The aim of this study was to assess the efficiency of developmental screening for deficits in attention, motor control and perception or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (DAMP/ADHD) at 5.5 and 7 years of age for diagnosing ADHD in grade 4.
The study population consisted of 442 children from a cohort study of ADHD in 10-year olds in one municipality in Stockholm County. Sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value of a developmental screening at 5.5 and at 7 years of age for being diagnosed with ADHD at 10 years of age was calculated.
The sensitivity was 44%, the specificity 85% and the positive predictive value for having a diagnosis of pervasive ADHD in 4th grade was 15%, when at least two deviations in nine items was used as the cut-off point in 5.5-year screening at Child Health Centres (CHCs). With a cut-off score of at least two deviations in four items rated by parents or and teachers in 1st grade, these estimates were 58%, 81% and 15% respectively.
This study demonstrates that developmental screening for DAMP/ADHD at 5.5 and 7 years of age does not identify children who are diagnosed with ADHD in grade 4 with a high degree of selectivity.