ADHD test is more of a behavioral than clinical test

The ADHD test is more of a behavioral test than a clinical test. It begins with a medical interview of the child and the parents with the questions are aimed to build the medical history of the child and the family.

Some of the questions that the doctor asks are related to subjects like psychiatric history, family history, home and daycare conditions, school performance, work-related problems (in the case of adults), illnesses, diet, sleep, and social behavior. The mother may also be quizzed about pregnancy and delivery, as smoking and drinking during pregnancy can lead to ADHD.

The purpose of the interview is to find patterns in child’s behavior that may confirm or rule out ADHD. The doctor may also request a meeting with the child’s teachers and friends before making a diagnosis.

Besides this, the doctor may conduct psychometric and educational tests to rule out learning disabilities, and locate clear symptoms of ADHD. Some of the psychometric tests that are conducted are:

-- The Conners' Parent and Teacher Rating Scale (for children) and the Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scale (BADDS) for teens and adults;

-- The Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT), the Integrated Visual and Auditory (IVA) CPT, or both. This test is done to assess impulsivity and inattention.

-- The Nadeau/Quinn/Littman ADHD Self-Rating Scale. This test is done to check for ADHD in girls.

No diagnostic tests are carried out as the doctor is more concerned to find behavioral flaws. Since a doctor cannot make a proper diagnosis based on the brief time he spends with the child in his chamber it is important that the child’s parents and teachers provide full and complete information.

The doctor can then correlate this information with the findings of the test to come to a conclusion. An important part of the diagnosis is rejecting problems that arise from a child’s academic performance. These problems may be a result of a child’s learning disability, and may have nothing to do with ADHD.

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