Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a behavioral disorder that affects between 3-5 percent of the population under 19 years old. It usually shows itself during childhood, presenting with symptoms such as inattention or hyperactivity that seems to appear in patterns, forgetfulness, poor impulse control and being easily distracted.
There have been improvements in diagnosing the condition, with one common tool being the Connors rating scales for Attention Deficit Disorder.
The Conners’ rating scales revised (CRS-R) are just one step towards diagnosis. It consists of paper and pencil questionnaires that are to be filled out by parents and teachers to determine whether or not the child in question may have ADD/ADHD. It is taken to determine a diagnosis for children between the ages of 3 and 17 years old that is exhibiting symptoms.
When using the Conners rating scale, the doctors can assess behaviors that the parents and caregivers have witnessed over periods of time. They will be able to get insight into behaviors that are witnessed by those who interact with the child every day.
There are actually three Conners tests – one for parents, one for teachers and another one for adolescents to rate their own behavior. There are long and short versions of the test and they will take anywhere from 5-30 minutes to complete.
The Conners test is also useful for following up on a child’s progress after diagnosis and starting treatment. The test will essentially be able to help measure degrees of hyperactivity in children through routine testing, get a better perspective on behavior from those who observe it daily, establish a base for starting treatment and to monitor changes over time, and provide a good picture for diagnosis.
The Conners rating scale is very good for diagnosing those with symptoms, and although it can be administered by a non-professional it is important that the results only be interpreted by a professional. And, it is important to remember that, like any screening test, it is not perfect and will be at risk of providing false positives (diagnosis when it is not actually present), and false negatives (no diagnosis when it is in fact present). That is why it can only be one part of the diagnostic process, and many other factors must be considered before giving any diagnosis.
Cases of ADD and ADHD continue to rise, and whether or not that is due to external conditions or simply because there are better diagnostic tools available, it is important to recognize a child with these symptoms and get them on a proper treatment plan. And, just as important as the treatment, is the continuing monitoring and follow-up testing to be sure that they are getting the best possible treatment for their symptoms.
If your child is suspected to be demonstrating symptoms, you will likely come across the Conners Rating Scales for Attention Deficit Disorder at some point during the process of diagnosis.
Encyclopedia o Mental Disorders: Conners’ Rating Scales
Columbia University: Guidelines for Documentation of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
MHS Psychological Assessemnts and Services: Conners’ Adult ADHD Rating Scales
Cornell University Student Disability Services: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Documentation Guidelines
Cleveland Clinic: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adults
Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Pscyhology: Evidence Based Assessment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children and Adolescents