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ADHD  Assessment

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common disorder, affecting approximately 3.5% of the population.  There are two types of ADHD:

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – Predominantly Inattentive Presentation.  Individuals with this form of ADHD typically display difficulties with inattention, poor concentration and focus.

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – Predominantly Hyperactive Presentation.  Those with this form of ADHD typically display hyperactivity, impulsivity, restlessness and behaviour difficulties.

child with adhd distracted at school

Children with ADHD have difficulties with executive function and will often struggle with organizational skills, time management, retaining information, completing tasks, moving between tasks, and regulating their emotions.  This can make it very difficult for them to manage in a structured learning environment unless they are receiving the support they need. 

It is common for ADHD to co-exists with other disorders. As many as 50% of children diagnosed with ADHD will also present with another disorder such as a specific learning disorder.  In addition, ADHD can impact on many aspects of a child's life, including their social functioning, academic functioning, resilience and friendship skills.  For these reasons, it is important that a thorough and detailed assessment is undertaken to identify all of the factors that may be impacting on the child.

An assessment for ADHD involves:

  • Obtaining background information.  A thorough history is obtained through a consultation with parents /caregivers and all relevant information is reviewed.

  • An intellectual assessment.  The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) is undertaken, which provides information on the child’s cognitive functioning and gives a profile of cognitive strengths and challenges.

  • An assessment of attention and executive functioning.  The NEPSY-II or Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) is undertaken.  Tests of executive functioning are neuropsychological tests used to measure attentional difficulties. In addition the MOXO Continuous Performance Test (MOXO d-CPT) is undertaken. The Moxo measures core symptoms of ADHD including Hyper-Reactivity, Inattention, Timing and Impulsivity. 

  • A diagnostic Interview.  The Diagnostic Interview for ADHD is done with the parent and child, to investigate whether the child has the behaviours and symptoms necessary to meet the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

Group of children.
  • A behaviour assessment.  A behaviour assessment is undertaken which involves parent and teacher checklists as well as rating scales.  Commonly used tools include the Conners 4 Rating Scales, the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF), or the Brown Executive Function/Attention Scales.  Scales such as these investigate symptoms of ADHD displayed at home and in the school environment.  Depending on the age of the child, they may undertake a rating scale to measure their own subjective experiences.​

  • Additional testing may be recommended if the child is struggling academically and there is evidence of a specific learning disorder or social or emotional difficulties.  Where the child is displaying difficulties with learning, the administration of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III) as well as other assessment tools, as needed, is recommended.  This will provide an understanding of the child’s functioning in academic areas, including reading, spelling, mathematics and written expression.  This is helpful in ruling out coexisting learning disorders, and will provide an information on areas where the child shows strengths and areas where they may need additional support in the classroom.

  • Feedback and Report.  A parent feedback session is scheduled to provide parents with an understanding of the child's patterns of strengths and weaknesses and to discuss any diagnosis that has been made.   In addition, recommendations and intervention strategies are discussed.  A comprehensive report is provided which explains the child's results and the recommendations and intervention strategies that have been recommended.

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