Different ADHD Screening Methods Used to Diagnose the Disorder

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is commonly diagnosed during childhood. However, it can be difficult to sort out if the child actually suffers from this deficiency; some kids are just more active and have trouble focusing and needs time to blow off some steam. There are several ADHD screening tools professionals use to help determine if the child has the disorder or if they are just busy.

Child Behavior Checklist

The behavior checklist is often used as a starting point to determine if more testing is needed. It is used mainly for children aged 6 to 18 years and contains a 3-point grading system, with 0 being not true to 2 meaning very true. Parents or teachers answer 120 questions grading how the child behaves both in school and at home. The scoring of this checklist can indicate the presence of possible disorders. It also shows how the child externalizes and internalizes problems.

Vanderbilt Teaching Rating Scale and Parent Rating Scale

Teachers who may suspect a student suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder utilize the VADTRS in the classroom. These professionals grade the student on 43 different criteria. With the exception of the performance section the higher the score, the more severe the condition. On the performance section, a high score indicates exceptional academic and classroom behavior.

Parents also use this rating system to help professionals diagnose the disorder. Caregivers are asked to rate the child on 45 different criteria based on their perceptions of school performance. They also rate the child's social abilities and functions.

Conner's Rating Scale

Like the Vanderbilt version, this test asks teachers and parents to score the child based on different criteria. This test consists of around 27 or 28 questions broken into four different topics: oppositional, cognitive, ADHD index, and hyperactivity. This testing uses a four-point grading system rating the child from 0 to 3. Like the other tests, the higher the score is, the more severe the problem.

Quotient System

In addition to the surveys filled out by parents or caregivers and teachers, doctors may use the Quotient System as part of the ADHD screening process. This machine measures how fidgety the child becomes and how distractible he is. During the 15-minute test, the child sits at the equipment and is asked by the machine to perform a variety of tasks. While it is used as a tool in addition to parental and teacher observations, this machine can confirm the diagnosis, and it can be used to rule it out.

ADHD screening is a process that starts with the teacher and parental observation. Not every child who is busy or active has this disorder. Some kids have no problem pay attention during class, they simply have a lot of energy to burn off. However, only a medical doctor can determine if the child genuinely suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. By sharing these observations with the child's pediatrician only then, can a true diagnosis be made and a plan to help the child is determined.

-Anna Woodward (Article here)