How Do I Know If My Child Has Simple or Complex ADHD?

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This is one of the million dollar questions of ADHD. We aren’t doctors and we won’t play them on this blog, but we will gently point out that the odds are that your child is more likely rather than less likely to have something else going on.  And we would also want you to know that that’s not the end of the world, even though we know it might feel like that.  Accurate diagnoses lead to effective treatment, which leads to better lives for all of us!

Accurate diagnoses lead to effective treatment,

which leads to better lives for all of us!

There are many professionals who might have diagnosed your child’s ADHD–neurologist, developmental pediatrician, licensed psychologist, child psychiatrist, and sometimes even the pediatrician.  Through a lot of trial and error, we’ve learned that asking questions proactively is so critically important!  We can’t say it enough!!!  Do not wait, dear friends, take these questions to whoever is treating your child:

  • I realize that more than half of kids with ADHD end up being identified as having another diagnosis.  What else should I do to ensure that my child has had a comprehensive evaluation?  
  • In treating my child, what do you see that looks like something other than ADHD?
  • What does anxiety and/or depression look like in children who have ADHD?
  • How can you tell the difference between a learning disability and uncontrolled ADHD?

These are great starting points to create a dialog that widens your scope of understanding.  And as we at Two Moms and ADHD always say – TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!  Is there something you’ve noticed time and again but your query gets put off?

Hi it’s Ali chiming in here – this is a topic I hold near and dear and I’m so glad Norrine has brought this up.  For at least six years I asked about certain behaviors I was noticing that didn’t seem to be typical ADHD.  I kept asking myself “Is this really ADHD? Why are meds making things worse?”  I was continually put off until one day a new doctor looked over my notes and immediately said “I see your son’s primary diagnosis as anxiety not ADHD.”  It was a gift to finally gain this understanding but also really heartbreaking to realize all that a proper diagnosis could have saved us from for so long.  

What have been the most helpful questions to ask on your journey?  What’s been your best source of answers?  We’d love to know what you have to say on this topic.

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