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Curtin University of Technology
Twins and Multiples

Do our multiples have ADHD?

The Australian Disruptive Behaviours Questionnaire was developed for the Australian ADHD Twin Project and has been extensively assessed against other measures of behavioural problems. It covers the key DSM and ICD questions for ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) which overlaps extensively with ADHD, as well as Separation Anxiety and Conduct Disorder,. This questionnaire is not meant to be definitive. A proper diagnosis needs consideration of

This checklist is merely an opportunity for parents and/or teachers to consider just what the behaviour of this child is like and to decide if more thorough assessment is needed. In assessing multiples, it is important to consider three things

(i) that the views of parents and teachers may well differ. Is there something about the home or about the school that may contribute to some signs of ADHD being seen in one environment but no the other? The parent may be seeing a child who can sit engrossed in front of the computer for hours, so feels there are no problem with inattention. The teacher may see the same child struggling with schoolwork and doing everything but what they are supposed to be doing. This leads to

(ii) differences between the multiples. Some studies have found multiples to be assessed by the parents as being even more different from each other in ADHD than are singleborn brothers. The argument is that parents contrast their twins, the "quiet" one and the "active" one. Not all studies show this and it does seem to depend on which measure of ADHD is being used-it does not tend to happen so much with the checklist we have here. However it is something to consider when multiples are being assessed on any measure of behaviour. To what extent are they being assessed as an individual and to what extent relative to the other multiple(s)?

(iii) "better than average". Most checklists are designed to identify problems. But some young people actually do much better than most on their attention and activity. To class them just as "average" is doing them a disservice. There are some questionnaires that are just being tried with multiples that have categories such as "better" and "much better" than average. While not included here, they do make an important point about the assessment of all young people that we need to focus on their strengths as well as their weaknesses.

Click here to download the ADHD questionnaire (17k pdf)