Is It ADHD or Child Traumatic Stress? A Guide for Clinicians. NCTSN, August, 2016.


A number of researchers believe that symptoms of child traumatic stress could be mistaken for ADHD and that the risk of misdiagnosis is high. This is because there is an overlap between ADHD symptoms and the effects of experiencing trauma. Unless symptoms are examined closely, the profiles of child traumatic stress and ADHD can appear to be similar.  We know that misdiagnoses are happening. Let's help change that.  To download the full Guide go HERE

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I like the graphic and wanted to share it with my foster families to help explain the connection between trauma and ADHD, but it was poor quality. Not the poster's fault. It's a screen grab of the original graphic that has poor image quality to being with. So, I made my own version and thought I would share it here with the original post. Feel free to use is as needed. Trauma & ADHD


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Jane Stevens posted:

Can some of our ACEs science-informed clinicians take a look at this guide and give us some feedback? It defines childhood traumatic experiences as one-time (or few-time) events, but does not address ACEs. It seems to me that's an omission, but then I'm not a clinician!   

I would say, though not a clinician either but I am someone who works in children's mental health and uses NTCSN material regularly, that although the resource does not specifically address ACE, they are in fact referring to ACEs. It's a difference in definitions. I think it's because referring to ACEs can limit the scope of childhood trauma. For instance, we only talk about people with scores of 0-10, but in my world (therapeutic foster care), there are so many more types of trauma. This is why we have the expanded ACE questionnaire, and yet we don't frequently talk about, or explain, what it means to have a 12 out of 13 or a 25 out of 30. So, my guess is that NTCSN wanted to have a discussion about all childhood trauma and not just limit itself to the ten question ACE. 

As an aside, NTCSN produces awesome material. They compile their training and reports with input from experts in trauma. I wouldn't hesitate to use any of their material. Very good stuff. We use the Resource Parent Curriculum to teach our foster families about being trauma-informed.