Unlike diabetes and other chronic disorders, there is no single test that can detect ADHD. Rather, ADHD tests and rating scales are used in combination to discern a pattern that determines if a child has ADHD or not. During the initial evaluation, behavioral scales and questionnaires are indispensable in detecting the presence and severity of symptoms and of other learning disorders, and determining whether the child will need more tests. If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it might help if he or she takes one of the tests listed below. Besides symptoms of the disorder, these tests are designed to measure the child’s personality, intellectual functioning, and problem-solving style. Although some of the behavioral scales listed below can be downloaded from the Internet for free, a professional will need to interpret them for you to understand the results.
Connor’s Rating Scales Revised (CRS-R)
Connor’s Rating Scales (Revised) aims to evaluate and assess the symptoms of ADHD in children through observer ratings and self-report ratings. The CRS-R test is readily available in guidance offices, clinics, pediatricians’ offices, and mental health clinics, and is usually administered during the initial interview with the parents. The CRS-R comes in three parts: the self-report (which is to be answered by the child), the teacher report, and the parent report. The three parts come in long and short versions. As soon as the test has been completed, the learning expert will display the results in easy-to-understand graphs so you can see the severity of your child’s case and the problem areas that need to be looked into.
Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)
The Child Behavior Checklist is a parent-rating behavioral scale that is widely used because of its high reliability. The CBCL is a rather lengthy assessment that includes over a hundred items on the child’s social competence and behavioral problems (e.g., aggressive behavior, depression, anxiety, withdrawal, and other social problems). Besides detecting ADHD, the CBCL is also used to screen for any possible co-morbid psychological problems or learning disorders that will need to be addressed during treatment.
Barkley Home Situations and School Situations Questionnaire
According to the diagnostic criteria of ADHD, a child’s inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity have to be present in at least two settings: home and the school. This is the basis behind the design of Barkley’s Home Situations Questionnaire and School Situations Questionnaire rating scales. These two scales list ADHD-like behavior in the home environment and in the school environment. The teacher and parent are asked to rate the severity of each behavior, and the scale is then given to the appropriate specialist for analysis. Most schools carry the Barkley Home Situations and School Situations Questionnaire, along with a guide that will help parents and teachers understand the child’s situation, establish a reward system, and decrease unwanted behavior.
SNAP IV Teacher and Parent Rating Scale
The SNAP-IV assessment is also a rating scale to be filled out by teachers and parents. It contains 90 items that describe inattentive, aggressive, and impulsive behaviors associated with ADHD, as well as a rating scale to measure the severity of each.