Observation of the child in the classroom setting by a professional such as a behaviour specialist teacher, educational psychologist or member of the CAMHS team or in the clinical setting by the specialist CAMHS is helpful to assess the child's:
- general level of activity and talkativeness;
- tendency to interrupt;
- play skills - particularly problem solving and constructional toys;
- attention span - e.g. how long the child plays with each toy or draws etc.
At a very minimum, written information from the child's teacher about his/her behaviour in the class and playground setting is required before a diagnosis can be made. N.B. Observations of the child within the clinic assessment setting are not usually sufficient by themselves. Clinicians should be aware that even children with ADHD can play well in a novel clinic setting, where the toys are new to them and they may be observed to be sitting relatively still and listening. It is therefore helpful to ask parents towards the end of the interview, how their child's behaviour in the clinic compares with that seen usually.