Conners Scale

If your child has difficulty in school, trouble completing homework assignments, or problems socializing with other children, you may suspect that they have ADHD.  The first step is to talk with your doctor.  If your physician agrees that your child exhibits typical ADHD behaviors, the doctor will likely suggest a Conners test for ADHD.

To properly diagnose ADHD, doctors must gather details about your child’s home life. A Conners test asks a series of questions about your child, which helps your doctor gain a full understanding of their behaviors and habits.

Short and Long Versions

The Conners rating system collects answers from parents, teachers, and adolescent patients themselves in order to create a comprehensive inventory of a child’s behaviors.  The multiple choice questions range from, “How often does your child have trouble going to sleep at night?” to, “How hard is it to focus on a homework assignment?”

Often, the test will be distributed routinely to schools, pediatric offices, and treatment centers to screen for ADHD.  Not only does this help to diagnose children who otherwise may have been overlooked, but it also offers a point of comparison for those who do suffer from ADHD.  

There are both short and long versions of the test, so it can take from five minutes to an hour and a half to complete.  The Conners test helps to:

  • measure hyperactivity in children and adolescents
  • provide a perspective on a child’s behavior from those who interact closely with the child on a regular basis
  • establish a base line before beginning therapy and medication to help monitor changes over time
  • offer standardized clinical information to support any conclusions, diagnoses, and treatment decisions made by your doctor 

Results are complied in an easy-to-interpret graph, available to parents and teachers. Advice and treatment suggestions are included, but usually a doctor will interpret and summarize the results for each child. 

How the Test Is Used

The Conners system is one of the many ways to screen for ADHD in children and adolescents, but it is not only used to test for the disorder.  The test can be used during follow-up appointments to periodically rate the behavior of a child with ADHD.  This can help doctors and parents know how well a certain drug or behavior modification technique is working.  If no improvements have been made, doctors may want to prescribe a different drug or parents may want to adopt new management techniques.

The Conners test is a private survey, which can be purchased through clinical practitioners.  If you suspect that your child may suffer from ADHD, talk to your doctor about taking the test.  It is not a definitive or purely objective test, but it is a useful step in understanding your child’s disorder.