Often sadly associated with being lazy or crazy, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, often also referred to as ADD) is most commonly diagnosed nowadays in children when they begin showing signs of these disorders, and from there, stays with those children as they mature into adults. As with most disorders without a definite cure, an ADHD diagnosis for your child can be terrifying for you as a parent, and you may dread the upcoming date of an ADHD evaluation. So if you're concerned about going into the ADHD evaluation for your child blindly, then here are a few things that you can expect.
It Can Be In a Friendly Environment
Because ADHD symptoms are often easiest found in a school setting, it's very probable that the ADHD evaluation for your child will be done by a school psychologist. Not only does this atmosphere ensure that you child won't be nervous or acting out because of an unfamiliar environment, it also means that the person performing your child's evaluation specializes in diagnoses for children, and that they've probably dealt with nervous parents before. If you're uncomfortable, talk to the psychologist beforehand – they'll be able to put you at ease, and your child will behave much more normally (so as to get an accurate reading) when you seem relaxed.
It Won't Look Like A Test
Don't expect to go in and have your child sit at a desk and fill out a questionnaire; while the psychologist may give a few brief tests to rule out other learning disabilities, in large part the psychologist will be observing your child while running through mental checklists of symptoms, behavior scales, and whatever background on past behavior that you or others close to your child can give them for reference. As there are generally three different ways that ADHD will present, the psychologist will have to watch for multiple behaviors at once, which is easier when the child in question isn't shoved into a desk to bubble out answers on a sheet.
It Might Not Be Immediate
Because of the serious nature of diagnosing a child with a disorder that they will likely suffer from their entire life, the psychologist will be extremely careful in delivering that diagnosis – and that means that you could have to go to several evaluation sessions with your child before you get answers. Try not to be impatient or to set your mind firmly on the idea that your child has this disorder, but instead keep an open mind and answer any questions that the psychologist asks about your child's behavior as truthfully and completely as you can.