D is for Diagnosis
Despite the thinking that ADHD is a very overdiagnosed condition and an excuse for poor behaviour, getting a diagnosis is infact not easy and a long process.
Our son displayed all signs of ADHD from the age of about 2 but we had to bang our heads against brick walls until he was 6 as they refuse to do any testing before this age. Nope sorry I lie. we do have written in a letter that we were a rare, special case where they had agreed to test prior to his 6th birthday but it wasn't the norm. That would be a full 19 days before his 6th birthday which as it is at Christmas, meant the final diagnosis was held up until after the holiday period so probably no quicker than if we had waited.
First referrals need to be made after numerous (make that 100s) of visits to your GP and health visitor.
You then see either the Child Development Centre or your local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) which one will depend on their structure. We skipped the CDC as our CAMHS had a paediatrician and child psychologist. However, there is normally a huge waiting list
The nursery or school also need to have highlighted concerns.
Your child will then be assessed to ensure there is no other reason for their behaviour, a physical examination carried out, intelligence tests etc, family background and circumstances are looked at and their teachers contacted.
Following this diagnostic tests known as DSM-IV (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,, 4th edition) is used and the Connor questionnaire for parents and teachers
The fact sheet published by ADDISS fully explains the different types of behaviour and symptoms your child must be displaying in order to even be considered for a diagnosis. It is an interesting read.