How Do I Find Out If My Child Has ADHD

“Before delving into the process of evaluating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), one of the most misunderstood diagnoses in children, it’s crucial to address some prevailing misconceptions. Amidst global diagnoses occurring in 5–8% of children, you may be asking, ‘How do I find out if my child has ADHD?’ An understanding of the disorder’s label, which has been poorly promoted since its first appearance in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) in 1980, can be traced back to ancient Greece, during Hippocrates’ time.”

The deceptiveness of the name contributes to its negative connotation. Decades of study have uncovered two primary issues: First, the problem isn’t simply with attention; it’s with the person’s executive functioning as a whole. The majority of kids with ADHD aren’t rambunctious. The newest DSM-5 now recognizes three attention deficit hyperactivity disorder subtypes: inattentive, hyperactive, and combined. However, specialists have advocated rebranding the condition as a Disorder of Self-Regulation or a Disorder of Executive Functioning to reflect its true nature better.

Can You Define Executive Functioning?

For those unfamiliar with the phrase, “executive functioning” describes a wide range of skills housed in the prefrontal cortex. Among them are the abilities to initiate and finish tasks, switch gears between tasks, deal with intense emotions, make sound decisions, control impulsive behavior, and maintain focus and self-control.

Because the brain is still refining and perfecting its executive functioning during childhood and adolescence, a certain amount of disorganization, forgetfulness, and distraction is to be expected at these stages. But it’s even more difficult for children with ADHD. A comprehensive evaluation of a child’s executive functioning allows for comparison to norms for that child’s age. Professional psychologists are the only ones qualified to conduct these tests, which are known as neuropsychological examinations.

How to Locate a Neuropsychologist

Word of mouth is a great place to look for a good neuropsychologist. When someone asks this precise topic in our community Facebook group, I can tell you that the same handful of neuropsychology practices always come up as possible resources. This can help you find places where many people have fond family memories. You could also try a children’s hospital if one is available in your area. Neuropsychological services are offered as part of several children’s hospitals’ outpatient psychiatry and psychology programs. The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology has a national directory where you can search for local members.

The Typical Outcome

First, there is likely to be a wait for an appointment; if you’re still on the fence about going forward, I recommend putting your daughter’s name on the queue. The following actions are normally taken after an appointment has been scheduled: 1. Conducting an introductory interview with the kid’s parents. Two or three testing sessions over the course of a day or two. Third, a debriefing once the report has been produced to go through the findings and diagnoses. As I indicated, these assessments also consider non-attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder factors like anxiety and learning disorders.

While the examination process itself can be taxing and difficult, many of the children I know genuinely like some of the tasks. The test will consist of both familiar schoolwork and newer, engaging computer-based puzzles and assignments. Your daughter’s age group often finds learning about how the brain functions fascinating.

These assessments never just focus on flaws; rather, they emphasize areas of excellence. In fact, I find great value in submitting children to these assessments when we are having difficulties in therapy, as the results shed light on each child’s individual perspective. This realization causes a change in what schools must do and what parents must do to ensure their children receive the best possible education.


If your daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD, I’d want to discuss what we know from the scientific literature on ADHD medication, which has a more robust evidence base than most psychiatric drugs for children and adolescents. Psychologist Russell Barkley has spent his career studying ADHD and offers numerous encouraging scientific discoveries. Medication for ADHD is two times as effective as any other treatment and among the safest available. Medication actually increases life expectancy in persons with ADHD by 13 years due to the disorder’s associated dangerous and impulsive behaviors.

Medication for ADHD is not a panacea because it only addresses certain deficits in the patient’s executive functioning. Medication for ADHD makes it easier to adopt techniques to compensate for deficiencies in executive functioning that may one day allow a person to wean off the medication. About 60% of children diagnosed with ADHD will continue exhibit symptoms as adults, whereas 40% will have sufficiently developed neurologically to no longer qualify for the diagnosis.

Beyond the Reach of Medicine

Medication is an effective treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but is not the sole option. Therapy to teach your child behavioral and coping strategies that will serve them well for the rest of their lives while they have differences in executive functioning; parent support and education; an educational plan with accommodations appropriate to your child’s learning needs; and so on.

In Conclusion

The first step in getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment suggestions for your daughter with ADHD is to have her evaluated by a specialist. You should take the time to learn as much as you can about medication and how it affects you, but I want you to know that there is good news on the horizon. Whether or not an ADHD diagnosis is made, you and your daughter will learn a lot about her brain’s functioning as you investigate the causes of her daydreaming and distraction. This can help her concentrate better in class and provide her with the tools she needs to excel academically and in life.

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