ADHD Evaluation

(Abbreviated Neuropsychological Evaluation)

It has been estimated that at least 7-10% (and possibly as many as 17%) of children in the United States demonstrate significant symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD). Common symptoms of ADHD include failure to listen to instructions; difficulty organizing school work; not finishing chores and homework; difficulty paying attention to details; being bored easily; fidgeting/squirming in seat; excessive talking; restlessness, interrupting/intruding on others; and being impulsive. Children with ADHD are unable to focus their attention on most tasks. However, children with ADHD typically only have problems focusing and sustaining attention on tasks they aren’t interested in, but are able to focus on enjoyable activities (e.g., playing games) without difficulty. Therefore, the diagnosis is often not made until children enter school, at which time symptoms typically become more obvious.

Neuropsychological testing is considered to be the “gold standard” in the assessment of attentional disorders such as ADHD. An abbreviated neuropsychological evaluation can help confirm the presence of significant problems with inattention and/or hyperactivity/impulsivity related to an attentional disorder (ADHD/ADD) or other causes. Abbreviated cognitive testing (e.g., computerized and paper-and-pencil tests of domains such as learning/memory, focused/sustained attention, planning abilities, and other executive functions) is given in an abbreviated neuropsychological evaluation, and more extensive cognitive testing is available within a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation (see “Child Neuropsychological Evaluation” page). Abbreviated neuropsychological evaluations also include observation of the child, parent/guardian interview, and questionnaires completed by parents/guardians and teachers. We then develop specific treatment recommendations for improving the child’s attention/concentration; reducing hyperactivity and impulsivity; and improving functioning in various domains (e.g., academic performance, social functioning, task completion, etc.). Following the evaluation, brief re-evaluations can be conducted to determine whether there has been improvement in areas of difficulty as a result of specific interventions.