The first stage of seeking a diagnosis will be to interact with all parties in your child’s life, the most likely people will be teachers and doctors. The GP is unable to assess or diagnose your child themselves, but they are able to refer your child to a specialist. Once you have entered into communication about the possibility of ADHD, there are likely to be a few questions about your child’s symptoms. This stage is important, as your answers will help to create an insight into the symptoms and how they are affecting your child.
The questions can include:
- The GP or teacher may enquire as to what the symptoms are and what situations they tend to be the most influential. For example, if your child suffers from frequent hyperactivity, you’ll need to consider which situations these symptoms arise in, whether this is at school, around their friends or when they are getting ready for bed.
- How long has your child experienced these symptoms? Have the symptoms been present since birth or did they only develop at a specific age?
- Have there been any major events recently which could have influenced your child’s behaviour? For example, if there has been a family bereavement or a divorce, then these situations can trigger a change in behaviour.
- Do any members of your family have either a learning difficulty or ADHD?
- Has your child been diagnosed with any other conditions? ADHD can commonly be diagnosed alongside other conditions.
Depending on the answers to these questions, your GP may suggest keeping a diary of the symptoms and any changes over a period of time. If the symptoms are continuous then it is likely that your child will be referred to a Psychiatrist, a Learning Difficulties Specialist or even an Occupational Therapist for an assessment.
The assessment can take the form of a physical examination, to observe any other potential reasons for your child’s behaviour. The assessor might also choose to ask for some extra insights into your child’s behaviour and tendencies, and so various members of your child’s life may be asked to answer some questions about their experience of your child’s habits and behaviour.