• Christine Willing, M.Ed., NCSP,

How to Get Your Child Evaluated for ADHD

Think your child is exhibiting signs of ADHD? You’re not alone. ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is one of the most common neurodevelopment disorders in the United States.


With over 6 million cases, it’s understandable that parents are concerned. But how do you tell the difference between a child who is easily distracted and one who needs treatment?


The short answer is—it’s not easy. That’s why it’s best to get your child evaluated for ADHD by a healthcare professional.


In this post, I’m going to show you how to get your child tested by your pediatrician, school, and a trained psychologist. Remember, each approach has its pros and cons. So make sure to pick the one that’s right for your situation.



1. Talk to Your Pediatrician


Contacting your pediatrician is the easiest way to start the process. They know your child well and can help you determine the best path forward.


However, it’s important to note that only some pediatricians are qualified to diagnose ADHD.


Even if your pediatrician does not have the proper training, they can still provide you with recommendations for other doctors or psychologists in your area.


If your pediatrician is qualified, they will likely have you complete a ratings scale. This questionnaire asks you to rate the frequency of certain ADHD symptoms on a scale of 0-3 or 4.


Rating scales are a simple process, but they do have their drawbacks. A ratings scale does not give the full picture of how ADHD may be impacting behavior, school performance, and cognition.


PEDIATRICIAN

+ Easy to contact

+ Knows your child well


- May not have qualifications to diagnose

- Limited picture of how ADHD is affecting your child




2. Request an ADHD Evaluation at School


You can also request a meeting with your school to consider an evaluation. It’s important to remember that schools do not diagnose ADHD. However, they can create a helpful report to determine if your child meets certain criteria that warrant accommodations in school, including extra test time, allowing for breaks, and changes in environment to minimize distraction.


SCHOOL


+ Can provide learning accommodations


- Cannot diagnose ADHD






3. Contact a Psychologist


Getting a psychological evaluation is the most comprehensive way to test your child for ADHD.


Unlike a pediatrician or a school, a psychologist can look at a child’s cognitive and social, emotional functioning. This will help them rule out other causes, determine co-existing conditions, and give you the most accurate diagnosis.


Though this is the most thorough approach, it can also be the most expensive. Some practices do accept insurance for ADHD testing and others are private pay only. For instance, Think Happy Live Healthy offers testing and accepts most major insurances. To find out if psychologists near you accept insurance, ask for a list of evaluators from your insurance company.


Another great way to find a psychologist is to ask people you know who may have gotten their kids evaluated. Word of mouth is still the best way to find a good evaluator. But if you’re not getting any results from your social circle, look on a trusted website like CHADD, they have local organizations you can reach out to for more support in finding an ADHD specialist.


PSYCHOLOGIST

+ Most comprehensive ADHD diagnosis

+ Can determine other or co-existing conditions

+ Provides therapy and treatment

- Can be costly if they do not accept insurance





An ADHD Evaluation Can Change Your Child’s Life for the Better


I know you may be hesitant to have your child tested for ADHD. I’ve had many parents tell me that they’re worried about their child being “labelled.” While that’s a normal reaction, a diagnosis will likely improve your child’s quality of life—now and in the long term.


ADHD is a highly manageable condition. Effective treatment can improve concentration, behavior, and executive functioning—giving your child the tools they need to succeed in school and in life.


Many famous and successful CEOs have ADHD. ADHD involves a difference in the way the brain solves problems, and when children understand that difference, they can use their problem-solving skills in phenomenal ways.


So if you suspect your child may be exhibiting signs of ADHD, please follow one of the three approaches above and have them evaluated as soon as possible. It can make a world of difference in their lives.


Need more info?


If you have any questions about getting children tested for ADHD, make sure to leave a comment below. I love to chat!


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