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How to Tell if Your Child Has ADD

ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder) have now been grouped into one term called Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder to describe both sides of the disorder. If you suspect your child might have ADD, you’re not alone. This disorder affects millions of children, according to the Mayo Clinic. The best way to tell if your child has ADD is to consult with the child’s doctor.

Step 1

Observe your child. You’re the person who spends the most time with your child, so observe his behaviors and write them down. Some behaviors that might be ADD-related include making careless mistakes on school work, constantly getting up from his seat when told to sit still, having trouble finishing tasks, often losing things, having trouble listening, talking excessively and having trouble doing things that take prolonged concentration

Step 2

Decide how long these symptoms have been going on. If most of the items on the list have just started or haven’t been happening consistently for over six months, then chances are your child doesn’t have ADD.

Step 3

Have your child’s teacher fill out an ADD Behavior Rating Scales Form. This form will help determine if a child has symptoms of ADD at school. It is important to see if the child has the same behavior in the classroom and at home. Consistent behavior is another sign that the child may have ADD.

Step 4

Gather copies of your child’s Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Index, if your child has taken this test at school, and copies of your child’s 504 Plan (dyslexia accommodation plan), if applicable. The Naglieri test is used to measure problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Step 5

Gather all of the information from the above steps and present them to your child’s pediatrician during her exam. The child’s doctor will be able to use all of this information to tell you conclusively if your child has ADD. He also might run other tests or refer you to a specialist.


  • Do not try to self-diagnose your child. Rely on your child’s doctor to help you get answers as to whether or not your child has ADD.

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