Part #5 - Understand How Students with ADHD are Diagnosed



ADHD is considered a neurobiological disorder. Only a licensed professional, such as a pediatrician, neuropsychologist, neurologist, or psychiatrist, should make the diagnosis that a child, teen, or adult has ADHD. These professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revised (DSM-IV-TR) as a guide (APA, 2000).

Over the last 10 years, public awareness about ADHD has led to more children and adults being diagnosed with the disorder. Some people have expressed concern that the condition is being overdiagnosed. Some parents see signs of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in their toddler long before the child enters school. The child may lose interest in playing a game or watching a TV show, or may run around completely out of control. But because children mature at different rates and are very different in personality, temperament, and energy levels, it's useful to get an expert's opinion of whether the behavior is appropriate for the child's age. Parents can ask their child's pediatrician, or a child psychologist or psychiatrist, to assess whether their toddler has an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or is, more likely at this age, just immature or unusually exuberant.

The focus of this ADHD Series is to address how exactly students with ADHD are diagnosed.

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