Today is the final article in the series called Diagnosing ADHD The Right Way from Dr. Frank Barnhill author of Mistaken for ADHD.

In part 3 he talks about behavior at home.

Have you discussed your child’s behavior with other parents, your spouse, grandparents, church members, co-workers, or friends?

Is the feedback verbal or written, and when was it given?

Does your child often interrupt your conversations with others and seem to need to get the last word in edgewise?

Have you noticed social changes in your child’s behavior?

Did he suddenly stop playing well with other kids or develop problems keeping friends? Does he have friends of whom you approve?

Is your adolescent or young adult getting into reportable trouble at work or with the legal system? Does he or she completely forget work deadlines, assigned jobs at work, dates or social events?

Can he focus on things he likes to do outside of the home?

In addition, when you take your child to the doctor, keep in mind that each patient seen for an ADHD evaluation requires different handling.

Consider the following in diagnosing ADHD the right way:

There are several ADHD identical twins in my practice and more often than not, they end up responding to different medications, dosages, and types of cognitive training.

ADHD is different in five year olds than it is in twelve year olds, eighteen year olds, and thirty-five year olds. Every age group may and will have very different ADHD traits.  Just because one ADHD drug works well in one age group doesn’t mean it will do the same in another.

If a kid is truly ADHD, then both parents need to be evaluated for ADHD, as the disorder is clearly hereditary.

In my practice, I find as many as 60 percent to 70 percent of the parents of ADHD kids have behavioral traits consistent with ADHD. In some cases, it is necessary to treat the ADHD parent in order to get an adequate therapeutic response from the ADHD child.

American Psychiatric Guidelines

In the United States, the guidelines doctors use to diagnose ADHD are published by the DSM-IV, according to which a person diagnosed with ADHD must display at least one of the following traits of ADHD:




Over time, however, experts have come to realize that not all ADHD patients display all three of these traits. Some patients have only one of the traits, while others show evidence of various combinations of traits.

Based on these more recent observations, the DSM now recognizes three basic types of ADHD:

Primarily inattentive type (or what used to be known as ADD and is more common in females)

Hyperactive type with impulsivity

Hyperactive type with impulsivity and inattention (also known as the combined type)


diagnosing adhd the right way To be considered “inattentive,“ the child must exhibit six or more of the following symptoms for at least six months, to a point where they are disruptive and inappropriate for his or her developmental level:

Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities

Often has trouble keeping attention on tasks or play activities

Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities

Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (must not be due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)

Often has trouble organizing activities

Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework)

Often loses things needed for tasks and activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)

Is often easily distracted

Is often forgetful in daily activities