The assessment process

The assessment of ADHD is a long and complex process that consists of several phases: direct observation, clinical interviews and questionnaires, medical examination, behavioural assessment which can often use ABC charts.

The ABC charts are a part of the Functional Behavioural Analysis (FBA) and they provide useful functional data to facilitate the planning of interventions linked to understanding specific targeted behaviours.

If you think a child has ADHD you need to contact the appropriate health professionals for a diagnosis. The information gathered from this application is not a true diagnosis of ADHD. This diagnosis can only be made by a suitable qualified and trained health professional.


One of the most useful techniques in the FBA approach is to gather accurate information bit generally and specifically about behaviours that have been actually observed and effectively recorded. This information can be used to look deeper into the patterns of the individual’s behaviour and gather further specific information. It also provides a useful comparison with the actual classroom peer group.

Initially we need to gather clear and concise descriptions of the actual behaviour we are observing. The clarity will help observers to correctly identify the behaviours they are recording. The clarity will also lead to a better understanding between the professionals and the caretakers of the child.

It is important to identify which part of the child’s behaviours is significant and needs observing. By breaking down the behaviours operation into fine details we can focus on where and when it occurs, who is involved, who elicits what and specifically what are the things that cause the actual triggering of the child.

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Interviews and questionnaires

Both parents and teachers play a significant role in the assessment process as the can help to identify the significant behaviours and the drives that may be powering them. They also have a good knowledge of the pupil’s social world and how personal relationships may affect them. Because of this they are often involved in clinical interviews and asked to complete standardised questionnaires or rating scales that investigate behaviour and social functioning.

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Around the problem

A fundamental step in the assessment of the process is identifying typical ABCs for a specific problematic behaviour. This procedure allows clinicians, teachers and parents to obtain a clear and shared framework in which the problem behaviour occurs. What are the events before the specific behaviour occur (Antecedents) and what events that happen after the challenging behaviours are linked to it (Consequences). Using the ABC approach it is possible to derive a workable hypothesis about the specific function of the behaviour and to create plans to prevent the problem from recurring. There are two possible approaches. One is functional and the other is contextual. Generally functional hypothesis leads therapist to plan interventions that allow the patients to learn alternative more functional behaviour strategies. While contextual hypothesis imply developing interventions that have the aim of systematically modifying antecedents (A) and consequences (C) to create the desired change.

Learn More About ABC

Learn More About ABC

Useful links to learn more about the ABC approach and the use of ABC charts.

Jim Wright: How To: Write Behavior Statements to Identify Causes of Child Behavior Problems

Intervention Central

Antecedents - Behavior - Consequence (ABC's)

Welcome to Behaviorbabe

How is the Antecedent-Behavior-Consequence (ABC) Chart used?

The University of Kansas

Why should I chart my child’s behavior?

Nemours. Health & Prevention Services

Hamilton Health Sciences

ICT solutions

Different ICT solutions today replace traditional paper observational charts to help save time and provide more accurate, reliable patient records. To learn more about ICT tools for ADHD use the following selection.

Learn more about ICT solutions for ADHD monitoring
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