With the growing awareness and ongoing conversation about ADHD, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, you may find yourself wondering if a diagnosis is appropriate for yourself or a loved one. Perhaps you are curious as to what assessment for ADHD may entail? Let’s break it down, explore what factors are examined, and learn about the process of assessing for ADHD.

Everyone is different.

First of all, in the same way that individuals are distinctively unique, ADHD can also look differently from person to person, but studies have begun to show that there are indeed some cognitive profiles that are typical for individuals with ADHD. A first step to assessing for ADHD may to measure a baseline level of cognitive functioning and examining an individual’s cognitive profile. It is also important to recognise that there are 3 subtypes of ADHD that can look very different from individual to individual.

These ADHD subtypes are:
Primarily inattentive
Primarily hyperactive-impulsive
Primarily inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive

There are also standardised tests that can assist in measuring ADHD. You may hear psychologists suggest tests like the Brown ADD Scale, the Child Behavior Checklist (the CBCL), or the Connors-3. These tests are often have various forms to be administered to multiple parties like the teacher, child, and parent. Especially in children, looking at behavior in multiple settings can be vital in understanding the big picture of how ADHD may be impacting their life.
Assessments are helpful because they are standardised and can be helpful in formal diagnosis but you can explore the impact ADHD may be playing you or a child’s life by simply investigating challenges faced in different aspects of life. If your child is in school, interview a teacher and coach and see what struggles they recognise. Evaluate home life and what role behavior may play during recreation or family time. If you are an adult in the work force, perhaps evaluate how possible ADHD symptoms impact your job. Symptoms should be present in more than one setting for a formal diagnosis.

A health professional may also take a detailed inventory of family medical history, as ADHD tends to run in families. Also a detailed social history may be taken. If a child has relocated often or is under stress from a divorce, death in the family, or even bullying can all be factors to consider. Often time symptoms of stress and anxiety can surface as typically behaviors that are associated with ADHD. This is especially true in younger children who are unsure of how to cope with strong feelings. If you decide to go for a formal diagnosis, be patient with the extensive questioning and answer as honestly as you are comfortable. The questions may give more insight to behavioral struggles then a formal diagnosis maybe.

If are interested in exploring treatment for ADHD, give us a call on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online.

Related reading:

Diagnosed- Benefits of receiving a DSM -5 Diagnosis
Is ADHD Real?
Common Traits of Adult ADHD