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Should I seek an ADHD evaluation for my child? 5 questions to help

By Dr. Carrie Fryzel, Psy.D.

One million more U.S. children had received an ADHD diagnosis in 2022 compared with 2016, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

About 1 in 9 children between the ages of 3 and 17 have received the diagnosis, prompting the report to label ADHD as “an ongoing and expanding public health concern.”

ADHD, one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders among children, can be treated through a combination of behavior therapy (often including parent training) and medication. But it can be a tricky one — some people mistakenly attribute common childhood quirks for ADHD.

All of this can leave parents wondering whether their child could have the condition — or whether they should pursue expert advice.

These 5 questions can help you determine whether to seek an ADHD evaluation for your child:

  1. Do you find yourself constantly reminding your child of the same things? Children with ADHD often are forgetful in everyday activities. Your child may forget to grab his backpack on the way out the door, or constantly leave the car door open after exiting the vehicle. You may find yourself repeating the same instructions every day, multiple times a day!
  2. Does your child have a whirlwind of energy that never seems to calm? Many kids with ADHD have excessive energy and a drive to be in constant motion. Your child may get more injuries than other children, climb constantly, and have difficulty sitting through a movie or reading a book. Your child also may have difficulty slowing down for bedtime and falling asleep each night.
  3. Is it nearly impossible to get through an adult conversation without interruption? Impulsivity and blurting out are hallmark symptoms of ADHD. Many children with this diagnosis have a tough time holding back their thoughts and experience a strong urge to speak up immediately when an idea occurs.
  4. Does your child have a hard time focusing on one thing for an extended period of time — or have periods of hyperfixation? Kids with ADHD struggle to sustain their attention, especially if they do not find a subject interesting. On the other hand, they may become fixated and “time blind” (losing track of the passage of time) when engaging in preferred activities.
  5. (If your child is under 6 years of age) Do you find yourself extremely stressed by the thought of doing everyday tasks with your child? Young children with ADHD symptoms may struggle to manage their behavior in different settings. You may find yourself packing snacks, water, and toys just to run to the grocery store with your child. Young children with ADHD often struggle to engage in “expected” behavior in settings that require waiting periods (such as standing in a checkout line) or during a monotonous task (such as buying stamps at the Post Office). It may feel very difficult to attempt these types of tasks with your child unless they’re distracted with a tablet or their favorite snack (and you’re still rushing!).

Pariva is passionate about helping families. If you are concerned about ADHD or other pediatric developmental conditions, we offer virtual diagnostic evaluations, as well as support for children and their families — no wait list, no referral needed. Get hope — and help — today.

Prithvi Singh

Seasoned Technical Product Manager, focusing on product strategy, roadmap development, and data-driven decision-making. Hands-on experience in implementing and optimizing machine learning algorithms in various projects