Statistics from Altmetric.com
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition where affected children have problems with attention, impulsiveness and hyperactivity. The Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: fourth edition (DSM-IV) requires the presence of at least six out of nine behavioural features that must have been present for at least 6 months, are present in all settings, had onset before the age of 7 and are causing significant distress or impairment.1 The UK prevalence is thought to be between 3% and 5%.2–4 A diagnosis of ADHD will have significant implications for education, the family setting and possible drug therapy, and therefore should be made with confidence.
Box 1 Selecting a behaviour rating scale – useful questions
Is it broad band (looking at a range of child psychiatric diagnoses) or narrow band (looking to identify one or two child psychiatric diagnoses)?
How long will it take a parent/teacher/child to fill in?
How long will it take the clinician to score and is there accompanying computer software to aid this?
How valid is the rating scale – are the sensitivities and specificities available?
Are normative data available for the scale?
However, a diagnosis of ADHD cannot be made quickly with a blood test, brain scan or recognition of obvious clinical signs. Rather, it requires an assessment process whereby information is gathered on the child’s behaviour and functioning in a number of settings and situations. Much of this information can be gained at a detailed clinical interview, but the use of behaviour rating scales has become common practice. This is partly because such scales allow data to be gathered in a systematic fashion often from absent parties (eg, parents not attending the clinic appointment, school teachers or support workers) in a time efficient manner. Currently, the SIGN guideline5 mentions rating scales but does not specifically comment on their …
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.