The specialist team
The hospital team involved in diagnosing and managing your child's ADHD may include:
- Psychiatrists — specialists in mental health
- Paediatricians — specialists in child health
- Clinical psychologists — specialists in behaviour
- Specialist nurses
At your first hospital appointment, the specialist may decide that simple advice and support are sufficient to help you and your child. You will return for another appointment to report on any progress.
If this approach doesn't work, your child will undergo a full assessment. This will involve more than one member of the team, and will require more than one appointment. You and/or your child may be asked to fill in questionnaires, and your child may undergo various tests. The assessment is designed to provide enough information to make a firm diagnosis and to develop a management plan. It will usually include:3
An interview with you to find out about:3
- Your child's performance at school
- Whether anyone else in your family has had similar problems or has been diagnosed with ADHD
- Details of your pregnancy and the child's birth
- Your child's development (e.g. when they learned to walk and talk)
- Your child's medical history (in particular whether they have had any psychiatric illness or symptoms of such problems) and any medications the child is taking or has received in the past
- Questions about your child's diet (see The role of diet for more on this)
An interview with your child to find out about:3
- How they get on at home, at school and with friends
- What they think about their problems and how they cope
- Whether they seem anxious or depressed
Your child may be assessed to find out whether they are achieving appropriately for their age; for example, through reading and maths tests.
With your permission, the specialist team will contact your child's school to ask them about your child's:
- Learning style
- Speed of working
A physical examination3 including a vision and hearing check.
Brain scans and EEGs (a painless test to look at the brain's electrical activity) and laboratory tests are not routinely carried out when assessing ADHD, but may be carried out if the doctor suspects that your child has other problems.3
Parents and teachers may be asked to complete questionnaires to gain more information about the child in different settings.3
Once a full assessment has been made, the specialist team will decide on the appropriate course of treatment of your child's ADHD.