Diagnosis of ADHD
As already mentioned in the thematic section “Frequency”, the diagnosis is not always easy. As with all diagnoses in the field of learning, a specific warning must be given against a diagnosis that is too fast and too one-sided. This does not, however, encourage a “blinkered thinking” and hope that the problems will grow. IF problems are there, they should have appeared over a period of about six months in the different areas of a child’s life. 0. precise observations 1. interview of parents 2. assessment of the situation by the school (Kiga) 3. preparation of a psychological report 4. clinical (medical) diagnostics
What tests are available for ADHS?
The Internet offers a variety of questionnaires and self-tests that the person concerned can fill in. However, they are not proof of ADHD. Other tests, such as behavioural and intelligence tests, are also part of the diagnostic process.
Although the various self-tests are not conclusive, they are a good tool for detecting the first signs of ADHD. However, since ADHD manifests itself differently in each individual, no standardised test can replace a detailed discussion with the doctor and further diagnosis. There are no laboratory tests or similar for ADHD.
The popular self-tests ask for typical ADHD symptoms and are useful in the first suspicion of ADHD. These are available, for example, on the pages of the WHO (World Health Organisation), in various self-help groups, physician-led associations and many more. Further tests are carried out by the doctor and include the determination of attention span, IQ and behaviour.
Which tests are used for which patient depends on the individual appearance of the disease and the doctor’s discretion. Tests for children are based on their age. Very young children show attention deficit disorder when playing, for example, while older children can be tested in writing like adults.
For children, the assessment by parents and teachers plays a major role, which is why questionnaires must be completed by the child and the environment. Further tests and examinations are also necessary to exclude other causes of the symptoms. Due to the very individual appearance, tests for children have certain limitations, similar to those for adults.
If ADHD is suspected, the person affected or the parent would like to have certainty quickly. Online tests promise quick answers, but are only of limited use. There are a large number of providers who make questionnaires available on the Internet.
Only a few come from trustworthy sources, such as the WHO (World Health Organisation). Moreover, the typical symptoms are not only found in ADHD, but also in other diseases and also in healthy people. Not every positive test result is therefore necessarily ADHD.
The final diagnosis, excluding other causes, can therefore only be made by the doctor. As in the field of ADHD and other areas, the problem of diagnosing “ADHD” lies in the fact that one tends to assign a supposedly “small” problem directly to a central learning problem. This means that children can also “simply” suffer from a lack of concentration.
This is not always ADHD that applies to the child. Not least because of this, a differential diagnostic differentiation of the symptoms is necessary. On the basis of the various diagnostic surveys, it is already clear that some areas specifically try to exclude other diseases.
Thus, the physician tries to exclude various metabolic disorders, visual disorders, hearing disorders and neurological diseases by means of various internal and neurological examinations, and in particular to assign any existing states of exhaustion to their actual cause. Differential-diagnostic diseases include, among other things, the exclusion of profound psychological impairments, such as Tourette’s syndrome, depression, anxiety disorders, mania, obsessive-compulsive disorders (ticks), autism and bipolar disorders. It is only rarely the case that children suffer from another of these disorders in addition to ADHD.
In the cognitive area, reduced intelligence, partial performance disorders such as dyslexia or dyscalculia should be excluded, as well as giftedness or partial lack of concentration. In particular, the accompanying symptoms (secondary accompanying symptoms) of dyslexia and dyscalculia can sometimes be very similar to the symptoms of ADHD. Differential diagnoses should also include profound developmental disorders, affective disorders and a home environment that reinforces symptoms (pressure, expectations, lack of understanding, no rules).