It is Mental Health Week here in the UK, so I thought it would be good to touch on our experience of living with a child who has ADHD, how we got him diagnosed, and eventually how we got him the help he needed to flourish at school and home! In this post, I will be explaining how we managed to get a diagnosis of ADHD for our 7-year-old youngest child and what happened when we sent him for a QB test.
Living with a child with ADHD can be one of the loneliest things you can experience. You find yourself questioning everything you do as a parent and blaming yourself when things go catastrophically wrong. Relationships are under enormous strain, and families can be torn apart. Understanding ADHD plays a considerable part in coping with ADHD behaviors and their effect on the whole family.
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What Is A QB Test For ADHD?
A QB test is a device used for assessing the core symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Your child will sit at a computer which will determine their ability to concentrate and to keep still over a 15- 20 minute period. The team will fit your child with a small monitor on their head that reports movement and reaction time to a computer. Your child will be asked to respond to geometric shapes which will appear on a computer screen by pressing a responder button. A small camera attached to the computer screen records movement from the reflector worn on your child’s forehead.
My child went into the test room without us, and that seems to be the norm, probably to avoid him from being distracted by anyone or anything.
Are you worried your child may have ADHD?
Are you struggling to cope with a hyperactive child?
If you feel your child may be showing signs of ADHD, I hope this post will help answer any questions you may have about the whole process of getting your child diagnosed with ADHD.
What is ADHD?
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and it is a medical condition. People with ADHD have differences in their brain activity and brain development, affecting impulsivity, self-control, and the ability to sit still for long periods. P
Before I start outlining some of the more common and not so common symptoms of ADHD, I think it is important to highlight some of the amazingly positive sides of ADHD, of which there are many!
Often kids with ADHD get a bad reputation because of their inability to cope with specific situations. Kids with ADHD have many marvelous traits, and their ability to cope with ADHD makes them extraordinary little people.
Positive traits of ADHD
- Amazing personality. Kids with ADHD are usually very charismatic.
- Boundless energy. A child with ADHD will probably be the fastest kid with the most energy in the room, making him great at helping around the house, great at sports, and fun.
- Tenacious. My ADHD kid never gives up. It fascinates me how he will stay on the monkey bars until his hands bleed rather than admit defeat. It’s the thing I most admire in him.
- Daring, There is no tree too high to climb or no height too high to jump from. The scary part of parenting a child with ADHD!
- Bold ADHD kids are not afraid of anything or anyone.
- Confident. My child will talk to anyone anywhere!
- Independent. From a young age, my little one would not let me do anything for him, and he never wants or needs help with anything.
- Helpful. He will do anything for anyone, as long as it’s his idea!
- Kind. Every week he asks if he can take his teacher a bunch of flowers, it’s his favorite thing to do.
- Clever. With an appetite to learn and figure out puzzles, anagrams, word games, and maths puzzles.
- Inquisitive. You may find your child constantly asking questions.
- Bright. They are usually a very sunny person to be around when they are not having a meltdown!
- Funny. My son is always able to make me laugh.
- Caring Very affectionate and caring towards others.
- Engaging Likes to chat and socialize with others.
- Social Friendly, and outgoing.
- Affectionate Likes to cuddle and snuggle.
- Loving towards other family members and animals.
- Loyal will protect siblings when push comes to shove.
- Intelligent. Can problem-solve like no other kid I know, quick to learn time and money problems.
- Quick thinkers, you can’t pull the wool over his eyes or dupe him. My son knew if I were fibbing to him from a very young age, he would pull me up about it!
- Good at problem-solving and enjoys finding a solution to any problem
- Quick-witted, can pick up on things and turn them into a joke, good at mimicking people too, although this is very irritating when it’s directed in the wrong way.
- Good negotiators. Will try to negotiate till the cows come home!
- Being disorganized.
Someone with ADHD may have problems organizing their belongings. They may seem to leave a trail of possessions wherever they go. Often losing things and not being able to find things. This is particularly noticeable among small children when trying to get dressed!
- Unable to deal with change.
Someone with ADHD may be very rigid in their thinking and unable to cope well with change. You may see small children who cannot cope when plans change and have a meltdown at the slightest change in their expectations of how the day should go.
