You're likely to start by taking your child to a family doctor or pediatrician. Depending on the results of the initial evaluation, your doctor may refer you to a specialist, such as a developmental-behavioral pediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatric neurologist.
What you can do
To prepare for your child's appointment:
- Make a list of any symptoms and difficulties your child has at home or at school.
- Prepare key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, as well as any vitamins, herbs or supplements, that your child is taking.
- Bring any past evaluations and results of formal testing with you, if you have them.
- Make a list of questions to ask your child's doctor.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Other than ADHD, what are possible causes for my child's symptoms?
- What kinds of tests does my child need?
- What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- My child has these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Should my child see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for my child?
- What types of side effects can we expect from the medication?
- Are there any printed materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Be ready to answer questions your doctor may ask, such as:
Mar. 05, 2013
- When did you first notice your child's behavior issues?
- Do the troubling behaviors occur all the time or only in certain situations?
- How severe are your child's difficulties?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's behavior?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your child's behavior?
- Does your child consume caffeine? How much?
- What are your child's sleep hours and patterns?
- How is your child's current and past academic performance?
- Does your child read at home? Does he or she have trouble reading?
- What discipline methods have you used at home? Which ones are effective?
- Describe who lives at home and a typical daily routine.
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- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder/index.shtml. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
- ADHD factsheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/. Accessed Jan. 7, 2013.
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- Parenting a child with ADHD. National Resource Center on AD/HD. http://www.chadd.org. Accessed Jan. 8, 2013.
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Facts about ADHD. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/NCBDDD/adhd/facts.html. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Jensen PS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 31, 2013.
- Swintak CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 21, 2013.
- Goodlad JK, et al. Lead and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms: A meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review. 2013;33:417.
- Lindstrom K, et al. Preterm birth and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in school children. Pediatrics. 2011;127:858.
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