These symptoms look just like you? Just like your loved one? Teachers says your child might have ADHD?
Great news : here is an opening for growth so don’t be lazy: hasty conclusions are too easy. Many neuropsychological disorders will look like ADHD, in child and in adults. Many psychological disorders will look like ADHD, in child and in adults. Even challenges with relationships can make you wonder about ADHD. Understandably. Because there are a xillion reasons why one can exert a certain set of “symptoms”. Is it dyslexia, intellectual giftedness, memory impairment, depression, adjustment disorder, non verbal syndrome, asperger, visual agnosia, a visual spatial learning style, or ADD / ADHD…how will you know?
Some authors will say “ADHD does not exist”, like this New York Times article from 2014 from Dr Saul. Others will be more cautious and report an “over-diagnosis of ADHD in adults” …
Both positions highlight that “ADHD” can actually be many other things! This diagnosis should be one of exclusion: a professional has to rule out all other possible causes for inattention, impulsivity or disorganization, before jumping to conclusions. For a valid diagnosis, all other probable causes should be assessed and ruled out. This means assessing attention, intellect, language, memory, mood and so forth. Without proceeding to careful evaluation, we might over-diagnose ADHD – like we currently do.
So now what do I do?
Ask a neuropsychologist. Take the time to do this process of discovering yourself / your child. Take the time to evaluate all the options and see what really makes you think you/your child have ADHD? In short, what’s bugging you? Is it interfering with your functioning? How? Be ready to ask yourself questions and keep an open mind for the answers.
Ask your Family Doctor for a reference.
You have 2 options: public or private.
Find one in the public system? Nowadays, there are very little neuropsychologist in the public system. Most will only work with complex cases and do not accept reference from the general population. Try your luck and ask your doctor. But also be ready for option 2.
Go private? Just like going to the dentists: it can get a bit expensive, but its worth it. Services are covered by most insurance package (under “psychologist”).
Here is how to find a neuropsychologist, the only professionals who can asses and diagnose neuropsychological disorders (as per law – see Bill 21)
One last thought: ADHD is hardly diagnosed in a 15-45 min consultation. Its an exclusion diagnosis. We have to look at other options or else we might miss the point and never really address the problem with the right interventions.