A person with ADHD may seem very fidgety and often cannot control their movements resulting in chair kicking, arms flailing, and inability to sit still for any length of time.
- Heightened feelings of injustice or things being unfair.
A child with ADHD may be unable to move past a situation that they feel is unfair or where they have been misjudged. This can often lead to heated outbursts and tantrums.
- Poor impulse control
People with ADHD often have poor impulse control, which may see them lash out, shout and become aggressive, which they later feel very remorseful for. You may find that a child with ADHD may be more prone to hitting, pushing, biting, or kicking when they don’t get their own way. This may continue way past the toddler stage and may be misinterpreted as bad behavior rather than poor impulse control.
- Lack of understanding of consequences
You may find that a child with ADHD will run across a road without thinking about their own safety. Or display naughty behavior without thinking about the consequences.
- Mood swings
People with ADHD can often get frustrated when things don’t go their way. This may lead to violent outbursts and mood swings or temper tantrums.
People with ADHD often find it very difficult to focus their attention for even short periods unless they are deeply interested in something, which often leads to them being hyper-focused on a task and unable to leave it.
- Bright and clever
Despite being disruptive in class and lacking focus, children with ADHD are often clever and quick to learn.
- Non-compliant and stubborn
Children with ADHD may seem stubborn and unwilling to compromise. They may need to be told many times to do something before doing it.
Often children with ADHD may seem to behave in a less mature way than their peers, making it difficult for them to make and keep friends at school.
- Difficulty making and keeping friends.
Often children with ADHD find it difficult to make and keep friends. This can be due to their immaturity and lack of empathy towards others.
- Over emotional
The slightest thing can set off a total meltdown, similar to a toddler not getting their own way or getting the wrong colored cup, so can something so trivial flip the switch with a child with ADHD.
- Unable to deal with change
Children with ADHD thrive well with a routine. Although they may display chaotic behavior, they don’t like change.
They cope better when they know what’s happening and when.
The difficulty in our house is when plans change at the last minute. It causes a huge meltdown no matter how small the change is. It can often be a minefield trying to pre-empt the day’s events and not make any plans, no matter how small we can’t keep.
Getting Referred For A QB Test For ADHD
What to do if you think your child has ADHD
Seek medical help at your GP
Take a list of all your child’s challenging behaviors and speak to your GP. I wrote three A4 side pages about everything I was struggling with and let my GP read through them while we were there.
Discussing your child’s testing behavior is very emotive and can have the strongest of parents in tears. Writing everything down rather than having to talk about it stopped me from ending up in an emotional mess in front of my little one.
Take your child to the appointment with you.
I decided to take my child with me to the first GP visit purely because I knew that he would not be able to sit. Still, I made sure he didn’t have an iPad or anything else to keep him calm. And as expected, he was climbing the walls by the time the appointment was over. I felt this allowed the GP to see that he genuinely could not control his impulses and that we were not just talking about misbehavior.
Talk to your child’s school.
Your child’s teacher will need to answer a questionnaire regarding your child’s behavior at school, which will help with a diagnosis. The hospital needs to receive this form before allowing your child to have a QB test for ADHD. It’s best to keep your child’s teacher in the loop so that they know to expect the questionnaire.
Should the GP decide that your child meets the criteria, they will then send your child for an assessment for ADHD, followed by a QB test for ADHD. A QB test is a standard ADHD test for children.
We got an appointment to see an ADHD nurse after about a month. We went through the same motions as we did with the GP, and she asked very in-depth questions about family history, our home life, etc.
During this appointment, our son got very irritable and could not sit still. The nurse repeatedly told him to sit still, but anyone with a child with ADHD will know that they can’t sit still and be quiet, especially in such a clinical environment!
We were offered to attend a parenting course at this stage, which we decided to decline as we had already tried everything we could to help our child. They advised us to read the book The Incredible Years by Carolyn Webster-Stratton, which had some great tips for discipline and a few other minor tweaks to help with challenging behaviors.
After approximately an hour, the nurse decided our child met the criteria to go for a QB test for ADHD
An appointment was scheduled for approximately three months.
