If you think your child may have ADHD, you will want to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified medical practitioner, child psychologist or pediatrician. Stay way from your family doctor if you know that he he has very little experience of ADHD. He or she is hardly the best person to decide on a diagnosis and treatment of ADHD.
The first epic mistake is choosing a specialist or pediatrician who does not have a proven record in ADHD. There is no handy test which will definitely clinch a diagnosis. You should be aware that there are various questionnaires that are used and the Connors Rating Scale is the most common one. You should ask the specialist if he is referring to the diagnostic criteria in the DSM-IV manual which has been issued by the American Psychiatric Association. Print off a copy of the fact sheet from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention website. It is a handy guide. Make sure that the specialist has eliminated other conditions which could mimic ADHD, such as allergy, seizures, low blood sugar levels, spinal problems or vision and hearing problems just to mention a few.In this way you can be much more involved in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD for your child.
According to a report in USA To-Day, we are now at almost 40 million prescriptions for ADHD mind altering drugs and they have risen by as much as 40% in the last 5 years ! So the second epic mistake to avoid is to accept this type of medication without doing your homework on whether it is really suitable for your child. You will need to find out about side effects such as loss of appetite, stunted growth and irritability. There are risks involved for children with heart conditions, or who have a history of depression. Not only that but recent studies now show that after a period of about a year, the drugs are no longer as effective as they should be.
Most medical authorities, including the WHO (World Health Organisation) are concerned that there is too much emphasis on medication with psychostimulants whose effects on the child’s brain are not known at all in the long term. They are now recommending that ADHD behavior therapy should be the first choice for parents and doctors. You will need to investigate ADHD homeopathic remedies as well so that you have an open mind and then make an informed decision. It is only be doing this that the the parent can take an active role in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD as it directly affects their own child.
The third epic mistake is to accept from a school teacher or headmaster that your child should be on medication! Apart from the fact these people are not doctors, there is no need for this interference and very often, these people are totally unaware of the side effects of the drugs. It is all very well for them to recommend that the child be sent for diagnosis and treatment of ADHD but really their efforts should be confined to making the school environment the best possible one for your child and not pretend to be doctors! If they concentrated more on classroom behavior therapy which ideally should fit in with your own behaviour code at home, then this will be the best possible road to take.