Should I get my child tested for ADHD?

Most kids do things that look like ADHD from time to time. They don’t pay attention. They do something impulsive. They get antsy and fidget. But what if your child does things like that more than once in a while? At what point should you have your child tested for ADHD?

With ADHD, it’s all a matter of degree and impact. To find out if your child needs an ADHD evaluation, ask yourself these nine questions. If you find yourself answering “yes” to many of them, you may want to consider ADHD testing.

1. Does my child show at least a few signs of ADHD?

ADHD has three main symptoms. One is trouble with focus. The other two are hyperactivity and impulsivity. Some kids have all three symptoms. Some only have trouble with focus or with the other two. (Keep in mind that hyperactivity in teens might look different than you’d expect.)

But ADHD impacts many other skills, too. See a full list of signs of ADHD at different ages.

2. Is my child’s behavior very different compared with other kids?

Kids can be diagnosed with ADHD as early as preschool. But kids that young grow and change quickly, and at different rates. As kids get older, you need to look at how other kids that age behave. Ask yourself if your child’s behavior is very different.

3. Is my child struggling at school? How much?

How often do you hear from the teacher that your child doesn’t listen or moves around or talks out of turn? Is the behavior getting in the way of learning? Ask the teacher questions to find out what’s happening at school.

4. Does my child have a hard time socially?

Kids with ADHD often struggle with social skills. They might blurt things out in conversations. Or tune out when other people are talking. That can make it hard for them to make and keep friends. Learn how ADHD can impact social skills.

5. Is my child’s behavior causing problems at home?

Kids with ADHD often have trouble managing emotions. They might be moody or angry. That can make family life stressful — for everyone. Find out why kids with ADHD struggle with emotions.

6. Are regular routines a constant struggle?

How many daily routines does your child struggle with? Is getting up and ready for school hard? Chores and homework? Kids with ADHD often have trouble with following directions, planning, and organization.

7. Is sleep a problem for my child?

Winding down and getting to sleep is hard for kids with ADHD. So, they’re often tired during the day. And that can add to ADHD challenges. Having too little sleep makes it more difficult to pay attention.

Learn more about ADHD and sleep problems.

8. Does my child get into trouble a lot? Are other people very critical?

Kids who are hyperactive and impulsive get lots of negative feedback. Teachers, family members, and even total strangers can be very critical.

9. Is my child unhappy, anxious, or frustrated all the time?

If your child has low self-esteem or negative feelings, it can make everything harder. Kids with ADHD often have trouble with mental health, like anxiety and depression. Only an evaluation can sort out whether ADHD or something else is causing the problems.

If you decide to have your child tested for ADHD, find out what happens in an ADHD evaluation.


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