When reading through the symptoms or observing the children directly, it is noticeable that some of the behaviours described as “typical” symptoms of ADHD can also occur in children without ADHD. This is possible and makes the diagnosis more difficult. In contrast to a child without ADHD, the symptoms of a child with ADHD are permanent and do not “grow out” during the child’s development.
You should therefore ask yourself critically whether the typical symptoms of your child have also appeared before the age of six and whether they have also appeared repeatedly in several areas of life over a longer period of time. Due to the fact that these symptoms are not limited to one area of life, it is also understandable why the diagnosis cannot be limited to just one area of life. In addition to the main symptoms mentioned above, additional symptoms very often become apparent, which must be determined and recorded by means of various diagnostic measures.
Only the interpretation of the symptoms and abnormalities from different areas of life in combination with possible diagnostic measures allow a comprehensive picture. This includes among other things
- The interview with the parents
- The assessment of the situation by the kindergarten / school
- The preparation of a psychological report
- The medical examination
Parents are usually the most important caregivers in the development of a child. As a result, parents play an equally central role in the interpretation of symptoms and ultimately in the diagnosis.
The family environment of a child usually represents a sanctuary in which the child feels safe and therefore also in a certain way “unobserved”. As a result, the child often displays traditional behaviour patterns which have developed over the years and thus become entrenched. Due to the fact that parents are in daily contact with their children, serious and therefore extremely disturbing behaviour patterns are quite obvious, but are not always recognised.
In addition, it is extremely difficult to admit to oneself that there are problems that should actually be addressed in order to be able to solve them adequately. For this reason, initiatives are often only taken when the family situation (the domestic environment) is becoming increasingly strained. The interview with the parents usually includes a questionnaire which tries to shed light on the child’s characteristics.
Of course, the child’s playing behaviour, ability to concentrate, staying power, team spirit, etc. are of enormous importance and are repeatedly questioned by means of specific questions. Of course, it is up to each parent to decide to what extent the surveys capture the assessment of the entire situation.
Ultimately, you will only give your child an advantage (in terms of time) if you are honest with yourself and try to answer the questions with the best possible conscience. Due to the fact that typical ADHD behaviour is never limited to one area of a child’s life, the assessment of the situation by the kindergarten or school is also of particular importance, as it provides insights into areas that challenge the children in special situations. As the problems are particularly evident in the area of concentration and attention, it can be assumed that typical and accompanying symptoms are particularly noticeable here.
In addition to the statements about ADHD – typical behaviour patterns, further statements can be made here with regard to frustration tolerance, but also with regard to over- or underchallenge of a child as well as with regard to special accompanying problems. As already mentioned, it is not uncommon for the actual symptoms and problems to be reflected in other areas of schooling. Here, for example, the “classic problem areas” in the In addition to the specific observations of a teacher, standardised assessment sheets are also used here.
They are usually designed in detail and specifically question the situation. In addition to the specific observations of a teacher, standardized assessment sheets are also used here. As a rule, they are designed in detail and question the situation specifically.
A psychological assessment includes in a report not only the reason for the examination but also a list of all underlying test procedures and their results. It also explains how the results are to be interpreted and interpreted. Finally, targeted statements are usually made with regard to therapeutic and further measures.
The way in which a psychological expert opinion is prepared can vary and is particularly dependent on the age of the child. For example, testing of pre-school children is usually based on developmental diagnostics. As a result, standardised test procedures are not used and reference is made to conversations with reference persons and attempts are made to interpret the child’s behaviour and movement characteristics.
In particular, initial statements regarding the child’s attention and concentration abilities can be made through observation. From the age of six years onwards, standardised test procedures are usually first used, which consider the individual child’s performance in relation to the age norm, i.e. in relation to the average age-appropriate development of a child. Before test procedures can be called standardised test procedures, they must meet certain quality criteria.
They must be objective and provide the same results even if the test is repeated (results must not depend on chance). Finally, they must also measure what was intended. It is up to the tester to choose which test procedures are used in each individual case.
Even in the case of school children, the test procedures are not carried out solely in order to be able to make statements about the behaviour of a child. These test procedures are supplemented by observations of the psychologist/pediatrician etc. Medical diagnostics is divided into a physical examination (= basic diagnostics) and a differential diagnostic examination.
This differential diagnostic examination enables an examination of various concomitant symptoms with regard to their cause. The physical examination of the child first serves to assess the child’s general state of health and attempts to identify any developmental deficits (developmental delays). This can be done in various ways, usually the physical examination includes blood tests as well as physical examinations in the form of hearing, vision and/or allergy tests. An EEG (electroencephalogram) to determine and examine the brain waves in the brain, as well as the ECG (electrocardiogram) to examine the heart rhythm and heart rate rather serve to exclude possible concomitant diseases (differential diagnosis).