ADHD in children: Symptoms & evaluation tips

April 29, 2024| Guides

Disclaimer: This is a quick reference guide and is in no way a substitute for clinical training. The purpose of this document is to give clinicians a bird’s eye view of what to expect when interpreting an objective ADHD test.

What are the symptoms of ADHD in children?

ADHD in children includes the three main symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. However, every child is different, not all symptoms may be present, and they may appear differently.

Symptoms of impulsivity and hyperactivity in children may be seen in behaviors such as:

  • Excessive talking and interrupting
  • Restlessness and fidgeting
  • Impatience and disruptiveness

Inattention may appear in:

  • Difficulty following instructions and completing tasks
  • Making mistakes
  • Forgetfulness and losing things

Why is objective testing used for the evaluation of childhood ADHD?

Subjective measures (rating scales, clinical interviews, and reports from parents, teachers, and the child) all help you to build up a picture of your patient’s symptoms and how these affect them.

However, reports can vary between sources (different experiences at home and school). It can also be difficult for patients and the adults around them to provide a clear picture of symptoms that is medically sufficient to make a diagnosis.

Using objective measures such as QbTest, alongside subjective measures, can provide you with additional data to make a diagnosis.

What is objective testing?

Objective testing can also be used for treatment management. Bijlenga et al. (2015) report that the objective ADHD test QbTest showed clinical improvement in more patients than when ADHD-RS was used.

Using QbTest and QbCheck with children

Disclaimer: This content here is for reference purposes only and is in no way a substitute for clinical training. The purpose of this document is to give you a bird’s eye view of what to expect when you interpreting your patient’s objective test, e.g. QbTest and QbCheck.

Our ADHD tests are for use by clinicians alongside subjective measures with children aged six or over.

Tips for using computerized objective ADHD tests with children

Create a positive test environment

Ensure the room is free from distractions and quiet, without bright lighting or direct sunlight.

Optimize the equipment

Close other windows and programs on your machine and make sure you have a continuous power supply and internet connection.

Make sure the child is comfortable and understands the task.

Taking an ADHD test is an unfamiliar and possibly daunting experience. Make sure that the child understands what is expected of them and is ready.

We provide clinicians with a short video that they can show to children to help prepare them for the test. Before taking a QbTest or QbCheck, there is also a 40-second practice test that the child will need to pass with 30% accuracy or more to proceed.

Avoid having parents in the room during the objective test.

The presence of parents in the test room can distract a child or impact results. It is recommended not to have parents in the room unless absolutely necessary.

In the US, our in-clinic objective ADHD tests are often carried out without anyone in the room. Some clinicians like to use an intercom or monitor system so that they can communicate without entering the room. This can help to get the child back on track if they disengage from the test.

In the UK, healthcare teams will likely stay in the room with the child.

Use reports from objective tests to aid family and patient discussion.

Reports from QbTest and QbCheck are highly visual and can be useful for helping your patients and their families understand how symptoms affect behaviors.

Interpreting objective ADHD tests: A clinician’s reference guide

Dealing with parental concerns and queries around objective ADHD testing

When a family is referred for an ADHD evaluation, there can be a lot of parental anxiety and concern.

Parental concerns are understandable. However, objective tests have been found to be an effective tool for assessing ADHD alongside subjective measures. A 2018 study by Hollis et al. compared results for children (aged 6-17) with and without a QbTest report. Where clinicians had access to the results of the objective test they were more likely to reach a diagnostic decision about ADHD.

My child plays video games, will this affect the ADHD test?

No – although the test is computer based, familiarity or expertise with computer games does not give a child an advantage or expertise with the objective test.

Can my child fake their ADHD test?

A ‘faked’ performance (non-responsiveness, malingering, etc.) is normally relatively easy to spot. The objective test is one of several measures used to diagnose ADHD. So, if a child’s performance is inconsistent in the objective test, this should be apparent.

Support with ADHD evaluation in children

Our expert clinical advisor team can provide support to QbTest clients to help interpret reports. This can be a valuable resource when reviewing more complex cases.

Contact us to find out more about using our objective test to evaluate ADHD in children

Related Blogs

20 May

Which subjective measures should I use alongside objective ADHD tests?

A robust ADHD assessment process is one that combines objective and subjective measures to get a balanced and holistic understanding...
20 May

Understanding our normative database for ADHD testing

Our FDA-cleared ADHD tests QbTest and QbCheck use a normative database to benchmark test results. The normative database allows you...
20 May

Preparing your patients for an objective ADHD test

It’s natural for patients to be nervous about a medical evaluation, especially if they are expecting a potential diagnosis. Most people...