What is ADHD?
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood. It is a broad term to describe a child or youth’s struggles with inattention, hyperactivity, or impulsivity. It is usually first diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood. Individuals with ADHD can have trouble paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors (acting without thinking), or may be overly active. Older children and adolescents often find it hard to initiate activities, complete tasks on time, organize their work, and manage their time efficiently. These difficulties can contribute to poor school performance, emotional difficulties, or challenges with relationships.
It is normal for children or youth to have trouble focusing or controlling impulses occasionally, however those with ADHD experience these symptoms more persistently and they can cause difficulty at school, home, or with friends.
A child or adolescent with ADHD might:
daydream a lot
forget or lose things a lot
squirm or fidget
be excessively talkative
make careless mistakes or take unnecessary risks
have a hard time resisting temptation
have trouble taking turns
have difficulty getting along with others
have a hard time keeping things organized
“ADHD” is the umbrella term for three primary presentations:
Predominantly inattentive presentation (this used to be called ADD): it is hard for the individual for organize or finish a task, pay attention to details, or follow instructions or conversations. The person is easily distracted or forgets details of daily routines.
Predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation: the child often fidgets, talks a lot, or has a hard time staying seated when needed. Younger children may run, jump, or climb constantly, and older kids may feel more restless and have trouble with impulsivity. The child may interrupt others, have a hard time waiting their turn, or speak at inappropriate times.
Combined presentation: symptoms of the above two types are
How is an assessment helpful?
If there are concerns with inattention and distractibility, an accurate diagnosis helps to guide effective treatment. Many different things can look like inattention or distractibility from the outside, such as mood or anxiety symptoms. These other conditions can also be present together with ADHD, and may be exacerbating attention symptoms. It is important to know the root cause of the attention symptoms so that treatment can be more effective. The goal of a diagnosis is to help your child be more effective in day-to-day life, and to help gain greater understanding of your child/adolescent to know how best to support them.
What does the assessment involve?
We provide diagnostic services for ADHD. This typically involves a thorough interview with parents and teacher (if available), and completion of questionnaires. We also do comprehensive objective testing of various cognitive domains. The assessment involves both direct services (interviews with parents and/or teachers, testing, feedback) and indirect services (scoring, report writing, reviewing records). The number of hours needed for each child can vary based on their work pace, but in general comprehensive assessments for ADHD take between 14 and 16 hours (including both direct and indirect services). Occasionally a child may need additional hours of testing. We prefer to do the assessment over one full day as we feel that this gives the most ecologically valid representation of a child’s school day.
Visit our Contact Page and complete the contact form and we will schedule a brief phone call to gather some more information and answer any questions. We will provide a quote and timeline for scheduling an assessment.