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My son has just been referred for assessment for ADHD. My neighbor tells me that her teenaged daughter was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and treated with stimulants for years, and then they found out that she had a learning disability instead. How can I tell if my child’s problems are due to ADHD and not some other problem?


Situations like this are the reason that the AAP and other professional organizations suggest that evaluations for ADHD follow a standard format and look at a broad range of areas of functioning instead of just ADHD itself.

Estimates are highly variable, but a significant number of children who have been diagnosed with ADHD also have learning disabilities and, similarly, a significant number of children who have been diagnosed with learning disabilities also have ADHD. This is also true for other conditions, like oppositional defiant, conduct, anxiety, and depressive disorders, and emphasizes the importance of the AAP guideline recommendation that the evaluation of a child with ADHD should include assessment for coexisting conditions. 


Last Updated
ADHD: What Every Parent Needs to Know (Copyright © 2011 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.