The QB test for ADHD will likely take place at your local hospital or clinic.
Here is a quick video to show you what happens during a QB test.
Results Of The QB Test
We had to wait approximately two months for the QB test result. We had an appointment with a very understanding consultant. She kindly ran through the results of the QB test with us and explained everything in very easy-to-understand terms. For a QB test sample and learn a little more about the QB test for ADHD, click here.
The results are analyzed and compared to a group of people of the same age and gender who do not have ADHD. Together with the other clinical information and school reports, this test will assess whether the child has ADHD.
The consultant explained that children with ADHD have difficulty concentrating the longer they are doing the test and that their reaction time was also delayed the longer they are doing the test. This was reflected in our child’s results.
Here is an example of test results from a 7-year-old boy without ADHD and a 7-year-old boy with ADHD-like symptoms.
After chatting to the consultant for over an hour, she discussed our options, which were either to start on medication, see how it worked, return after three months, or carry on as we had been doing and maybe do a parenting course.
We had many concerns about medication, and we had taken a list of questions regarding ADHD medication, which she answered thoroughly.
ADHD can often be made worse by clutter and visual clutter. To read more about decluttering your home, read this post. To learn how to reduce visual noise in your home, read this post.
Frequently asked Q&A
The first step to getting you or your child tested for ADHD is to visit your GP. Be honest with your GP about your struggles every day, no matter how bad they are. Don’t be afraid to write everything down before you go in, so you don’t miss anything. It is pretty nerve-wracking, especially if you are talking about your child, so it might be a good idea to take someone in with you who knows your child well, such as a partner or grandparent, as they will be able to ask questions you may have forgotten.
QB stands for quantitative behavior, so basically a measurement of behavior over a set time.
QB testing is free in the UK if referred by an ADHD specialist. Follow the steps outlined in this post to get your child assessed for ADHD if you suspect they are showing typical signs.
Our test results were very predictable from observing our child over the years. He was a little fidgety in the first quarter, but his responses were speedy. However, towards the middle of the test, he was inattentive, missing many shapes, and very fidgety. This helped put things into perspective for us and helped us to understand his academic struggles and poor performance at school, even though we knew how bright he was.
Your child will have a monitor or reflector attached to their forehead, reflecting their movements to a camera situated above the computer screen. Your child will be asked to click a button each time they see one of the shapes appear on the screen. The test lasts approximately 15 to 20 minutes. The test will check how attentive they are after each quarter of the test.
We didn’t get our test results back for a few months. After that, we got an appointment with the ADHD specialist, who talked us through our options moving forward.
In the UK, a QB test for ADHD is done through your GP and a hospital visit.
By your GP, who will maybe refer you to see a specialist, you may then get referred. You will be assessed by various professionals and then sent for a QB test for ADHD, depending on whether they feel you meet the criteria. The QB test will then check your behavior over a 20 minute period, which will assess your attention, reaction time, and accuracy.
Unfortunately, ADHD still has a lot of stigmas attached to it, and it can be difficult for some people to believe it’s an actual medical condition. We ran into many people who still put our child’s behavior down to mischief or lack of boundaries. This can be very frustrating and hurtful, especially when it may be from friends and family. Go to your go and get a formal diagnosis, show him the results of your QB test and explain what they mean if you haven’t already. Explain to him that a lack of dopamine causes this. The more he understands ADHD, the more likely he will empathize with you.
If you think you may have ADHD, it is advisable to see your GP rather than trying to diagnose yourself online. They may refer you for a QB or ADHD computer test.
The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, and it is not fully understood. However, ADHD does tend to run in families. It is thought that the genes you inherit from your parents play a factor in whether or not you have ADHD. People with siblings with ADHD or autism are more likely to have ADHD.
It is also suggested that there may be an imbalance in the neurotransmitters in the brain or that the brain area may be smaller in people with ADHD. It is also indicated that there may be a chemical imbalance.
It’s not as simple as passing or failing the QB test. Many different pointers are taken into consideration during this process. You will be assessed, and then they will combine your results with other information collected from other professionals for discussion by the consultant.
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