What is an ADHD assessment for children?
There is no way to diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with a physical test, like an X-ray or a blood test. Instead, a health professional must conduct an evaluation process.
The goal of this evaluation is to determine if your child has ADHD. If so, what type of treatment should be used to help them learn and function better at school and at home.
Why getting a diagnosis is important
When ADHD is not diagnosed and is left untreated, it can have serious consequences on the individual’s life, including poor school performance, social difficulties, and even problems with substance abuse later on.
Untreated ADHD increases the risk of developing other mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or oppositional defiant disorder. It also makes it harder for people with ADHD to succeed in school, get jobs, and maintain relationships.
For most children, symptoms of ADHD are noticeable by age 7. However, some children may show signs before that. Others may exhibit few symptoms.
Testing for ADHD can begin when a child is around six years old but can be done at any time difficulties emerge either at school or in the home environment.
At Blake Psychology, ADHD assessment services for children with a licensed psychologist consist of:
1. Clinical interview
In this initial step, we conduct a parent interview to:
- obtain information about your child’s behavior and development,
- understand how your child functions at home, school, and in other settings,
- gather information about your family history and any medical conditions you are concerned about.
Upon compiling all of our findings, we will review your child’s school records. The assessment allows us to understand your child’s academic performance and ability to function within the educational setting.
In addition, this gives us a chance to observe any patterns that might indicate ADHD.
We use paper-and-pencil tasks and computerized assessments to evaluate your child.
This involves conducting various activities to assess your child’s cognitive abilities, emotional functioning, academic achievement, motor skills, memory or executive functioning.
These tests measure your child’s strengths and weaknesses and allow us to identify areas where they need additional support.
The tests are standardized and designed to be reliable, valid, and sensitive to changes over time.
They are often referred to as “diagnostic tools” because they provide objective evidence of specific behaviors associated with ADHD.
Depending on your child’s age, sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. It is up to the psychologist to decide which tests would best suit your child’s needs.
After all the data has been collected, a licensed psychologist makes a final diagnosis based on the evaluation results. This includes whether or not your child meets the criteria for ADHD and its subtypes.
4. Feedback session
Once testing, scoring, and report writing are complete, you will receive a report synthesizing all of the information from the interview, questionnaires, and school documentation.
The diagnostic assessment will contain the psychologist’s impressions and opinions on your child’s condition.
At the follow-up appointment, the psychologist will go through the report with you to help you understand it and answer any questions that you might have.
They will also explain any recommendations and new strategies to help your child deal with ADHD.
If the recommendations include psychotherapy, we will be happy to refer you to one of Blake Psychology’s practitioners.