Diagnosis of ADHD Tips

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ADHD - Diagnosis is NOT Destiny

Many gifted and successful adults, including the founders and CEOs of Fortune 100 Companies, have AD/HD, such as David Neeleman, founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways, to name but one. Schwab Learning. http://www.schwablearning.org has listed successful people by professional categories.

Many individuals strive daily to reach out to the ADD community and make lives better through education, support, and understanding. There is a lot of information that may be found on the Internet. Numerous sites are devoted to providing you with information. Type ADD into a search engine and you will marvel at how many sites there are to learn from.

Talk to your child about the many famous and successful people that have learned how to work with ADD. Give your child some role models to emulate.


What Causes ADHD?

Science hasn't firmly established root causes for AD/HD but it appears to be strongly genetic. There is no genetic marker or biological test for it—yet. What is known is that AD/HD is the creation of many, many genes involved in ways still unknown to researchers, and that AD/HD inconsistent from person to person.
Lastly, environment impacts gene expression (Hallowell & Ratey, 2005).

Many gifted individuals have used the perception of adversity to their advantage and once they tapped into their unique gifts and talents they changed the world,
literally. Dexter Scott King, son of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is President and CEO of The King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. His
memoir, Growing Up King, was published in 2003. Similarly, Erin
Brockovich, who inspired a movie of the same name, serves as the Director of
Environmental Research at the law offices of Masry & Vititoe.


ADHD In Adults

Many adults who were undiagnosed in childhood, only to discover that they have always had ADHD can find the diagnosis both a blessing and a shocking discovery. Typically, organizational issues, time management, and relationship issues present challenges to ADHD adults. Any evaluation should also include the use of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th edition)
symptom rating scale.


ADHD In Adolescence

The developmental tasks of adolescents include: discovering their identity, moving toward independence, emerging sexuality, peer pressure, driving, making decisions about college and career training, military service, marriage, increased responsibility for academic work and organization, and exposure to drugs and alcohol. As a result, adolescents' face a different kind of challenge than children or adults diagnosed with ADHD. Treatment, education, encouragement, and support will play a vital part in securing the adolescent's cooperation in complying with a treatment plan.


Professionals Who Diagnose ADHD

Medical doctors, nurse practitioners, private psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Psychiatrists, and School Psychologists are able to diagnose the disorder. Medication assessment and prescriptions are the exclusive role of a qualified physician. While classroom teachers tend to be familiar with ADHD because they are trained to make educational accommodations for students, they are not clinicians and therefore are not trained to formally diagnose the disorder.

They are, however, perfectly positioned to make a referral for services to parents and school psychologists based upon their observations and experience. Because there are other behavioral disorders that mimic the symptoms of ADHD, a professional trained in this specialty area can best discern patterns of symptoms and make a proper diagnosis.


ADHD Testing

There is no single test available to diagnose the disorder at this time. A comprehensive evaluation is necessary to establish diagnosis, rule
out other causes, and determine the presence or absence of other co-existing conditions. Formulating a treatment plan is based on several
factors: social, educational, and emotional functioning. Therefore, a careful
history must be taken by a clinician deeply experienced with the disorder. Talk to your doctor about next steps with your child's ADHD, and ask for research and educational material to help you understand the ADHD lifestyle.


Hidden Treasure

According to Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D., psychiatrists specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD describe the disorder in a very promising way because both of these Harvard University trained doctors have ADD. The doctors agree that the term "attention variability syndrome" be used instead of the present term ADHD. The real magic of the diagnosis is that the individual who comes pre-wired with a 'race car' brain brings tremendous gifts into the world and it is our job to find the buried treasure. It's there; we simply must notice it and encourage it.


Diagnosis of ADHD

ADHD symptoms arise in early childhood. The symptoms must last at least six months, with the onset prior to age seven. ADHD has three primary subtypes: (The 'H' denotes hyperactivity).

ADHD primarily attentive type:

Pays little attention to details; makes careless mistakes.

Has short attention span and difficulty sustaining attention.

Does not appear to listen.

Struggles to follow instructions; fails to finish tasks

Has difficulty with organization.

Avoids or dislikes tasks that require sustained mental effort.

Is easily distracted.

Is forgetful in daily activities.


Hyperactive/Impulsive Types

Everyone shows signs of these behaviors sometimes; however, the criteria for determining a diagnosis are very specific. Children's symptoms must be more severe than other children of the same age group. In adults, the symptoms must be present in childhood and affect one's ability to function in daily life. At least two areas of life must be impacted: home, social settings, work, or school.

Fidgets; squirms in seat.

Has difficulty remaining seated when remaining
seated is expected.

Has difficulty playing quietly

Talks excessively

Runs around or climbs excessively.

Acts as if driven by a motor.

Has difficulty taking turns.

Interrupts or intrudes on others.

Blurts out answers before questions are


Evaluation and Rating Scales

When ADHD is suspected in a child, the child is
often evaluated using an instrument called the Connors Rating Scale. This
instrument uses observer ratings and self-report ratings to help assess
attention deficit disorder (ADHD) in children and adolescents and evaluate
problem behavior. Teachers and parents may fill out the observer rating, while
the child or teen fills out the self-report. From these findings, evaluations
and recommendations are determined.

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Guru Spotlight
Patricia Walters-Fischer