Vanderbilt ADHD Diagnostic Teacher Rating Scale
A Note From The Depressed Child
The following test is reproduced from the Bright Futures books identified further at the bottom of this web page, Bright Futures. The Depressed Child recommends the two-volume set as a useful and thought-provoking collection of materials for educating parents to mental health issues with children and ideas for raising mentally healthy children. The information may be elementary to some, but a good primer for others. The information on the “Other Conditions” page of this web site is summarized from information in Volume I of the Bright Futures books. Visit the website www.brightfutures.org for more information.
The test below is reproduced by Bright Futures in a volume primarily intended for medical practitioners, such as pediatricians, who need to be alerted to mental health problems in children. It is a test to be answered by your child’s teacher(s) based on classroom work.
Of course, a negative answer could be given by a teacher on many of these questions for any child most days of the week. It is important to remember that children, like adults, are entitled to rebel, be distracted, bored and angry, without necessarily being suspected of some mental or educational impairment. Also, even the best of intentioned teachers face crowded classrooms, demanding schedules and difficult parents and administrators. A tendency to identify a troublemaker or poor performer as ADHD, when maybe the problem is more with the classroom than the kid, or is deeper and more serious than a learning disability, is understandable, even if unforgivable. In any event, the case for excessive labeling of children with behaviors adults don’t like as ADHD is a strong one, especially applied to boys. On the other hand, teachers are even less able to identify mental health problems such as depression than they are able to assess learning disabilities. Depression in children shares many behavior characteristics with ADHD, but confusing the former with the latter can result in seriously adverse treatment consequences.
For these reasons, as well as the fact that children are growing and changing so fast, parents and teachers should be careful not too give too much weight to preliminary tests such as this, whether the result is positive (i.e., no signs of ADHD – in which case the child should be checked for a pulse) or negative (results suggest ADHD). As always, The Depressed Child recommends that loving parents Follow Your Instincts, Know Your Child, and Learn for Yourself, while also obtaining professional help if you are concerned about your child’s behavior. [End note from The Depressed Child].
Behaviors are counted as scored 2 (often) or 3 (very often).
The performance section is scored as indicating some impairment if a child scores 1 or 2 on at least one item.
Each rating should be considered in the context of what is appropriate for the age of the child you are testing.
|1.||Fails to give attention to details or makes careless mistakes in school work.||0||1||2||3|
|2.||Has difficulty sustaining attention to tasks or activities.||0||1||2||3|
|3.||Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.||0||1||2||3|
|4.||Does not follow through on instruction and fails to finish schoolwork (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand)||0||1||2||3|
|5.||Had difficulty organizing tasks and activities.||0||1||2||3|
|6.||Avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustaining mental effort..||0||1||2||3|
|7.||Loses things necessary for tasks or activities (school assignments, pencils or books).||0||1||2||3|
|8.||Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.||0||1||2||3|
|9.||Is forgetful in daily activities.||0||1||2||3|
|10.||Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat.||0||1||2||3|
|11.||Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations n which remaining seated is expected.||0||1||2||3|
|12.||Runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which remaining seated is expected.||0||1||2||3|
|13.||Has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.||0||1||2||3|
|14.||Is “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor.”||0||1||2||3|
|16.||Blurts out answers before questions have been completed.||0||1||2||3|
|17.||Has difficulty waiting in line.||0||1||2||3|
|18.||Interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games).||0||1||2||3|
|20.||Actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules.||0||1||2||3|
|21.||Is angry or resentful.||0||1||2||3|
|22.||Is spiteful and vindictive.||0||1||2||3|
|23.||Bullies, threatens or intimidates others.||0||1||2||3|
|24.||Initiates physical fights.||0||1||2||3|
|25.||Lies to obtain goods for favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., “cons” others).||0||1||2||3|
|26.||Is physically cruel to people.||0||1||2||3|
|27.||Has stolen items of nontrivial value.||0||1||2||3|
|28.||Deliberately destroys others property.||0||1||2||3|
|29.||Is fearful, anxious, or worried.||0||1||2||3|
|30.||Is self-conscious or easily embarrassed.||0||1||2||3|
|31.||Is afraid to try new things for fear of making mistakes.||0||1||2||3|
|32.||Feels worthless or inferior.||0||1||2||3|
|33.||Blames self for problems, feels guilty.||0||1||2||3|
|34.||Feels lonely, unwanted, or unloved; complains that “on one loves him/her.”||0||1||2||3|
|35.||Is sad, unhappy, or depressed.||0||1||2||3|
|Performance||Problematic Average Above Average|
|1. Reading||1 2 3 4 5|
|2. Mathematics||1 2 3 4 5|
|3. Written expression||1 2 3 4 5|
|Classroom Behavioral Performance|
|1. Relationships with peers||1 2 3 4 5|
|2. Following directions/rules||1 2 3 4 5|
|3. Disrupting class||1 2 3 4 5|
|4. Assignment completion||1 2 3 4 5|
|5. Organizational skills||1 2 3 4 5|