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What Testing Are Public School Required to Do??

If a child is having problems in school, are public school required to test the child for ADHD at a parents request? Or does the parent need to seek outside sources to test?

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Only a medical doctor can diagnose ADHD. School can provide a screening to see if ADHD tendacies are observed at school by the child's teachers.

ADHD and ADD are medical diagnosis. A school canNOT test for these. A doctor has to make that diagnosis. A school can test for learning disabilities.

I taught in a public school for 7 years, and it was my understanding that ADHD was not something we were able to test for, and in most cases a teacher wasn't supposed to bring it up unless the parent asked. There are things a school tests for: learning disabilities like dyslexia and others, speech, seeing and hearing, but not usually ADHD. At least in my experience, that was something the parent took the child to the doctor to discuss. Good luck!

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The school district is not required to diagnose your child. Depending on where you live, your district might offer basic diagnostic services. I strongly recommend that you contact your pediatrician. He/she can make recommendations for extensive diagnosis and ongoing care. If you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, you should consider Scottish Rite Hospital. They have a wonderful diagnostic department.

When my two boys were in elementary school, the teachers "diagnosed" them as having ADHD because they didn't want to sit still when the teachers wanted them to. They were bored! When the teachers finally decided to observe their behaviors, they gave the boys extra help assignment to keep them engaged during class time. It worked. Be careful about the term "having problems", especially if that's the term the teacher uses. Most teachers are not flexible in their approach to the individual children. Children are naturally curious and are not designed to sit behind a desk receiving lectures. They want to experience life and learn by doing.

If you do have your child tested, and if it's determined that your child has ADHD or any other special need, you will need to STAY ON TOP OF THE SCHOOL!! The schools in my district talk a good story, and don't force the teachers to follow the IEP (individual education plan). They are required BY LAW to offer the accommodations that your doctor recommends, but you won't know whether or not they do unless your child tells you. Call meetings to stay on top of the plan, and don't be bullied by the Principal or other administration. You have the right to speak with the core education team any time you perceive a problem with your child.

Best of luck.

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I've never known a school who didn't cooperate with ADD testing---which in my experience is nothing more than the Conner questionnaire. The teachers and the parents will answer the questions and then send you to the pediatrician. The pediatrician will usually look at the documents and write you a prescription. Maybe it might go differently for you, but I'd be SHOCKED.

Please consider looking at the root source of the problem and truly solving it instead of medicating it.


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The school district should provide the testing to determine if your child qualifies for special ed services. You should speak with the school counselor or diagnostician. The school will only do testing to determine if there is a learning disability or performance discrepancy between the child's IQ and the child's achievement with school work. This is what qualifies the student for special ed services. ADD and ADHD are medical conditions and as such must be diagnosed by a physician. Having said that I would have the school test for a learning disability. Students with learning disabilities often present like students with ADD or ADHD. The school testing is a good place to start.

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It has been 6 years since I took my child out of public school. When we thought there may be a problem I spoke to the school counselor. My child was not a behavior problem, he would just sit there and look at everything in the room if there was not someone there to keep him focused. The counselor gave both the teacher and I a sheet to fill out and give back to her, then she went over it. After she looked it over we had a meeting in which she said that it was possible that he could be ADD. I want to stress that she did not diagnose as only a medical professional can. Eight years ago you could go to your family doctor/pediatrician. I don't know what the protocols are for today but I would start with the school counselor and go from there. Also, another piece of advice she gave me was that if your child is truly ADD/ADHD the medication will work otherwise it will have no effect and then you will know that it is something else. Good luck from someone who has been there.

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I would highly recommend Dr. Peter Ray in Dallas as someone who could help you figure out if your child has ADD or ADHD. He is an expert with these kids and he's supposed to be amazing at figuring out the medication part of it if you choose that direction.

Also, take the report he gives you (or whoever you go to) to your school and ask for services to help your child. They might not be able to diagnose (and most of the time you don't really want them to because they have their own interests to look after) but they do have to provide your child services if he needs it. You can request anything that will help your child be a better student at school. For example with test taking, which is a big one, you can ask for him to be in a quiet room, if your child doesn't get enought physical activity during the school day or if he melts down when he gets overstimulated you can ask for whatever you think will help him in those situations.

But without a diagnosis in hand you won't be able to get these things. And I second the advice to not go to your pediatrician for this. Just my past experience and it sounds like alot of other people feel the same way.

Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello J.,

My sons teacher in 1st grade ask me to have him tested. She said the school has a list to give the parents more like a check list. But anyhow she said you take it home and write down what you think the answers are, its questions like, Does your son sit in one place very long? or When he is working does he have to get up and move round during this time? Is he able to complete task giving?... those type of questions. The teacher has a simular list to do as well what she see's They are not reqired to test them that is up to a Doctor but, once the list is over on both parent and teacher then you take both of them to the doctor and he will make a decision weather or not to go further with any testing. Fornately my son wasn't. It might be your son is just bored with the teacher or the work. If he already knows the work then he is bored and has already done all of this. Don't sit there and let teachers put a label on your child let the doctor do it, but, it is ok to have them checked out We did find out my son has Dyslexia here is a web site that can help if it comes to needing information about it. http://www.neurofeedbackholiday.com/dyslexia.htm Kids with this DO have learning diablities. Good luck


1 mom found this helpful

Schools do not test children for ADHD or ADD. They are not even allowed to suggest it. You will need to see your child's doctor for that.

There is not test for ADHD. It is a clinical diagnosis that only a medical doctor can make. The teachers can tell you if hey see characteristics of ADHD. Many schools have check lists the doctor will want to see. Sometimes the doctors have their own check list. ADHD is a condition, until it has a significant educational impact it is not a disability. Many children have ADHD and with medication can succeed in the classroom with extra support. If you child needs modifications, those can be obtained through 504 or alternative services. Districts call them different things. Special education is only for most severe. Most districts do Response to Intervention (RtI) for special education. It is part of IDEiA 2004. District must try research based interventions to determine if they will help your child before a referral to special education. It is very detailed and confusing. Many people many offer advice based on the way special education used to do things, but the new law completely changed how schools do things for learning disabilities and ADHD (which is covered under Other Health Impaired) Talk to your school, they will know how it is done.

They are required to review it for testing. I'm having issues of another nature with mine. 1st keep a diary. Ask for him to be tested in writing. Send that request to his teacher, the counselor, the diagnostian (if you know who it is at your school-it should be on file) and the principal at the school. Follow up. I have attached a link for the special education handbook from the state of Texas. I hope it helps.


My understanding is that as a parent you have the right to request that your child be tested. I would put it in writting and do a continueal follow up. You may need a letter from your Dr. saying that your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. It's up to the school to test your child to find out where their weakest ability are. Good Luck and stay on top of this.

I've just glanced at the remarks so I won't repeat what's been said, but I would recommend the book Potatoes Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons.


You would be surprised at how sensitive kids are to food dyes & food additives & preservatives, those things the FDA doesn't test and claim are "generally recognized as safe." Also consider getting your child tested for food allergies if you haven't already.

Mom of 3 ages 7, 5 & 3

I am a school counselor.

We are not required to test a child at all by parent request. There has to be an observable educational need for any testing. The other responders are correct in that ADD/ADHD is not a test that we do at all. We recommend that you talk to your dr. (not necessarily a counselor/psychologist, though they can do it as well) and see if they have any specific tests (some dr.'s use a specific scale, but there is not a scientific test for it -- it's all based on question and answer -- answers that you can choose to word in a more positive ADHD response or a more negative ADHD response) or forms for the parent AND the teachers to fill out.
Once the diagnosis has been made by a dr., you can take that to the school and request further testing (once again if there is an educational need). I.e. if an outside source shows that there is a learning disability or dyslexia, then the school is forced to check further into it.

For example, Johnny seems to have ADHD and cannot control himself. However, he is passing all of his classes. So there isn't an educational need.

If Johnny was doing the same things, but his grades were consistently dropping, then there may be some signs of educational need.

If it's severe enough that the student is totally disruptive in class on a consistent basis, a psychological consult can be made to give ideas for the teacher and parents in handling this child. If it escalates or continues, then the child could end up being referred to a BIC unit for behavior/emotional disturbance issues..............even then there MUST be an educational need.

I have 2 students that we are going through the behavioral issues with right now, so I'm pretty familiar with the process.

I'll also add that Scottish Rite is excellent. In Fort Worth we use their methods for our dyslexia testing and learning process. We also have inclusion in our sp. ed. classes, so there isn't a content mastery class anymore. Some people think a diagnosis to get into sp. ed. is a "cure all" because then they won't be responsible for everything. However, even TAKS has now been changed so that sp. ed. students are tested on their grade level........so benefits for being diagnosed are limited to some accommodations/modifications to the classroom and testing environment.

I hope this helps. If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help.


Schools cannot diagnose ADHD since it is a medical condition. They do have a symptoms checklist that they can go over with you, but cannot legally diagnose that. I taught special ed for 8 years and suggest that if you believe your child's behavior is so severe that he would need either medication or modifications at school then you would need a diagnosis from a doctor (however the school can help you prepare for the doctor visit by filling out the checklists on their end- then the doc can see what the teacher is noticing as well).

Only a medical doctor can diagnose ADHD. School can provide a screening to see if ADHD tendacies are observed at school by the child's teachers.

