ADHD is persistent pattern of inattention and/or over-activity that interferes with development.

ADHD is one of the most commonly identified disorders of early childhood. It can be misdiagnosed in young children (under 6), as most experience some degree of difficulty regulating their attention and behavior from time to time. Behaviors associated with ADHD may look similar to those related to other childhood challenges, making a thorough evaluation important.

A Child with ADHD Might:

  • Daydream
  • Forget or lose things
  • Squirm or fidget
  • Talk too much
  • Make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
  • Have a hard time resisting temptation
  • Have trouble taking turns
  • Have difficulty getting along with others

How ADHD is Identified:

There is no single test to identify ADHD. Determining if a child has ADHD is a multiple-step process. The first step is to rule out possible underlying physical causes for the symptoms.

Components of a Comprehensive Evaluation Include:

  • Parent/Caregiver Interview
  • Rating scales related to the child’s behavior across different settings (e.g., home, school)
  • Direct assessment (e.g., continuous performance test, neuropsychological tests)
  • Observation of the child in a natural setting (e.g., school, home)