9 tips for ADHD assessment, diagnosis and support
This resource is brought to you in partnership with the ADHD Foundation. Dr Tony Lloyd, CEO of the Foundation shares nine top tips for parents on the process of assessment, diagnosis and support for your child’s ADHD.
1. Be an informed parent. Learn everything you need to know about ADHD, how it can impact your child’s development, education and mental health. Useful resources for you as parents and for your child’s school can be found on www.adhdfoundation.org.uk
2. ADHD has three main features. Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Your child must have two of these three characteristics to have ADHD. All children can display these characteristics but in children with ADHD, these characteristics appear more pronounced.
3. Difficulty with sustaining concentration, remembering what your child has learned, planning problem solving. This can be frustrating and a cause of learner anxiety in school. The impulsivity of thoughts, emotions, actions
and words can also be a source of distress because your child feels unable to respond to others appropriately. Hyperactivity can also be a factor in ADHD. Hyperactivity is the most noticeable characteristic. Moving and fidgeting actually help your child to concentrate.
4. ADHD is not a behavioural disorder - it is a neurodevelopmental condition that results in a delay in the development of certain parts of the brain. This delay can impact your child’s ability to self-regulate their emotions and impulsivity. This may make them seem less mature
than other children the same age.
5. Maintain regular contact with your child’s school teachers and special education leader so that you can work together to ensure that your child’s needs and abilities are identified, understood and appropriate learner support is put in place.
6. The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice requires schools to be trained to understand how to teach children with different abilities. Collaborate with your child’s school to support their education so they can achieve their potential and experience success in those school subjects they display a natural talent for.
7. When your child is assessed the clinician will request both the school and parents to complete an ‘ADHD Rating Scale Observational Questionnaire’. (There are several different types of these questionnaires such as Connors, Swan, SNAP and Vanderbilt). Ensure that the teacher who knows your child best is the teacher who completes the school questionnaire.
8. Some schools may also use computer based ‘cognitive profiling’ tools such as ‘Do-It Profiler’ or ‘QB Check’ screen as part of their learning needs assessment for your child. Some schools may request an assessment from an Educational Psychologist who will assess how your child’s learning is impaired. The Educational Psychologist can not diagnose ADHD, but they can advise the school and recommend what support is needed in school. You do not need an educational psychology assessment to obtain a formal diagnosis from a specialist clinician.
9. The clinician who assesses your child will ask to meet with you and your child to discuss the difficulties your child may be experiencing. They will consider the information they receive from the school and may also ask for a cognitive functioning screen to be undertaken called a QB Test. They will then decide whether a diagnosis
of ADHD is appropriate. They will also recommend what support your child will need.
This can include:
• Training support for parents to help them understand ADHD
• Medication for your child
• Cognitive behavioural therapy
• Stress management
• Daily exercise
• Good sleep routines
• Daily planners and organisers
This resource support the webinar 'Understanding Dyscalculia.' You can watch it by clicking here.