School-age children, and even teenagers, have a limited range of behaviors available to let the adults in their lives know that something is wrong.  AD/HD, anxiety, depression, and learning difficulties often look the same behaviorally.  A full evaluation identifies the underlying issues causing the distress so that effective interventions can be implemented.

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Entries in ADHD (2)


American Academy of Pediatrics Supports Psych Evals for AD/HD Diagnosis

Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made news in the world of parenting because they published an article on Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).  Unfortunately, articles on the internet tend to boil things down beyond basic, often leaving out crucial details and making errors by misinterpreting information.  Here’s what they actually said and why it matters.
The article is entitled “ADHD:  Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis, Evaluation, and Treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents.”  If you’d like to find the source material, here it is:

Here are the 6 Key Action Statements with some interpretation and comments:

  1. Children, between the ages of 4 and 18, who are exhibiting signs of academic or behavioral difficulties, including inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity, should be evaluated for ADHD.
    • This does NOT mean that a slew of 4-year-olds should be diagnosed and medicated.

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AD/HD and younger students

I'm really mad. USA Today published a story that the youngest kids in a grade are frequently misdiagnosed with AD/HD and it is all over the news.  What's making me angry is hearing respected MDs speak of holding young for grade children back as a means of lowering the number of misdiagnosed children.  REALLY? As a psychologist specializing in learning challenges, I have some questions:

  • Are educators and pediatricians making sure that children are put in age appropriate situations at school? 
  • If evaluations are necessary, are they conducted by licensed professionalswho base diagnoses on symptom profiles with age appropriate behaviors in mind?  

Teachers do not have the knowledge, expertise, or right to diagnose children with behavior disorders. They are invaluable contributors to the evaluation process. Children spend up to 6-hours of waking time per day at school.

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