There is no biological or standardized test for diagnosing attention deficit disorder, known as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as of 2015, explains WebMD. Instead, the diagnosing doctor may use rating scales, personal interviews, information gathering and school records to examine behavior patterns and confirm an ADHD diagnosis.
An ADHD diagnosis requires evaluation over a period of at least six months. Symptoms, such as inattentive listening, hyperactivity and distractibility, must be present in multiple types of social situations and cannot be related to major life stresses, says WebMD. For example, divorce may cause children to become hyper, distracted or fidgety.
Doctors often order medical, visual or hearing exams to rule out alternative explanations for behavior problems, notes WebMD. Medical conditions such as seizure disorders and hearing issues may cause symptoms similar to ADHD, according to Mayo Clinic.