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How Do I know if My Child Needs an ADHD Evaluation?

Margaret V. Austin, Ph.D., edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.

Knowing when to have a child evaluated can be confusing. Sometimes your child will seem perfectly normal. Other times, you're not too sure if you should be concerned. Relax. All caregivers go through this. The key is to get answers so that you will know which way to go. Here are some questions you can consider when deciding whether or not to seek an evaluation:

1. Think about other children you know of the same approximate age. Do the behaviors or attitudes that concern you, occur more often in your child?

2. Are these behaviors a continuous problem or just something that occurs every now and again in response to certain stressful situations?

3. Do the behaviors occur in many settings or just one, like the playground or in the classroom? (consider: home, school, relationships with siblings and peers, travel etc.)

Once you 'pull the trigger' to inquire about an evaluation, try to keep a positive outlook. An evaluation doesn't mean your child will automatically be dubbed with a mental health label of some sort. Instead, the evaluation process is performed by a team of professionals, whose goals is to help each child reach their greatest potential.