Does Your Child Have A.D.H.D.?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder—commonly called A.D.H.D.—affects an ever-growing amount of today’s children and can be severely debilitating. If you are concerned that your child may have A.D.H.D., the following survey, adapted from the Vanderbilt Assessment Scale and brought to you by Hartford Pharmaceuticals, may help in determining whether your child demonstrates any number of symptoms and to what degree.
Please rate the statements in the following two categories as never, occasionally, often, or very often. Examples of certain A.D.H.D. behaviors and symptoms—all clinical accounts from professionally documented cases—have been provided for your assistance. Please use these as bases for comparison to gauge your own child.
Your child’s score, computed at the survey’s end, will indicate whether you should seek professional advice.
- Pays little or no attention to details and makes careless mistakes.
Not noticing that his mother had placed a soup pot full of boiling water at the foot of his bed just before he woke up for school, Timmy stepped in the pot and received third-degree burns on both of his feet.
- Finds it difficult to grasp concepts (simple or otherwise).
Hannah, aged six, is unable to understand the complexities of autism spectrum disorders and therefore has trouble properly caring for her older, severely autistic brother when their mother is “napping heavily” or has “business consultants” visiting their home.
- Does not seem to be listening when spoken to directly.
Eddie, son to Jerry, often fails to acknowledge his father’s directives and objurgations, almost as though held captive in an imaginary soundproof box—a far cry from the bamboo cage in which he is actually kept.
- Does not follow through with assigned tasks or fails to successfully finish activities (though not necessarily due to defiance).
The parents of child Lillian thought for years she was incredibly
unintelligent given her abysmal scholastic record. Tutors and teachers agreed she was incapable of completing even minimal amounts of class work.
On a brighter note, it turned out that she was not altogether stupid. She was diagnosed with severe A.D.H.D. and prescribed medication, the cost of which paled in comparison to all the money her parents had been wasting on private tutelage.
- Is easily distracted by noises or other stimuli.
Young Elaine is constantly distracted by “sounds” she hears from behind her family’s apartment. The light din of everyday activity—her father’s friends drinking, playing dice and smoking crack in the alley below her bedroom window, for example— has muddled her to the point that she can no longer concentrate on homework or fall asleep at a reasonable hour.
- Loses things necessary for tasks or activities.
Seven-year-old Kenneth arrived home from the store with what he thought were the usual weekly items. When Kenneth was unable to produce a carton of cigarettes from any of the nine plastic bags he had schlepped along the 20-block trek, however, his mother began screaming: “They were on the list, you stupid dipshit!”
Kenneth had lost the list.
- Leaves seat when expected to remain seated.
Mario’s parents gave him explicit instructions to remain seated on the couch until they got back from the movies. Upon returning, they were appalled to discover Mario nowhere near the couch, but instead playing with G.I. Joes on the bathroom floor.
Forced by their child’s wild behavior not only to hire a babysitter, but also to buy him expensive drugs, Mario’s parents were unable to purchase him anything for Christmas that year.
- Talks too much.
Over the last six months, Martha had begun to observe that her three-year-old, Gina, would speak at considerable length and often in a nonsensical, childlike vernacular—a marked behavioral change. Up until that point, Gina had seemed to be progressing quite normally.
- Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
At a parent/teacher conference last year, Jim and Nance received disturbing news about their son, Jaime. Apparently, Jaime had become somewhat of a disruption during classes, often answering the teacher’s questions before their completion. His quick responses to exceedingly difficult questions—particularly in mathematics—although always correct, were decidedly ill timed. He was given Ritalin, which helped quell the outbursts almost immediately.
- Interrupts or intrudes on other persons’ activities or conversations.
Gregory’s A.D.H.D. first became apparent his kindergarten year. The child demonstrated little regard for the privacy and rights of others, instead choosing to meddle rudely in business not his own. On multiple occasions, Gregory carried books for friends, traded his Twinkies for other students’ apples, and even broke up fistfights in the playground.
- Has difficulty waiting his or her turn.
Ashley demonstrated a disturbingly unnatural impatience at airports. When it came time to board the plane, she would “snap”, as her parents put it, cutting in front of scores of patiently waiting passengers to board first. Her parents, confused and embarrassed, would reluctantly follow behind, sensing that something was not right with their child.
- Demonstrates difficulty participating in group activities.
Veronica expresses aversion to nearly every group activity in which her parents have urged involvement, including peewee Pop Warner football, comic-book clubs, and the Boy Scouts.
Score your child:
Please tally the number of times you answered often or very often:
10-12: Your child definitely has A.D.H.D.; seek professional help.
6-10: Your child likely has A.D.H.D.; seek professional help.
2-5: It wouldn’t hurt to have your child checked out, as these types of tests are not always very accurate.
0-1: You haven’t been paying enough attention to your child, and likely have A.D.H.D.; seek professional help.