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Testing for ADHD: Is it immaturity or ADHD?

Does my child have ADHD, or are they simply immature when compared to other children in their grade?

image This is a question that brings to mind a debate we’ve talked about before: Are children who are born later in the year being misdiagnosed with ADHD, when in reality they’re just less developmentally mature than the others in their grade?

The answer to this bigger question is not a straightforward one, but what about for your child specifically? Here are some considerations:

  • If you’re pursuing a potential diagnosis for your child, a comprehensive ADHD assessment should take age and developmental stages into consideration - not just your child’s grade.

  • An ADHD diagnosis should not rely solely on classroom behaviour, and should not rely on one (potentially biased) source of information. For an ADHD assessment to be comprehensive, self-report, parent, and teacher perspectives need to be considered. It should also look at areas of your child’s life outside of school, such as home life, their social interactions, and so on.

  • If you’re not sure whether you should even pursue an ADHD assessment, keep a close eye on your child’s behaviour and performance both at school and at home. If immaturity is the culprit, the concerns you have about your child should improve with time (e.g. as they mature). If, however, things do not improve, or they get worse, you may want to consider pursuing an assessment to see what else might be going on.

Every child is unique, and so every ADHD assessment should be comprehensive enough to consider every possible angle, including the question of immaturity vs. ADHD. Still not sure what to look for? Give us a call or talk to your doctor for more information!

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