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Conner's Rating Scales Revised

There is no one ADHD test that can definitively identify ADHD in a person.  ADHD is a complex, multi-faceted disorder that is caused by a number of environmental and biological factors. It is only right for an ADHD testing process to be a thorough investigation of all aspects of the patient – the symptoms, the medical history, any related health problems like allergies, and the environment he or she lives in.  Unfortunately, most medical doctors only zero in on the symptoms and make the diagnosis from there, instead of taking time to view the whole picture.   However, looking at the symptoms of a child is a good way to see if he or she will need further testing and a treatment plan for ADHD.

Conner's Rating Scales Revised (CRS-R) is one of the most widely used ADHD tests for ADHD symptoms.  The CRS-R test is typically used in school guidance offices, pediatric clinics, mental health facilities, and juvenile detention facilities. As the name implies, it is a rating test that asks parents, teachers, and the child to report which ADHD symptoms are most frequently experienced. The CRS-R comes in three versions – one for parents, one for teachers, and one for the child.  It also comes in a long version and a short version.  The long version has an 18-item checklist based on the diagnostic criteria from the DSM-IV, whereas the short version has only a 12-item index.

One advantage of using the CRS-R is that it provides a fairly objective measure of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in children and teens.  It is rather difficult to quantify these behaviors, but the structure of the CRS-R enables a professional to measure the severity of the child's symptoms. Through routine screening, the clinician or guidance counselor can easily monitor any improvements.  The CRS-R also serves as a base point for starting treatment, and can help identify hidden co-morbid conditions.

Of course, the CRS-R should be only one of many tests used in the ADHD testing procedure.  As mentioned earlier, the CRS-R can only identify symptoms and their severity; it is not designed to discover what exactly is causing these symptoms.  And while ADHD medications can easily suppress the symptoms, wouldn't it be better if your doctor knew the root cause and cured this instead?  Finally, ADHD also shares the same symptoms with other health problems, like mineral deficiencies.  Relying on a rating scale alone will place your child at great risk for being misdiagnosed.

When you bring your child in for ADHD testing, make sure that the health care professional uses various testing methods to verify your child's condition.  Some specialized ADHD tests may be expensive, but if they can identify the exact cause of your child's symptoms, they might be worth taking.