Free Online ADHD Tests may do more harm than good to your child. here's why.

If you suspect that your child has ADHD, it’s natural to seek a fast diagnosis. This might lead you to try an online ADHD test, as these tests can be taken immediately and are often cheaper than in-person testing.

But the convenience of online ADHD tests, even those certified by reputable organisations, does not outweigh the value of seeking an in-person diagnosis from specialists. This is because most free online tests lack the rigour of face-to-face assessments. In the worst-case scenario, online tests could result in misdiagnosis that delay children from receiving the support they need to thrive in school and at home.

To unpack the potential harm caused by online ADHD tests, we first need to highlight the factors required for an accurate ADHD assessment.

How to accurately diagnose adhd in children

As the symptoms of ADHD in children can present differently, a detailed psychological assessment is needed to determine whether a child has the condition. This involves having a psychologist gather and analyse a range of information about your child’s behaviours, family history and the home environment, through interviews with both you and your child. This is crucial to help the psychologist gain a clear understanding of the challenges your child is experiencing.

A range of internationally recognised tests are then conducted to determine whether your child meets the criteria for ADHD. If your child is in school, their school reports and work will also be assessed.

Generally, this process is robust and extensive enough to guarantee an accurate diagnosis. This focus on accuracy is key because the signs of ADHD overlap with those of other learning and behavioural conditions. If a misdiagnosis is made, then your child may receive intervention that does not help them overcome their challenges.

An in-person testing should pinpoint whether your child has ADHD, a different condition, or a combination of ADHD and other conditions - preventing the possibility of misdiagnosis. To learn more about how ADHD affects children, read our guide to helping children with ADHD overcome their learning difficulties.

the dangers of online adhd testing

While online tests follow different standards and testing procedures, they all lack a vital component — prolonged observation provided by a child psychologist. This means that, compared with seeing a specialist, the vast majority of online ADHD tests lack the rigour required for an accurate assessment.

Even if the results of an online test seem accurate, securing an ADHD diagnosis should never be left to chance. This is because ADHD has a profound lifelong impact on people living with the condition.

If children receive the wrong diagnosis and intervention, their ADHD can lead to other problems including drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, and issues with family, school and work relationships - as shown by research published in Biological Psychiatry, BMC Pediatrics and The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics.

Why you should seek an in-person adhd diagnosis

Getting an early diagnosis of ADHD is the first and most crucial step in helping your child manage their learning and behaviour challenges. The earlier your child is diagnosed and receives targeted intervention, the more can be done to limit the symptoms of ADHD before they impact their well-being and academic and social success.

While people of all ages can benefit from an ADHD diagnosis, children should receive a diagnosis before the age of 10 for intervention to have the greatest effect. Depending on the severity of behavioural issues, the ideal age for diagnosis may be at the preschool level. The psychologist providing your in-person diagnosis will help you find the best intervention plan for your child.

are you looking for an in-person adhd assessment in singapore?

At Thomson Kids, we provide accurate ADHD assessments and effective instruction for children with ADHD. A member of Thomson Medical Group, our therapy and intervention plans leverage 40 years of experience in children’s healthcare and development.