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Should I have my child tested for ADHD?

Diagnosing a child with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can be difficult because almost all children exhibit ADHD-like symptoms at one time or another. Children can be restless, forgetful, inattentive, and impulsive on a somewhat regular basis, so studying them for signs of ADHD becomes a tricky endeavor. Parents should understand that when these often childlike traits begin interfering with the learning and development process of a child, it may be time to intervene and commence with testing for ADHD or other mental complications.

If your child exhibits ADHD-like symptoms only occasionally, or only in certain situations,

it's likely that ADHD is not the actual culprit. When these behaviors are witnessed across the board, at all times and in all situations, addressing the struggles becomes necessary. Doctors and other specialists can help with issuing a diagnosis and suggesting potential solutions on how to minimize negative behavior and reinforce strengths. Equipping your child with the appropriate tools to manage ADHD will be a complex task, but s/he will only benefit from it in the long run.

People commonly associate ADHD with its three main behavioral traits: hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. If a child frequently and overwhelmingly demonstrates all three of these characteristics, the diagnosis becomes relatively simple. What's lesser known is that children suffering from ADHD can also exhibit combinations of these idiosyncrasies which may make a diagnosis more complicated. For instance, a child may be very attentive to the surrounding environment, but impulsive and hyperactive nonetheless, which could lead to a misdiagnosis.

Similarly, children who are ONLY inattentive but not hyperactive or impulsive are consistently overlooked because they are rarely disruptive and don't typically misbehave. When these children are ignored, the consequences can be dire as they struggle to follow directions at school and frequently disregard rules in social situations. If your child exhibits any of these three dominant traits, you should speak to a mental health professional as soon as possible. There could be other medical, emotional or developmental causes at play, but if ADHD is the root of the problem, professionals can help you find some answers and, perhaps, some solutions.

Answer the questions in the following guide to decide if testing your child for ADHD is the right path for you!

Does your child have a tendency to frequently interrupt others in conversation, during games or activities, or during class at school?
Does your child have a hard time waiting for his or her turn to speak or act?
Does your child have problems following through with homework assignments, chores, or other kinds of tasks?
Is organization or keeping track of things a particular challenge to your child?
Are listening skills particularly difficult for your child?
Does your child have a difficult time sitting still or staying put when asked?
Is your child prone to non-stop talking or ceaseless activity?
Is your child able to sit calmly and play contentedly?