Updated Research on ADHD Diagnosis – What’s in the numbers?

I was intrigued by the article on ADHD posted on PsychCentral yesterday: ADHD Diagnosis up 29% in Children, Teens. Over the years, people ask me if I think ADHD is overdiagnosed and my usual reply is that I see better diagnostic tools, more families seeking out early diagnosis to help their children as well as a growing public understanding of ADHD and related symptoms.  It was validating to read this passage from the post: Dr. Lara Akinbami, the lead author of the new report and a medical officer at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, cautioned against reading too much into the new numbers, however: “I would say that most probably what we found has a lot to do with better access to health care among a broader group of children, and doctors who have become more and more familiar with this condition and now have better tools to screen for it. So, this is probably about better screening, rather than a real increase, and that means we may continue to see this pattern unfold.” In our ADHD coach training courses, we stress that a diagnosis is not required in order for a person to be coached.  Anyone can benefit from coaching if they are ready and willing to be coached. With that said, a proper ADHD screening, as noted above, is a excellent way for parents and their children and teens to have a better understanding of what might be getting in the way of their learning and success.