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ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, is a neural-behavioral development disorder that affects an estimated 5% of children from the age of seven through adolescence, though can also effect adults. Many children are first diagnosed with ADHD around the time begin school. For a doctor to prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of ADHD, they often request an ADHD checklist be completed by the child’s parent and the child’s teacher. An ADHD checklist is a series of behavioral actions and responses compiled into a list format. Much like a symptom checklist for any condition, a doctor may evaluate a completed ADHD checklist to help them better diagnose a behavioral issue in a child.
Though many people debate the validity of ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD diagnosis, many parents of children diagnosed with either know the reality of their child’s day to day struggles. For undiagnosed children whose teachers, parents, and caregivers suspect a behavioral development delay, an ADHD checklist will help them and their child’s doctor narrow down the causes behind their actions. A doctor will typically not prescribe medication to treat the symptoms of ADD or ADHD without first reviewing the parent’s and even teacher’s responses to the questions on such a list.
Questions on an ADHD checklist focus primarily on behavior. Statements such as “has difficulty staying on task” or “has difficulty organizing belongings, tasks, or activities” and “loses things required to complete tasks (such as pencils, homework assignments, books, toys, etc.) are examples of ADHD checklist questions. The individual evaluating the child reads each statement/question and then designates an answer liken to a scale of 1-5. For example, they may choose “never,” “sometimes,” “frequently,” or “always.” The exact wording of each statement/question and the available scaled responses will vary slightly depending on the ADHD checklist, but the ultimately the same information can be garnered from any. Similar questions are compiled in an ADHD checklist for adults.
After a doctor reviews your checklist or evaluation form, he or she will make a diagnosis. If your doctor agrees that ADD or ADHD is the problem, they will discuss various forms of medication to treat the symptoms. Some ADD/ADHD medications are federally controlled and will require routine follow up visits with your doctor for continued prescriptions. If one medication fails to alleviate the symptoms, your doctor may try another form.
In some cases, a doctor may make an entirely different diagnosis based on the responses to the ADHD checklist questions. He or she may also suggest further evaluation by a psychologist or other professional before a diagnosis of behavioral or developmental delay is made. If you suspect that you or your child suffers from a behavioral disorder such as ADHD, you can search out checklists online or request an evaluation from your doctor to help evaluate yourself or your child. However, be sure and discuss your concerns with your doctor and never take medication that has not been prescribed specifically for you.