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ADHD is a clinical diagnoses. It is a diagnosis reached by a clinician who performs a careful history (and physical examination), and who is familiar with the accepted diagnostic criteria for those conditions.

No one diagnostic test reliably confirms the diagnosis. Standardized psychological or behavioral test instruments (e.g., the NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scales, Conner's Questionnaire, Hawthorne Scale, the Pediatric Symptom Checklist, the WISC-III, or the Child Behavior Check List) are tools which may complement the history and physical examination in determining whether or not a child meets diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Computer-based measures of distractibility performing computer tasks have also been used to identify the child with certain behavioral characteristics common in ADHD. Both behavioral questionnaires and computerized tests can be used to monitor response to medication, but are not essential.