Diagnostic Experiences of Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

A new NCHS report describes the diagnostic experiences of a sample of children in the United States diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as of 2011–2012.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • The median age at which children with ADHD were first diagnosed with the disorder was 7 years; one-third were diagnosed before age 6. Children with ADHD were diagnosed by a wide variety of health care providers, including primary care physicians and specialists.
  • Regardless of age at diagnosis, the majority of children (53.1%) were first diagnosed by primary care physicians. Notable differences were found by age at diagnosis for two types of specialists.
  • Children diagnosed before age 6 were more likely to have been diagnosed by a psychiatrist, and those diagnosed at ages 6 and over were more likely to have been diagnosed by a psychologist.
  • Among children diagnosed with ADHD, the initial concern about a child’s behavior was most commonly expressed by a family member (64.7%), but someone from school or daycare first expressed concern for about one-third of children later diagnosed with ADHD (30.1%).
  • For approximately one out of five children (18.1%), only family members provided information to the child’s doctor during the ADHD assessment.

 

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