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Don't wait for him to turn 10 before you reveal that you are not in fact the hired help whose job it is to clean up after him.

Good parenting requires sacrifice. Childhood lasts for only a few brief years , but it should be given priority while it is passing before your eyes

The teenage years require a delicate balance between the young person's need to gain independence, and the parent's need to retain authority.

Early intervention is always better than crisis management - but it is never too late to do the right thing.

"Cutting" is a visible sign to the world that you are hurting.

"Unexpressed feeling never die. They are buried alive and come back later in ugly ways." (Stephen Covey)

The more 2 parents differ in their approaches to discipline, the more likely it leads to trouble for the child.

The quickest way to change your child’s behaviour is to first change your own.

The best inheritance  parents can give their children is a few minutes of their time each day.

Children do not develop on their own - they only develop within relationships.

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How Do I Know If My Child Has ADHD ?


The short answer is that you don’t !

In order for a child (or adult) to be diagnosed with ADHD, he/she must be evaluated by either a medial doctor or a psychologist. A best case scenario would involve both of the above professionals along with input from the school, various clinicians and parents.

Doctors Input –  numerous medical issues can cause ADHD-like symptoms and a major contribution to proper diagnosis can be made by the doctor  by eliminating  these other possibilities. This process of eliminating other  possibilities is called “differential diagnosis”. The doctor should check for thyroid problems, sleep disorder, ear infections, hearing disorders, mild seizures, nutritional deficiencies, substance abuse, prescription drug side effects,  and a host of other possibilities. I hear too often of doctors making a diagnosis of ADHD based on a 10 minute office visit and then prescribing medication. It is possible that the “squirminess” or “inattention” that you are observing could be caused by any of the above and if they are, the medical issue must be resolved first.

Psychologist Input – the psychologist should evaluate the patient for possible learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, Asperger’s, Tourette’s Syndrome, low self esteem, abuse, etc. It is possible that the ADHD like  symptoms you see could be caused by psychological problems that can best be addressed with a form of counselling.

Clinician’s Input  – clinicians trained in administering various tests can determine if the symptoms could be caused a specific learning problem. Examples of tests that could be used include WISC-R, Pier-Harris Self Concept Scale, Bender Gestalt, Draw a Person, Sentence Completion Tests. A battery of these kinds of tests can help to determine the cause of child’s difficulties.

School Input – a review of the child’s school OSR (Ontario Student Record) can be used to determine if there is a history of symptoms or if they have only been observed recently. The current teacher should  be a valuable  resource to provide information about the child’s strengths and weaknesses that are currently evident.

Parent Input – nobody of course knows your child better than you. If your observations lead you to wonder if your child does have ADHD, then you should consult with your family doctor first to rule out medical reasons for your concerns. Assuming there are no medical issues you should arrange for an assessment by a psychologist who will interview you, your child, administer some diagnostic tests and collect information from the school. You will probably be asked to complete a behaviour questionnaire (examples: Conner’s, Achenback, ACters, etc.). Coordinating all of the contributors of information on your child can be cumbersome but I encourage parents to take on this role and act as the “quarterback” in the whole process.

The diagnosis of ADHD is not a simple matter as there is no definitive test or battery of tests for evaluating ADHD. The diagnosis is based on  evaluation of a number of investigations and interpreted by someone with considerable experience. If a diagnosis of ADHD is made, the next question becomes – What do we do about it?   My next blog will address that question.

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+ Behaviour Management

This full day or 2 evening workshop will introduce you […]

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+ Lick Your Kids

  “Lick Your Kids” (figuratively not literally) (2 hours) First […]

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+ A Parent’s Guide to the Teenage Brain

  A teenager’s brain is not just an adult brain […]

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+ Reading Rescue

A program for children with reading problems

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+ Taming a Toddler

Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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2720 Rath Street, Putnam, Ontario

Phone: (519) 485-4678
Fax: (519) 485-0281

Email: info@rickharper.ca


Parents' Comments

“Our psychiatrist recommended Rick to help us sort out behaviour management issues for our autistic son. He was an invaluable help.”

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