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Diagnosis and Treatment

Rating Scales and Checklists

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Scales and checklists help clinicians to obtain information from parents, teachers, and others about symptoms and functioning in various settings, which is necessary for an appropriate assessment for ADHD and treatment monitoring. Symptoms must be present in more than one setting (for example, both at home and in school) to meet DSM-IV criteria for the condition. Such instruments are only one component of a comprehensive evaluation, which includes a medical examination and interviews.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the most commonly used scales are:

  • Parent-completed Child Behavior Checklist
  • Teacher Report Form (TRF) of the Child Behavior Checklist
  • Conners Parent and Teacher Rating Scales (see below)
  • ADD-H: Comprehensive Teacher Rating Scale (ACTeRS)
  • Barkley Home Situations Questionnaire (HSQ) (see below)
  • Barkley School Situations Questionnaire (SSQ) (see below)

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), formerly the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, ADHD-specific rating scales are more accurate in distinguishing between children with and without the diagnosis of ADHD, than global, nonspecific questionnaires and rating scales that assess a variety of behavioral conditions. 

For adults, the 18-question Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS v1.1) may be helpful.

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