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Health Issues

ADHD is often diagnosed shortly after a child enters school. If you suspect ADHD in your child, discuss it with your pediatri­cian. Unfortunately, there are no specific medical or blood tests that can make the diagnosis. Instead, the diagnosis is made by a complete evaluation of a child's health, combining information obtained from a history and a physical examination, the observations of parents and others, and previous psychological testing, if avail­able. The doctor may administer or arrange for further educational, psycholog­ical, and neurological tests and will talk at length not only with you and your child but also with your child's teacher. Your pedia­trician will want reports on how your child does at play, while doing homework, and while interacting with both you and with other children and adults.

During these evaluations your pediatri­cian will rule out other conditions whose symptoms can sometimes mimic ADHD. Poor concentration, poor self-control, and over activity can be signs of many other conditions, including depression, anxiety, child abuse, neglect, family stress, al­lergies, hearing and vision problems, seizures, or responses to medication.

In many cases, there is a strong family history of difficulty with attention, impulsivity, concentration, or learning difficul­ties. Often the child's mother, father, or another close relative has a history of sim­ilar struggles when they were young. Gath­ering this information is helpful for the pediatrician in this evaluation process.  


Last Updated
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.