of neuropsychological functioning especially those having to do with memory, interviewing the family, talking to teachers and parents and then you've really got to put it all together in a comprehensive report, and you should be able to make a proper diagnosis that way.

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