Some readers have asked for advice on when and how to test for ADHD.  The moms gave lots of great advice.  If you’re looking for a child psychologist to diagnose your child check this post.


What Age to Test

First and foremost most doctors won’t discuss adhd until the child is 7. Five is the fine line of children behaving as children and possible adhd. Being a child with it and an adult with it….. I’d say you can consult your doctor but don’t be surprised if it’s not handled at 5. Also, if this is the city of Memphis schools most teachers are advised not to classify them that early in a category for that same reason.

As a mother of five children, two of my kids have been diagnosed with ADHD. The first child was tested at 9 years old and I was told to medicate her. I chose not too medicate and lived to regret that decision. Desperately tried to work with her and all her teachers through her ADHD and she ended up being very discouraged and struggled in school! A terrible thing to happen to a child! I finally decided to put her on meds the last two years of high school and she did fantastic!! My other child, a son, is borderline ADD and I have recently put him on meds and he is doing well in school but I have seen some personality changes that concern me somewhat. I have never had a teacher tell me to have my child tested. Information is power! Do your research! Amy Beebe is wonderful child psychologist.

Start With Your Pediatrician

First set up an appointment with your child’s pediatrician. She/He needs to be involved in this process. Your pediatrician can direct you towards the steps of testing. If diagnosed or when diagnosed you have choices how to treat ADHD- medication, diet, behavioral therapy, or combination of the aforementioned. Each child/person with ADHD has different needs and manifestations so it’s not a one size fits all type of treatment.

After meeting with with the pediatrician you’ll need to find out which/what psychologist your insurance covers. Germantown Psychological has some great psychologist that specialize in children with ADHD.  I hope that this helps….try not to become overwhelmed, don’t start googling or reading books right away, take it one step at a time. First step Pediatrician.

My son is having some issues in school (he is in private school and he is 3). They were good about not diagnosing him but it became apparent they didn’t know what to do with him. We talked to the pediatrician and he recommended testing (complete neuro testing) and we are starting the process now. Definitively start with your ped and let him know specifically what problems your daughter is having. The school is not qualified to make a call as to what is going on but they should give you specific feedback of her challenges during the day.

First off, don’t let your teacher’s diagnosis of ADHD convince you that your child actually has ADHD. Talk to your pediatrician and get some guidance to the right resources who can make a proper diagnosis if warranted.

Be An Advocate

I am an educator, and I have ADHD (distraction). As an educator let me assure you that the best thing that you can do for your child is find out the best way you and her teachers can present material to her (teach her)………..watching, learning about this earlier is better because school won’t be so frustrating for her and you. As a mommy, rest assured that your daughter is perfect and just as God created her to be.

If your child needs accommodations, the school can’t require you to medicate. It’s up to you. Wrightslaw website is your friend. My son was dx at 5

Private vs. School Testing

I would test privately and submit the report. Private has many more benefits on wait her side, weather needing future care or help or not being label for no reason. If he’s in K I would go for Private.

The most important thing is to get your child the help he/she needs. “Labeling” (whether through the school or privately) allows the professionals at your child’s school to give him the best possible chance at success. Don’t mistrust teachers, administrators and school counselors just because a few other people had bad experiences. Go with your gut and decide what’s best for your child and keep talking to your child’s teacher! A good relationship between you two greatly increases his/her chance for success in all areas of education!

I was tested privately in 2nd grade. I had several “labels” if that’s what you want to call them. I got all the help I needed from great teachers and a wonderful mom. I am now 33, have a masters degree and wouldn’t change a thing when it comes to my education history. It has made me who I am today! Support and advocate for your little one everyday to the best of your ability.

Do not let the school do it. Test private. Germantown Psy. Dr Greenburg is good w children!!! Then if he recommends meds talk to your child’s ped. About it. I’m a former special education teacher and I have ADHD and so does my daughter (4th grade age 10) and diagnosed I think in SK maybe beginning of 1st. She was a non reader in 1st and now at a 5th grade level and attends a hard school in Memphis. Meds help her so much!! If you have any questions please private message me and I’ll be happy to chat with you! Oh before meds we tried everything!!!

Test privately! My son (only 4) went to a private preschool (A “CHURCH”) & even before we could find a doctor to diagnose him of anything because of his age they had already done a self diagnosis from what they had seen & drove us out of there by constantly pushing the subject, telling me, as a parent, what I “need” to be doing. I’m not sure how much I would trust a schools psychiatrist for many reasons. ADHD and everything that goes along with it can be trial & error until you find proper medications & diagnosis’ I just don’t see a school being as patient as a doctor. Just my opinion, I haven’t gone through anything with a grade school but I would just stay on the safe side and do everything privately while keeping his teachers updated.

Test privately, then involve the school. Your health insurance should cover (a portion based on your plan) under mental health benefits. A ‘label’ can be a good thing…it can give him accomodations (through an IEP or a 504 plan) that will help him reach his fullest potential, and become a great student. Even something as simple as sitting in close proximity to the teacher, the teachers would be required by law to follow it, if he has proper documentation. We (reluctantly) began medication with our son, and it has been great for him! Everyone will have an opinion, you just have to do what is best for your child (and family) so that he succeeds. Good luck!

If he is diagnosed its not ‘labeling’ him. I was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and it did nothing to hinder my education. If anything it helped me as I was a horrible test taker; distracted easily and frustrated, and because of the ADD/ADHD diagnosis I was able to take the ACT and SAT privately and untimed, scoring higher than some of my mainstream counter parts. I am now the holder of a BA and working for one of the top 10 Fortune 500 Companies. Shame on those ‘friends’ telling you that your child will be labeled and make you feel like that. (For the record, I am 36, not some teeny bopper 20 something that is still wet behind the ears…) sorry, i get so ANGRY at people who say ‘oh, don’t let them diagnose, they will label your kid a freak’…what do they know?!? Are they professionals?!??)

I would wait and have him tested privately after he enters first grade. Don’t worry about labeling ADHD or ADD is very common and probably too common because some teacher doesn’t know how to communicate with a child or two in class. I would also look at maturity. When is his birthday etc. No way in heck I would put a 4 year old on meds.

Public schools get more money per child that has a “diagnosis.” He seems young for a diagnosis…did your pediatrician make it? Most pediatricians will not make this diagnosis until age 8. Some kids just need a little more time to mature. If you can afford it, do the testing (if you want a diagnosis) privately. The Bowling Center is great for developmental assessment & then you can decide what to do with the results. I think a lot of things get misdiagnosed as ADHD …..good luck, very stressful I know!!

Consider Other Options

Read read read. Educate yourself. First I’d say, Look at what you eat. I taught a first grader who was allergic to red food dye. It made her hyper. Once they took that out of her diet, she was a different child.  Our food today is so full of stuff our bodies were never meant to process. I think that’s why the diagnosis of ADHD has increased so significantly. In general It’s easier to prescribe/give a pill than take the time and money to eat differently. Plus insurance won’t pay your grocery bill . Not saying you have to go all organic(too expensive for us)….just read and pay attention to how he reacts when given certain food items. Plus, he’s probably just being a boy.  There are lots of options for education today. My friend homeschools her ADHD son for this very reason. He’s as smart as a whip too. But he gets regular beaks, regular healthy smacks throughout the day, and lots of exercise (swim team)…Just my 2 cents worth.

Montessori preschool can be very helpful. This method helps !! Medication is over used because of traditional school methods!