Practitioners’ messages

If ADHD and its symptoms are not managed efficiently, this can have a detrimental effect on a child’s ability to interact with his or her peers and to develop socially and educationally.

Undiagnosed and untreated ADHD can lead to major social and behavioural difficulties.

Guidance documents are available outlining recommended pathways and models of practice for the diagnosis of ADHD and the roles of professionals, but there are few required standards.

Research and guidance literature emphasises how diagnosis should be an extensive and thorough process, involving clinical examination and the collection and analysis of diagnostic information from as many parties as possible, including teachers, parents and the children themselves.

The evidence suggests that diagnosis is often made by health professionals with reference to information from teachers, social services and parents.

Access to specialist services for the formal diagnosis of ADHD lies with GPs, but has been found to rely especially heavily on parents’ perceptions of their child’s behaviour and its possible explanation by ADHD.

Research into the opinions of parents or children about assessment and diagnosis of ADHD is lacking.

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