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An adhd diagnosis doesn't mean that your child is inferior to those who has not ADHD

Updated on September 9, 2011

When you decide to take your child off for an adhd diagnosis you are probably going to experience a range of different emotions. On the one hand you will know that if the diagnosis is that your child does indeed have ADHD you will at least have an explanation for the behaviors and hyperactivity that your child routinely displays. But on the other you are probably already well aware that the medications usually prescribed to manage the symptoms of ADHD have had some less than favorable feedback especially in the media where there are an abundance of stories that would make any parent reluctant to let their child be medicated.

What to expect when you take your child to the mental health professional:

The first consultation is basically an opportunity for the doctor to become acquainted with you and your child. This is when the doctor will interview you, the parent, as this is part and parcel of the diagnostic process. The majority of this interview will revolve around the child's past and you will likely need to answer some questions such as those described below:

- At what age were the symptoms first noticed?

- What is the history of the child?

- How does the child behave when at home and when at school? Do the symptoms present in both environments?

- What kind of relationship does the child have with you, the parents, other family members, teachers, friends, etc.?

- What is the medical history of the child and the other members of the child's family? This question is asked because very often the child that is diagnosed with ADHD comes from a family where other members also have the disorder. This is why one of the causes for ADHD is believed to be genetic.

During this part of the adhd diagnosis you as the parents have the opportunity to ask questions as well and there a number of questions that you would be advised to ask including what treatments other than medications can be used and whether the doctor concerned would be able to advise you about this.

In diagnosing whether a child is ADHD or not a doctor with use what is referred to as diagnostic criteria and this is when the symptoms of the disorder in question are outlined. Following this there is likely to be a school related assessment and also a period of observation. The child will also need to undergo a medical examination to rule out other causes for the apparently ADHD symptoms.

There is no one single test to determine whether a child is ADHD or not. In fact there are a number of tests that can be carried out and the results from these are compared with average results. The purpose of the tests besides determining that the child has ADHD is to also determine which of the three sub-categories of the disorder the child falls in to. Some of the tests that a mental health expert is likely to use in adhd diagnosis include:

- Stroop Test

- Yale Children's Inventory

- Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test

Post Diagnosis

Once the diagnosis is determined and it is established that the symptoms the child has displayed indicate that he or she is indeed ADHD the question is then going to revolve around treatment options. Usually the doctor will want to place the child on stimulant ADHD medications such as Adderall, Ritalin, or one of the many other medications available for treating the symptoms of ADHD. These all carry side-effects, including the non-stimulant medications. It is a matter of personal choice on the parent's behalf whether or not to medicate the child and no parent should feel rushed or pressured into agreeing to medicating their child. There are other very effective ways of combating the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder that do not involve potentially dangerous medications and parents have the right to investigate these alternatives as they may choose.


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