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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

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What factors and symptoms need to be considered before diagnosing a child with ADHD? What factors do you need to include in the assessment of the child? What are the criteria used in DSM-IV-TR? Discuss in detail.

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Solution Summary

This solution provides a detailed description of the factors to consider when assessing and diagnosing children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Two diagnostic tools are also discussed.

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Diagnosis of ADHD

If ADHD is suspected, the child should be carefully screened for the condition by a physician. Since there is still no biological test that can identify ADHD, a series of evaluations are required to make an accurate diagnosis.

A complete physical examination by a physician is necessary to make sure the child doesn't have hearing or vision problems, allergies, eczema, or epilepsy - all of which can cause symptoms similar to ADHD.

The physician will also study the child's medical history to see whether an earlier experience such as childhood disease or injury, or prenatal exposure to toxins, may have caused ADHD. The child may also need to be examined by a neurologist, child psychologist, or other health professional.

Gathering information

It's essential that the physician also has detailed information about the child's developmental, behavioral and academic history. Through direct discussions with parents, teachers and the child himself, and with questionnaires such as the Conner's Form, the physician will gather information about:

· The history and nature of the child's behavioral difficulties
· The quality of the child's relationships with his family and peers
· The family's medical and personal history
· The child's social and academic performance at school, including any learning disorders.

Ruling out other conditions

Other conditions which can produce ADHD-like symptoms will need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of ADHD can be made. But conditions such as learning disorders, physical disabilities, or emotional problems, can sometimes occur in combination with ADHD. Information gathered from the team's input should be used to determine the nature, severity, and possible causes of the child's condition.

Parents need to describe the history and nature of the child's behavior. Although ADHD symptoms often become most apparent and problematic in the school setting, they may have been present earlier in the child's life. Parents should also provide details about the quality of the child's relationships with family members and peers.

Family history

Information about the family's history is also important. Parents or siblings may have experienced symptoms similar to the child's, or may have themselves been diagnosed with ADHD. The family history should also take into account events at home, such as a recent divorce or other stressful life events which may be ...

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