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ADHD Testing

ADHD Testing Facts

  • Testing for ADHD involves a number of screening tools, full history and physical, self-tests, observations, and other neurocognitive evaluations.
  • There is no currently accepted blood test or radiologic test for the disorder, though it is probable that there will be in the not too distant future.

Symptoms and Signs of ADHD

Patient Comments

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder associated with difficulties with attentiveness, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. There are several subtypes of the disorder that include varying expressions of the symptoms. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is considered an inattentive predominant subtype. There is a high frequency (>50%) of comorbid psychiatric disorders in children and adults with ADHD, including bipolar disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and others. The diagnosis and treatment of ADHD is well established and is based on observations and subjective reports by the affected children, parents, teachers, and physicians.

Specific Rating Scales Used to Diagnose ADHD in Children

There are a number of assessments that are completed by physicians, parents, and teachers. No single scale or source should be used to make the diagnosis of ADHD. It requires information from multiple sources. These include the following:

  1. The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale is a tool which reviews symptoms associated with ADHD and other psychiatric diagnoses. This is generally completed by a teacher and a parent. This is primarily used for children in elementary school.
  2. Conners Scale is a symptom rating tool that can be used for children aged 2-18 years and is completed by teachers, parents, and even self-administered by adolescents.
  3. The child behavior checklist is also called the Achenbach Checklist and is completed by parents, teachers, and the child and is a subjective evaluation of behaviors consistent with ADHD.
Last Reviewed 11/20/2017


Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about ADHD Testing:

ADHD Testing - Symptoms and Signs

What symptoms and signs did you (or your child) experience before an ADHD diagnosis?

ADHD Testing - Adults

Were you diagnosed with ADHD as an adult? Please describe your experience.

ADHD Testing and Diagnosis

Physicians and parents should be aware that schools are federally mandated to perform an appropriate evaluation if a child is suspected of having a disability that impairs academic functioning. This policy was strengthened by regulations implementing the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA), which guarantees appropriate services and a free, appropriate public education to children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21.

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