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The Parent's Role in Diagnosis

A father hugs his preschool son outside.
Either you or your child’s teacher may notice that your child is having problems. These may include:

  • problems with school work, including problems finishing assignments, organizing work, or staying on task
  • behaviour problems, including restlessness or high activity levels
  • problems with routines or taking care of himself and his things

There are many reasons why a child might have these problems. It is important to work with your child's teacher to find out:

  • how long the problem has lasted
  • if the problem is related to a stressful event, such as moving or a death in the family
  • if the problem appears in only one subject, in which case it could be related to a learning disability

You and your child's teacher may be able to address the problems by working together. If your child is still having trouble at school, he may need a more in-depth evaluation. This could take place either at the school or in the community. Your school board may have a policy that deals with referral procedures.

Working with the doctor

The doctor will ask you about your child's symptoms and day-to-day functioning. She may use a checklist or an informal interview. She will ask about:

  • specific symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity
  • how your child behaves at home, at school, and in other places
  • how long your child has had these symptoms
  • whether you believe your child is having problems as a result of these symptoms, for example with friendships, self-esteem, leisure activities, morning routines, or taking care of himself and his things
  • how your child is doing in school, including school reports if they are available
  • your child's early development
  • how old your child was when you first noticed the symptoms
  • whether your child is under stress at the moment, for example because of a death in the family or a recent move

Peter Chaban, MA, MEd

Rosemary Tannock, PhD