Do you or someone you know have a problem staying on task or sitting still? Are things like paying attention, following directions, or listening closely an everyday struggle? Is blurting out inappropriate comments and having difficulty with relationships a common occurrence? How about forgetting important things, having problems with organization or getting upset over little things? By themselves, none of these are unusual behaviors, but if they happen often and to the point that they interfere with daily life, they could be symptoms of ADHD.
ADHD is a serious but treatable childhood disorder that often continues into adolescence and adulthood. It affects every aspect of life and can have serious negative consequences for both the individual and their family. Getting a diagnosis can be a relief. Having difficulties with day-to-day tasks, things that seem to come easily to other people is often interpreted as laziness, a lack of intelligence or a character flaw. But these problems may be caused by ADHD, a neurological disorder that you can do something about. If you suspect ADHD is responsible for the constant frustration of being unable to meet expectations, seek help to stop the cycle of shame and blame.
- Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Everyone will have some of these behaviors at some time, but for children and adults with ADHD, they occur frequently, are evident in more than one setting and must actually impair everyday functioning.
- Patients must meet certain criteria, exhibiting frequent problems in a few areas. For instance:
- Out of 9 Inattention Symptoms, Six or more symptoms should be present (for 6 months or more)
- And of 9 Hyperactivity-impulsivity Symptoms (Six or more symptoms present for 6 months or more)
The following ADHD Screeners are reputable and based on the official listing of ADHD Diagnostic Criteria: DSMV
Most of the questions are in everyday language and provide examples of how the symptoms might be expressed in real life. It’s important to realize that these Tests or Screeners are meant to be informative rather than definitive. The simplest yet is reported by Neil Petersen for Psych Central. Researchers from Brown University recently screened for ADHD in 1,000 patients in a clinical setting using just two sentences. “These questionnaires aren’t intended to diagnose ADHD – they’re not in-depth enough for that,” but they may be a starter tool for busy offices.
“Do you often have difficulty concentrating?” and “Are you fidgety a lot?”
Their conclusion? “Clinicians can screen for ADHD in adults by inquiring about 2 features of the disorder (ie, difficulty sustaining attention and fidgeting), the presence of which captures most patients with the disorder and the absence of which rules out the disorder. “This is far from a comprehensive diagnostic tool… More testing that needs to be done to figure out how accurate this questionnaire is in different groups of people.” ~ Screening for ADHD with just Two Questions
Choose one or two of the tests that are most appropriate for your situation. We urge you to consult a doctor or other experienced health professional if you are concerned about test results. Our Find treatment and support section can help you with that process.
It’s important to note that a diagnosis of ADHD requires much more than meeting the criteria set forth in a certain set of symptoms. You need to see a mental health professional who will take a complete history using personal questionnaires and interviews with the person, their family, or teachers. This process will help them assess your symptoms and see if your story “fits” what they might expect from ADHD. Your symptoms may be better explained by another disorder or complicated by other factors that signal co-morbidity. Ruling out other disorders may call for a physical exam as well. Diagnosis also requires a determination of impairment present in two or more life settings: at school or work, in your home life, and/or in social situations. Diagnosis and Treatment Concerns: The Ideal versus Reality has more information on the diagnostic process.
To learn more about ADHD and how we can you deal with it effectively, see what we offer at Welcome to our World. We have a good selection of articles as well as audio and video sources available to further your understanding and ability to manage ADHD successfully.
Screening Evaluation Forms (Print out and score yourself)
For Parents and Teachers
SNAP IV – 18 questions – Teacher and Parent Rating Scale by James Swanson, Ph.D.
Vanderbilt Assessment Scale
- Parent Informant – 55 questions
- Teacher Informant – 55 questions
- NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Follow-up For teachers – Fill out on-line and email results – Use Zero as a circle. 18 questions plus 8 questions evaluating performance.
Extensive SWAN Scale – Strengths and Weaknesses of ADHD Symptoms and Normal Behavior – 90 questions – 30 for strengths
SWAN Strengths – 18 questions to discover your child’s strengths
Is it ADHD? Center for Disease Control – 18 questions – Print out to discuss with your doctor
ADD (ADHD) Checklist for Girls – 11 questions by Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.
ADD (ADHD) Self-report Questionnaire for Teenage Girls – 35 questions – Kathleen G. Nadeau, Ph.D. and Patricia Quinn, M.D.
Symptom Tracker – Discussion Guide for Children and Adults – 18 questions – Vyvanse
Evaluation Forms For Adults (Print out)
Adult ADHD Self-Report Scales (ASRS-V 1.1) Printable 6 question Screener Printable 18 Question version. Developed in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Workgroup on Adult ADHD at Harvard University – Quick and easy tests screen for ADHD symptoms in adults. The ASRS-V Screeners are also available in over 20 languages through Harvard’s website. *Adult ADHD Self-Report – 6 Questions with on-line scoring *
Russell Barkley’s Proposed Adult Checklist – Page 10 from a Sample Chapter from Barkley’s “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” (2007) See pages 5 and 6 for additional symptoms.
