Assessment of ADHD

Many restless children are misdiagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A proper diagnosis of ADHD requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary evaluation.

If you suspect that a child may have ADHD, it will be important to consult with teachers, a doctor, a psychologist and other health professionals.

The role of the doctor

The doctor has to take a thorough medical and family history and should do a physical and neurological examination. It may be necessary to do tests to exclude medical illnesses that could masquerade as ADHD.

If the child needs medication, the doctor will have to supervise and monitor this.

The teacher

The child’s teacher should evaluate and monitor the child's behaviour, work completion, achievement and social interaction.

The psychologist and other associated professionals

A psychologist should facilitate the information-gathering process by liaising with parents, teachers and the doctor. This healthcare professional should also use a variety of psychological tests to measure IQ, social and emotional adjustment, and specific learning disabilities.


Holistic intervention is the best approach to the treatment and management of ADHD, and should include:

  • Parent training with regards to management
  • Parent/child problem solving and communication training
  • Medication (if indicated)
  • Teacher counselling about ADHD and training in classroom management
  • Social-skills training in the classroom and at home
  • Individual therapy when justified
  • Parent/family interventions
  • Parent support groups

Reviewed by Prof André Venter, Head: Clinical Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State. MB ChB, MMed, PhD (Canada), DCH, FCP (Paed) SA. July 2018.

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