A public school administrator/teacher could only suspect-not diagnose ADHD. My son has ADHD and there is a lot of testing that needs to be done before putting a child on a controlled substance. However, if you are not a believer in regulating medication, or prefer not to use it-you could change your childs diet, nutrition, and add vitamins and see if that helps out. Sometimes a child does not actually have ADHD, but a teacher will bring up he/she might, when actually the child just has no structured discipline at home and is in reality, simply badly behaved. My oldest son (14) was diagnosed at age 6 with ADHD. He couldn't be still in kindergarten, and his teacher brought it up to me. I didn't want to put him on meds, so tried chiropractic and adjusting diet. But, by first grade he had developed a tick of blinking his eye, then tapping his foot when he was at his desk, then moving his arms all the time. When I took him to the Dr.(not a psychologist-but a pediatrician who specialized in ADHD), they did an assessment, took blood, had his teachers fill out observational forms, and then started with a low dose medication. Now, he is still on the medication and the brands/dosages had to be adjusted as he aged, but there is a major noticeable difference when he is versus not on his medication. He was also diagnosed with a learning disability in first grade. He had speech trouble, reading/comprehension disibility-and those WERE and CAN be diagnosed by your school. They should have an ARD office, and you could contact the school and ask the counselor what steps to take to have your child diagnosed if that is a concern. Then, they have speech therapy, reading recovery, content mastery-all offered by the district, at and during your childs school hours which were and still are a great help for my son. Good Luck!

the school can test for special education after the teacher refers the child and excessive paperwork is done.

I just contacted my son's school counselor last week about testing him for ADD and she told me they aren't allowed to test for it. That it needed to be done my his pediatrician.

HI J.,
When we tested both my kids, I went to the school and talked to the councler. She gave us two question and answer forms. One for me, One for my husband. Then the teacher got one. We never knew what the teacher had written and my husband and I were supposed to do our seperate. Once that was done it was turned back in. Then we had to make a doctors appt. The results were sent to their doctor. I'm not sure what school district your in but make an appt with your childs counclor.
Hope this helps

If parents request testing the district has to deem there is a need for furthur testing so if you have a dr's not saying that they feel the child has it then the you have provided a need for furthur testing...but they do not test for ADHD only the effects the ADHD has on the childs ability to learn or behavior problems that affect the childs ability to learn...

Good luck
A. J

Schools do not diagnose ADHD. They have forms that the teacher fills out along with the parent which you can take to your doctor to assist your doctor in determining if your child has ADHD or not. If you were to get a medical diagnosis you can take that to your child's school to see if he needs any additional services/accommodation to help him be successful. There are many approaches to treating ADHD; medication, diet modification, herbal treatments, and many things parents can do at home like having a set daily routine and getting your child to bed early.

Schools do not test for ADHD nor do they ask you to have your child tested for it. This something you will have to handle on your own with your own doctor.

ADHD and ADD are medical diagnosis. A school canNOT test for these. A doctor has to make that diagnosis. A school can test for learning disabilities.

I taught in a public school for 7 years, and it was my understanding that ADHD was not something we were able to test for, and in most cases a teacher wasn't supposed to bring it up unless the parent asked. There are things a school tests for: learning disabilities like dyslexia and others, speech, seeing and hearing, but not usually ADHD. At least in my experience, that was something the parent took the child to the doctor to discuss. Good luck!

I don't think they can do it w/o your request. ask your school nurse and counselor. UNT is doing a ADHD study I am sending you the link: ____@____.com

Like the others said, talk to your pediatrician about ADD or ADHD. But if you think he's having some other issues, like a learning disability then you can ask the school.

Scottish Rite is good, like the other poster said. But if your child is having focus issues, that could be something else altogether, and could be a learning disability, like dyslexia or Asperger's or something else.

Hi J.! The district that I worked in wouldn't even allow us, the teacher, to approach the parents to discuss that we think the child may have ADHD and should be tested. We had to wait and be approached by the parents and then we could say what behaviors we saw and that it could be a possibility. But the school does not test for ADHD. It is a medical condition and must be treated by a physician. The dr. will give you and the teacher a questionaire to be filled out and returned.

I agree with the posters that said you should see a doctor about having your child tested for ADHD. HOWEVER, I would NOT suggest the pediatrician. The child should really be evaulated by a psychiatrist. General doctors and pediatricians have a tendency to medicate without fully understanding the problem. Psychiatrists are trained to look at all factors and not just a few.

The school cannot test the child for ADHD. They can do a screening to see if the child has any of the signs of ADHD, but they cannot give a diagnosis. This has to be done by a physician. You can ask to talk to the school counselor or diagnostician and they may be able to refer you to a physician who works with kids with potential ADHD. The diagnostician at my school is very helpful and has lots of resources. Every school should have a diagnostician (who is a specially trained teacher)at least part-time. Good luck!

ADHD is a medical diagnosis, which must be made by a medical doctor. The school does not cover medical testing - it is strictly the parent's responsibility.


There is a specific test for ADD/ADHD. It is a brain scan. I believe they use an CAT scan, but it could be an MRI. You need to seek out a nurologist that specifically diagnoses and treats children with ADD/ADHD. Good luck to you.

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