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Pediatrics Questionnaires: The Vanderbilt Questionnaire for ADHD



I give the Vanderbilt Questionnaire to all of my patients who are being evaluated for ADHD. With ADHD being one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders presenting in childhood, that's a lot of patients! Here is the link to the full set of questionnaires with scoring instructions, which were developed by Mark Wolraich at the Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and adapted by the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (check out what NICHQ is doing here!).

The parent assessment form contains 55 questions and the teacher assessment form contains 43 questions. I advise parents and patients to give "Vanderbilts" to teachers who know the patient well and see them in a standard academic setting. I have tried to score questionnaires completed by after school program coordinators, school psychologists, and teachers for electives and it just doesn't work. I love to have Vanderbilts on file but I have diagnosed ADHD without them, especially in the summer.

There are two sections to both the parent and teacher assessment scales: symptom assessment and impairment in performance. Within the symptom assessment section there are nine questions about inattentive symptoms and nine questions about hyperactive symptoms. The respondent rates the frequency of a patient's behaviors on a 0-3 scale with 0 being "never" and 3 being "very often". To meet criteria for ADHD, there must be six positive (2 or 3) responses out of nine questions pertaining to inattention, hyperactivity, or both. There also must be an effect on performance evidenced in the last question set.

Follow up questionnaires are shorter, 38 questions for each of the parent and teacher questionnaires with the last 12 querying side effects of medication. I tend to give these questionnaires to parents after about three months on medication or prior to the end of the school year, whichever is sooner.

The initial Vanderbilt questionnaires are also very useful in delineating whether a patient has comorbidities: mood disorder, oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder. They also open lines of communication between myself and the teachers who spend significant time with my patients.

Check here for CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, a nonprofit organization serving those with ADHD.

Have a wonderful day!

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