The symptoms that are associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder can also be exhibited as a result of other situations and health conditions. The referring pediatrician or the specialist will want to look at the child, the child’s behavior and their environment in order to rule out a variety of other possibilities, including:
- The child may be experiencing seizures that are going undetected.
- The child may have a middle ear infection causing difficulties in hearing.
- The child may have undetected vision problems.
- The child may have undetected hearing problems.
- The child may have a learning disability.
- The child may have a medical problem affecting his or her behavior or thinking.
- The child may have depression or anxiety issues or some other psychiatric problem that can cause symptoms similar to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- The child may have been affected by sudden and unexpected change such as a death, a job loss in the family or a divorce.
The specialist should also check medical records and school records in search of clues as well as to see if the school or home setting appears disrupted or unusually stressful. The specialist should interview and gather info from parents, teachers, coaches, babysitters and anyone else that knows the child well enough to provide information on his or her behalf.
The specialist is going to want to pay attention to how the child behaves, especially in different situations. How does the child behave in a highly structured situation in comparison to situations with less structure? This is an important part of arriving at a attention deficit hyperactivity disorder diagnosis. The diagnostic process for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is time consuming and difficult, but will benefit the child significantly if the proper diagnosis is received and treatment can be provided accordingly.