Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD?

Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD? – Dr. Kat Lewitzke of Bright Pine Behavioral Health in Clarkston offers tips & advice for parents concerned that their child may have ADHD or were perhaps misdiagnosed as having ADHD.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults. Symptoms and severity may vary person to person. Additionally, because symptoms of ADHD may mirror symptoms of other disorders, and because we are witness to many misdiagnoses, it is important to have your child evaluated by a trained psychologist for an accurate diagnosis.

Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD? – Symptoms of ADHD

Individuals with ADHD may exhibit difficulty paying attention and completing multi-step directions. This can create issues with school, behavior, and relationships. Common symptoms of ADHD include:

Males are more often diagnosed, but women are often misdiagnosed. That is because symptoms can appear differently between boys and girls.

Superficially, while inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity can be seen between both genders, girls more often may only exhibit inattentiveness; which can go un-diagnosed or even misdiagnosed.

Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD? Ruling Out Other Disorders

When ruling out for ADHD, it is also important to assess and evaluate for other diagnoses; specifically, autism, anxiety, and depression. That is because similar symptoms can be present, and a misdiagnosis can be detrimental to the child. High functioning autism, anxiety, and depression in children can all cause issues with behavior and school.

Too often, children with high functioning autism either go undiagnosed, or mislabeled as ADHD. A misdiagnosed child with high functioning autism may be having difficulty maintaining friendships and with following directions, which may further frustrate the child and worsen their issues.

Additionally, children do not express themselves the same as adults, which is why a child with anxiety or depression may have difficulty paying attention and staying focused, or acting out defiantly, rather than displaying tearfulness and sadness. A child who has been with multiple caregivers may actually be suffering from an attachment disorder, which could manifest as symptoms of ADHD. The same goes for trauma and abuse.

A child may even be “gifted” and exhibiting impulsivity as a means for stimulation, or inattentiveness in school when she is actually bored.

Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD? Getting Proper Psychological Testing By A Psychologist

A child can be evaluated by the school, but parents should seek additional testing by an outside neuropsychologist.

Schools only have enough funding to cover basic testing which may be limited to a cognitive assessment, academic testing, and objecting ratings by teachers and parents.

A neuropsychologist is trained in a variety of tests, and can provide a more thorough evaluation.

Furthermore, schools are only required to re-assess a child every three years, whereas a psychologist in private practice can re-evaluate the child annually.
A parent can also choose to have the child evaluated both at school and with a neuropsychologist.

The psychologist can incorporate the school’s findings into the child’s evaluation by adding more tests the school does not have access to. Such tests can provide a more in depth understanding of the child’s executive functioning skills (i.e., skills used to plan and organize), as well as emotional difficulties the child may be experiencing (i.e., depression, anxiety).

The psychologist may also have the parents complete various questionnaires, and may want to evaluate the interaction between child and parent. Contact Bright Pine Behavioral Health in Clarkston clinic for more information and how we can help you get the most accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for you or your loved ones.


Bright Pine Behavioral Health Clarkston
6060 Dixie Highway, Suite H
Clarkston, MI 48346

Is Your Child Misdiagnosed With ADHD? For more info, call our friends at Bright Pine Behavioral Health at 248-455-6619 or visit

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