Does my child have ADHD

The diagnosis of AD/HD in itself is a contested issue. Many paediatricians feel it is over-diagnosed and is a modern-day label for children with behavioural problems. On the other hand, there are also paediatricians who believe that the disorder is actually under-diagnosed and far more children would benefit from early diagnosis and intervention.

Whilst no two children are the same, whether or not they have AD/HD, children or indeed adults with AD/HD all have a core set of symptoms:

• inattention

• hyperactivity

These three symptoms can be found in any combination and just because someone isn't evidently hyperactive it does not mean that he or she does not have problems with attention and concentration. People can have an attention deficit disorder without the hyperactivity (ADD) or be mainly impulsive without apparent hyperactivity. Rather than go into too much detail, I have included the DSM-IV criteria for AD/HD in the Appendix, although each country and town has its own method of diagnosing children and these criteria are merely a guideline for parents. As I stated in Chapter 4 on autism, these criteria are not intended for use as a DIY diagnosis, but as a starting point for parents who feel that their child has difficulties and is in need of support.

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