What service to expect - Best practice guidelines:
Unfortunately, there is no simple test (such as a blood test or a urine analysis) to confirm a diagnosis.
An accurate diagnosis requires an assessment conducted by a professional team, ideally consisting of:
1 Consultant child psychiatrist
1 senior registrar
2 or more full-time specialised social workers
1 Clinical psychologist
1 Speech and language therapist
1 Occupational therapist
1 Childcare worker/play therapist
2 Community child psychiatric nurses
Such teams may seek a second consultation from:
A development pediatrician, a pediatric neurologist, and other professionals.
Getting a Diagnosis and an Educational Assessment
Although there is no one conclusive test for ADD/ADHD, the standard practice would be to look at:
- other factors outside the presence of symptoms for example family dysfunction, developmental delay etc.
- Collating the results of tests and questionnaires
- Obtaining detailed history and observation of the child (from parents/teachers etc.)
Following diagnosis, an educational assessment should be carried out. At present, assessment can be carried out by NEPS visit www.neps.education.ie for more information. After the educational assessment a copy of the report will be sent to both the Parents and the Teachers and a copy should also be given to the school's SENO to process.
Individual Education Plans (IEP) and Behavioral Plans
An IEP is the written description of the programme tailored to fit a child's unique educational needs. The development of the IEP gives parents and teachers the opportunity to work together to identify the child's needs, what will be provided to meet those needs and what the anticipated outcomes may be.
For children with ADD/ADHD, a behavioural plan may be advantageous, and can be drawn up in the same way and at the same time as the education plan. A behavioural plan focuses on:
- Describing the particular behavioural problems.
- Examining what appears to cause then - what is happening at the time of the behaviours.
- Examining what improves or exacerbates them.
- Considering how to anticipate or minimise these problems.
- Reviewing and determining what strategies work.
- Deciding what behaviours to focus on for a set time period.