Because symptoms of ADHD can also reflect other disorders, such as anxiety or depression or trauma, a professional diagnosing your child must carefully rule out other possible reasons for a child’s behavior.
A child should be diagnosed with ADHD only if he exhibits a variety of inattentive or impulsive behaviors, at a level that is abnormal for children his age, over an extended period and in multiple settings—at home and at school, for instance. The behavior must be interfering significantly with schoolwork or social interaction. A trained clinician will make the diagnosis only after a thorough examination of the child and collecting information from several people who have observed your child, including parents, teachers, and other adults. To qualify for the diagnosis, symptoms must have been present before the age of 12.