Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) requires a highly skilled professional to evaluate and treat this condition. NPS has clinicians specifically trained in this area to address such a disorder. Below is a list of commonly asked questions about this disorder.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects an estimated 4% to 8% of school-age children, and usually occurs more often in boys than girls. Children with ADHD may act without thinking, are hyperactive, and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention, or focus on details.
Should my child be evaluated for ADHD?
All children (especially younger ones) may act hyperactive and distracted at times. This is common as children grow and develop. However, the difference with ADHD is that the symptoms are present over a longer period of time and will occur in different settings (i.e., at home, at school, at extra-curricular activities, with friends, etc.) With ADHD, the behavior and symptoms hampers a child’s ability to successfully function socially, academically, and at home.
Does your child experience difficulties with any of the following?
- Completing work, chores, or other tasks
- Following instruction from parents/teachers in daily activities
- Disorganization or often losing things
- Not paying attention to details, making careless mistakes
- Restlessness or being “always on the go”
- Staying seated when necessary
- Blurting out or interrupting
If you answered yes to several of the items above, an evaluation may be helpful to find out if your child meets the criteria for ADHD and what treatment might be helpful to reduce the problems.
How Is It Diagnosed?
A diagnosis of ADHD relies on a complete evaluation, such as those we perform at NPS. If physical factors have been ruled out by your child’s primary physician, then a psychological evaluation can be conducted in order to determine diagnosis and treatment.
Why would I seek an independent assessment at NPS if my child receives free testing at school?
On the surface, it may make sense to use the free testing that is available through your child’s school. However, there are several reasons why using a private organization such as NPS to give an independent assessment to your child may be a better choice for you and your child.
1. An objective and comprehensive report. The recommendations that follow testing by the school may not be completely objective or comprehensive. Because the school may be required to respond to the results of an assessment, the recommendations may be influenced by whatever services are available in your child’s school. At NPS, we provide a comprehensive report that is tailored to your child and his/her issues, rather than to the needs of the school system.
2. Credentials of examiner. When your child is tested by the school system, you will not have control over who tests your child. It is possible that the examiner may have excellent credentials and be very experienced, or neither may be true. When selecting someone independently for such services, such as at NPS, you will be able to choose someone that you feel is qualified to do the testing and who can give you good recommendations. Rest assured, all of our clinicians are highly skilled, and are experienced in psychological testing.
3. Optimal Testing Conditions. The conditions your child is tested can impact the quality of the results your child provides. When your child is tested at school, you are not guaranteed that the testing conditions will be optimal for providing your child’s very best results. For example, the examiner may be hurried because she has many other students to test that day. However, at NPS our focus is on your child and his/her issues, and we make every effort to provide the best testing situations possible.
4. Ownership of results. When the school tests your child, you may have difficulty getting access to all the test results. Instead, you may be given only a summary of the results. At NPS, in addition to going over the results with you, we will also provide you with access to the test results, as well as our recommendations for treatment.
What does an evaluation entail?
Our comprehensive evaluations begin with the administration of a parent interview and the observation of child, parent, and family functioning. When warranted, we may also conduct psycho-educational testing. As the parent, you will be asked to provide information about your child’s development and his or her behaviors at home, at school, and among friends. Other adults who see your child regularly (like teachers, who are often the first to notice ADHD symptoms) will probably be consulted as well. An educational evaluation may also be performed.
What battery of tests do you use in the ADHD evaluation?
At NPS, we strive to tailor our services to each and every patient. As such, we do not use a fixed battery of tests in our assessments. The tests we select are based on the reason for referral and the questions that need to be answered. An assessment battery for ADHD, however, will typically include the following:
- An intelligence (IQ) test
- Measures of cognitive processing, including memory, visual processing, auditory processing, grapho-motor functioning, and executive functioning
- Tests specifically requiring sustained attention
- Tests of achievement in reading, math, and written language
- Social-emotional and behavior screening measures
- Interviews with the parents and the child
Once the assessment for ADHD is completed, your clinician will then be able to give you your child’s results, as well as their specialized recommendations for treatment.