How Is ADHD Diagnosed?
My child is in first grade and has been having problems in school. I took him to a doctor who diagnosed him with ADHD. He is a very spirited and energetic boy, but I'm not convinced that he has ADHD. His teachers and his doctor, however, want him to take medication to treat his "symptoms." What should I do?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can have different symptoms for different children. Some children are very active, make a lot of noise, or talk a lot. Others may be able to sit still but have a hard time paying attention for more than a few minutes.
It can be hard to tell if a child has ADHD or is just very active or hasn't developed the skills needed to succeed in school, such as paying attention and listening. Sometimes a child's behavior problems may not show up until he or she is in a classroom where sitting quietly and paying attention is expected. Talk with your child's teachers to help understand what behaviors or issues are happening in the classroom.
There are specific criteria (behaviors or ongoing issues) that are used to diagnose ADHD (see Diagnosing ADHD for more information). You may want to contact your child's school psychologist or a mental health professional who works with children to talk about your concerns or to get a second opinion.
You may also want to talk about behavioral therapy, which can help children and their families learn about ways to solve some of these problems. Often, the best approach is a team that includes your family, your healthcare provider, your child's teachers, and a mental health professional to develop a plan that works for you and your child.