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An ADHD Diagnosis Made Easy

Take the pain out of diagnosing childhood ADHD with this humorous diagnostic tool. (Parents, please don’t try this at home!)

As you may know, the folks at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are hard at work updating the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM). They’ll release the new version, DSM-V, in 2013. Proposed changes in diagnostic criteria are, according to the APA’s DSM-V website, the culmination of 10 years of revision activities. As we speak (write, read) work groups are putting the final touches on drafts of proposed changes. Field trials, designed to determine the usability of the revised guidelines, will follow. As reported on, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the diagnoses expected to undergo changes in the new DSM-V.

Well, move over, experts. In the spirit of the monkeys (our kids) whose medical portfolios outperform those of stockbrokers, and in my capacity as a para-quasi-lay expert in ADHD, and mother of a child living with said disorder, I propose the following easy, practical — even entertaining — method of diagnosing ADHD in children:

I. Schedule evaluation.

II. When parent(s) and child arrive at examiner’s office:

  • Take the child to the play therapy room.
  • Require the parent(s) to remain in the waiting room.
  • Suggest parent(s) pass the time reading the book, All Dogs Have ADHD, by Kathy Hoopman.
  • Carefully observe parent(s) via one-way mirror as they read.
  • Record each discreet incident of laughter.
  • If the parent(s) laugh(s) three or more times while reading, the child has ADHD.

When you read it, I just know you’ll see what I mean!