A Test to Diagnose ADD?


"My 10-year-old son's teacher has noticed some signs of ADD in my child (like drifting off and forgetfulness). However, his primary care says there is no definitive test for ADD. Where do I go from here?

Dr. Larry Silver specializes in treating children with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

Based on your brief description, the question is whether your son has a form of ADHD, a language disability, a learning disability — or an overly concerned teacher.

I suggest you have him evaluated by your family physician and then by a child and adolescent psychiatrist. There are no formal tests to diagnose ADHD; however, a good clinician can differentiate between the various possibilities.

Larry Silver, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and director of training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is a former acting director and deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health, as well as the author of Dr. Larry Silver's Advice to Parents on AD/HD and The Misunderstood Child: Understanding and Coping with Your Child's Learning Disabilities.
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