The best ADHD screening will involve checklists, including the child behavior checklist, interviews and specialized behavior rating scales, such as the Conners Rating Scale - Revised.
Thorough screening is especially important when gathering attention deficit hyperactivity disorder information to determine a diagnosis because there are many other conditions that have similar symptoms. You want to be sure before going ahead with any type of ADHD treatments, such as medication.
How is ADHD diagnosed? This can vary depending on the individual conducting the evaluation, but in general after the screening a child must meet the criteria as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals for Mental Disorders- Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). These symptoms include impulsive behavior, selective attention, excessive talking, and evidence of a child behavior problem.
These are some of the tools and methods used during an ADHD screening:
• Interviews with parents, other family members, teachers, and caregivers that know the individual going through the screening.
• Checklists, such as the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist. This checklist allows parents and others that know the child to participate in the screening by rating specific problem behaviors, social challenges, competencies and emotional functioning. Standardized scores are used to determine if there are clinically significant problems.
• ADHD test – During the screening, there may also be computerized tests that assess the child’s ability to pay attention.
• Behavior rating scales, such as the Conners Rating Scale - Revised, which is used for a routine screening in schools, mental health clinics, residential treatment centers, pediatric offices, juvenile detention facilities, child protective agencies, and outpatient settings. The test helps to:
- Measure hyperactivity in children and adolescents
- Give a perspective of the child’s behavior from those who interact with the child on a daily basis
- Establish a baseline of symptoms prior to starting any therapy and monitor treatment effectiveness with changes over time.
This particular ADHD Screening Checklist provides a criteria for physicians to use that indicate whether the child has signs of ADHD and needs further evaluation or testing. It may also be a great tool for parents to determine whether they should consult a physician about their child's symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is not any type of medical screening, such as blood tests that would indicate ADHD definitively. This is why it's so important for parents to thoroughly investigate all possible causes or potential disorders.
If your child is going through testing, educate yourself with other disorders that often appear very similar, such as sensory processing disorder symptoms. This way you are able to make sure to get the most effective treatment focusing on the causes instead of simply masking the symptoms. So, be sure to checkout the page on ADHD misdiagnosis.
Additional Recommended Pages:
1. Conners Rating Scales-Revised (CRS-R). www.psychcorp-pearsonassessments.com. 9-28-10.