Dr. Daniel Amen’s Adult ADHD Symptom Checklist – 100 questions
Online ADHD Tests
Tests for both Parents and Children from WebMD (Link works) – For you and your child – Online questions, includes short videos to inform you. Provides screening for symptoms and also accesses how well you’re doing with your current treatment.
Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale – Developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Harvard University – 6 Questions with on-line scoring
ADDitude Magazine’s Adult ADHD Symptoms Test – Link works – Online 31 question quiz with scoring
ADHD 10 Question Screener – ADHDCentral.com
Are you Totally ADD? (5-minute unofficial online test) Link works or Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/totallyadd-unofficial-adhd-test/
Dr. Daniel Amen’s Adult ADHD Symptom Checklist Online version with scoring. (4-minutes) Includes Amen’s proposed 7 sub-types of ADHD. After determining your type, you will receive a full, comprehensive report including an ADD Action Plan with natural and targeted treatments that you can start from home. (Don’t be surprised if your results show a lot of overlap.)
Structured Adult ADHD Self-Test (SAAST): Test Yourself for ADHD – 22-question self-test differentiates between two distinct components of ADHD diagnosis (namely, inattention together with hyperactivity/impulsivity) and is also sensitive to factors which typically preclude a diagnosis of ADHD.
Adult ADHD Spectrum Self-Test is designed it to help you assess the full spectrum of ADHD traits, including both strengths and challenges. 55 yes or no questions. Informal assessment designed by therapist Don Baker.
Screening Test for Women – Sari Solden on ADD Journeys
ADHD Self-Test for Women – 15 Questions – ADDitude Mag
23 Signs you Don’t have ADHD – Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/23-signs-you-do-not-have-adhd/ – A humorous ADHD test. – From the always entertaining Rick Green of TotallyADD
Yet another Totally ADD Unofficial ADHD Test in a 30-minute video – Link works or Copy and paste URL: http://totallyadd.com/totallyadd-unofficial-adhd-test/ Find out if you might have ADHD. And have fun at the same time. (If you make it to the end, you deserve a prize.)
Professional ADHD Assessment Forms – Free
CADDRA ADHD Assessment Toolkit 2011 – 48 page PDF with recommended assessment forms, screeners, and rating scales from Canadian ADHD Resource Alliance.
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) was designed as a brief behavioral screening questionnaire about 3-16-year-olds. It now has a version for 2 to 4-year-olds as well as one for over 18 – 25 questions – Choose from a wide variety of forms in a number of languages. Impact and follow-up versions are also available. Scoring is quite complex. Setting up an account to have them do it for 25 cents is TOO!
The Disruptive Behavior Rating Scale can be completed by parents and/or teachers to report the presence and frequency of symptoms of ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder (Pelham, Gnagy, Greenslade & Milich, 1992)
The Impairment Rating Scale is a form that can be used by parents and teachers to indicate the impact of ADHD symptoms on important functional domains. (Fabiano et al., 2006)
The DIVA 2.0 – Diagnostic Interview for Adult ADHD. DIVA 2.0 is based on the criteria for ADHD in DSM-IV. It assesses ADHD symptoms in adulthood as well as childhood, chronicity of these symptoms, and significant clinical or psychosocial impairments due to these symptoms.
DIVA was developed in Dutch and translated into many different languages. Please donate to keep this instrument available at low costs for research and clinical assessment purposes.
Response to Treatment Rating Scales
How will you know when you have the right ADHD medication and dosage?
TRACK YOUR OWN or your CHILD’S RESPONSE to TREATMENT!
“You can’t notice small improvements or side effects without a monitoring sheet.” The goal is to find the best results with the fewest side effects. Finding the right medication and dosage is seldom a straight forward process. It usually involves medication trials and may require many adjustments to dial in just the right combination. The better you keep track of improvements or problems, the more likely to best the best results from treatment. Don’t waste time or suffer needlessly on the incorrect type and/or dosage of medication.
Prescribers may slowly increase the dosage, then back off when side effects begin to interfere. Other times, they will switch to a different type of medication altogether. It will depend on what you have to report. Even if you use supplements like Omega 3 fatty Acids, how will you know whether they are helping if you don’t record what changes, if any, occur? For more on the alchemy of prescribing ADHD medication, see ADDitude Magazine’s 10 Medication Fallacies even Doctors Believe.
Dr. Charles Parker.com and Core Psych have numerous articles and videos on the specifics of different ADHD medications and tracking individual’s response to treatment. Try the comprehensive and unique book on the subject that is reasonably priced: New ADHD Medication Rules – Brain Science & Common Sense.
Pencil-and-paper treatment monitoring system that David Rabiner, Ph.D. developed that can be downloaded for free at www.helpforadd.com/monitor.pdf.
Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale – Track your child’s emotional and behavioral response to treatment.
Real-life measures of the effectiveness of ADHD treatment – From “Talking Trash: Targeting ADHD Challenges by Gina Pera
Which tests did you like or find helpful? Any others you’d recommend?
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