Updated 05 September 2018

Assessment of ADHD

Do you suspect that you child might have ADHD? Here are the steps to follow to get a proper evaluation from a team of professionals.

Many restless children are misdiagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A proper diagnosis of ADHD requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary evaluation.

If you suspect that a child may have ADHD, it will be important to consult with teachers, a doctor, a psychologist and other health professionals.

The role of the doctor
The doctor has to take a thorough medical and family history and should do a physical and neurological examination. It may be necessary to do tests to exclude medical illnesses that could masquerade as ADHD.

If the child needs medication, the doctor will have to supervise and monitor this.

The teacher
The child’s teacher should evaluate and monitor the child's behaviour, work completion, achievement and social interaction.

The psychologist and other associated professionals
A psychologist should facilitate the information-gathering process by liaising with parents, teachers and the doctor. This healthcare professional should also use a variety of psychological tests to measure IQ, social and emotional adjustment, and specific learning disabilities.

Holistic intervention is the best approach to the treatment and management of ADHD, and should include:

  • Parent training with regards to management
  • Parent/child problem solving and communication training
  • Medication (if indicated)
  • Teacher counselling about ADHD and training in classroom management
  • Social-skills training in the classroom and at home
  • Individual therapy when justified
  • Parent/family interventions
  • Parent support groups

Reviewed by Prof André Venter, Head: Clinical Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State. MB ChB, MMed, PhD (Canada), DCH, FCP (Paed) SA. July 2018.

Read more:
How is ADHD treated?


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ADHD Expert

Dr Renata Schoeman has been in full-time private practice as a general psychiatrist (child, adolescent and adult psychiatry) since 2008, currently based in Oude Westhof (Bellville). Renata also holds appointments as senior lecturer in Leadership (USB) and as a virtual faculty member of USB Executive Development’s Neuroleadership programme. She serves on the advisory boards of various pharmaceutical companies, as a director of the Psychiatric Management Group (PsychMG) and is the co-convenor of the South African Society of Psychiatrist (SASOP) special interest group for adult ADHD, and co-founder of the Goldilocks and The Bear Foundation ( She is passionate about corporate mental health awareness and uses her neuroscience background to assist leaders in equipping them to become balanced, healthy and dynamic leaders that take their own and their team’s emotional, intellectual, social health and physical needs into account. Renata is academically active and enjoys research and collaborative work, has published in many peer-reviewed journals, and has presented at local and international congresses. She is regularly invited to present at conferences and to engage with the media. During her post-graduate studies, she trained at Harvard, Boston in neurocognition and neuroimaging. Her awards include, amongst others, the Young Minds in Psychiatry award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Discovery Foundation Fellowship award, a Thuthuka award from the NRF, and a MRC Fellowship. She also received the Top MBA student award and the Director’s award from USB for 2015. She was a finalist for the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s Businesswoman of the Year Award for 2016, and received the Excellence in Media Work award from SASOP during 2016.

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