Children have different personalities, energy levels, temperaments, and mature at different rates. The average child has difficulty behaving at school or following rules, and may get easily distracted or act impulsively. But how do we differentiate these common childhood tendencies from a child suffering from attention deficit hyperactive disorder? Medical doctors often make their diagnosis based on specific criteria from a textbook called The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, version IV revised. In the ADHD section of this text, you will find eighteen diagnostic criteria divided into two lists: inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. If a child meets at least six (or more) out of nine of the criteria under the inattention list, he or she may receive the diagnosis ADHD-inattentive type:

  1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
  2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
  3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
  4. Often does not follow through on instructions an dfails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions)
  5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
  6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort such as schoolwork or homework
  7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g. toys, homework, pencils, books, or tools)
  8. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  9. Is often forgetful in daily activities

If a child meets at least six (or more) out of nine criteria on the hyperactivity-impulsivity list, he or she may receive the diagnosis ADHD impulsive/hyperactive type

  1. Often fidgets with feet or hands, or squirms in seat
  2. Often leaves seat in the classroom or other situations where the child is expected to stay seated
  3. Often climbs about or runs about excessively in situations where it is inappropriate
  4. Often has difficulty engaging in leisure activities quietly
  5. Is usually “on the go” or behaves as if “driven by a motor”
  6. Often talks excessively
  7. Often blurts out answers before the question is completed
  8. Often has difficulty awaiting turn
  9. Often interrupts others or intrudes in conversations or games

If the child meets at least six out of nine criteria in both lists, for a total of 12 or more criteria, he or she may receive the diagnosis ADHD combined type.

In addition, the symptoms must have appeared before age 7, must be present in at least two different settings (for example, in school and at home), and must have been creating difficulties for at least six months.

Specialists will also try to rule out other possibilities and other factors that may be causing the symptoms to appear. For instance, there are certain conditions like hearing problems, learning disabilities, or other psychiatric problems that may cause behaviors which seem like ADHD. The specialist also gathers information from the child’s parents, teacher, and pediatrician to see if the child meets the criteria for ADHD before proceeding with the diagnosis.

The problem with the medical approach is that they use the diagnostic criteria to “label” the child and then treat the label. They give drugs to treat the symptoms. They are not interested in understanding what causes those symptoms.

In the Sans Ritalin Solution, we may also use the same diagnostic criteria as medical doctors do. However, we do more than check items off a list and label the child’ behavior as the inattentive or hyperactive/impulsive type. What we also look for are the factors that cause the symptoms, so we can treat these rather than the symptoms themselves. Did you know that environmental factors play a key role in triggering and treating ADHD? Because we take the child’s environment into serious consideration, our evaluation of the child also includes a battery of blood tests, advanced lab tests, as well as a physical and neurological exam. We perform all this testing for ADHD so that we can get a complete picture of the child’s history and be able to prescribe a strategic healing plan for your child – a natural approach that is effective and free of side-effects.