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August 22, 2011 at 10:41 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Diagnosing ADHD in Children

By Dr. Jeff Chamberlain, MD More Blogs by This Author

Dr. Jeff Chamberlain explains some of the criteria for diagnosing ADHD in children.
Hey what's up Barnaby here, so you want more information about ADHD and the diagnosis of it well perfect person to talk to Dr. Jeffrey Chamberlain who is a family medicine specialist.  Quickly give us a thumbnail sketch what would ADHD, some of the symptoms, what are they?
So, hyperactivity symptoms: trouble staying still, you're moving around all the time, fidgeting all the time, uh when there is impulsivity issues with the hyperactivity where they do things like run out in the street without really thinking about the consequences.  Then there is the attention deficit: hard time paying attention, changing focus from one topic to the other more so than other people of the same age group.
Yeah because really it seems like every six and seven and eight year old I know suffers in some measure from all of that because they are just trying to figure stuff out. So how would we diagnose this?
So what we need to look at is are these symptoms present to more of an extreme than other kids of the same age, so really we need to compare other kids of the same age group.  We also want to make sure that they are in different environments, if they have these problems at school and home, if they have these problems at home but not school then there might be something else going on, or at school and not at home there might be something else going on.  But if it is across the board the same issues going on everywhere that's a good way to indicate hey there's something going on and we need to look into this further.  There's formal criteria, and this formal criteria can diagnose you with attention deficit or hyperactivity or a combination of both. So it's really having a clinical specialist who deals with people with ADHD kind of reviewing everything saying okay do they have these issues at home do they have them at school and do they meet the criteria for ADHD?
Well it seems that by my experience talking to people with kids of that age, the school tends to look at it they say "I think I know what's going on here" and they become almost like the gatekeepers but would you recommend taking that information as a parent and bumping it up, go through your family physician maybe go to a specialist?
Actually I do that, I send my patients with a new diagnoses of ADHD to a specialist. I can diagnose ADHD by looking at the criteria and getting surveys from the parents and teachers.  Bur what I can't very accurately do is look for other problems that might be going on that makes things look like ADHD.  You'll question is there a hearing problem, is there a vision problem?  I had one boy who was in sixth grade and the teacher said he had ADHD, mom said he had ADHD, I wanted to send him to the specialist and mom go t mad at me, she stormed out of the office.
Pretty upset with me because she knew he had it and wanted to put him on medication but I wanted more testing. 
We got the testing, turns out he barely met the criteria for ADHD but he had some severe learning disabilities.  He's in sixth grade but he had second grade math skills, third grade reading skills and what he was doing was screwing around on class in order to mask the fact that he didn't know these things.  And no one knew this!  Teachers never picked up on it, mom never picked up on it, and she actually came back to me and said she was incredibly happy and so thankful that I made her get this testing done because if we didn't do the full testing we would have missed that and how long we would have messed around with medications until we figured this out.
Well I think it's always best before we put medications in a developing body to make sure you now what the problem is right?
Exactly, exactly yeah.
Alright!  Well that's good information and you are in the right place for just that because you searched out ADHD, you found us at, we invite you to stop back often because we will be a well spring of good information for you about all things health related.  Thanks doc.
You're welcome.

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