Allenhurst Learning Center

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Empowered Learning Transformation Centers

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Reasons for a Comprehensive Psychological Assessment

A primary care physician, a psychiatrist, or other medical professional can diagnose your child with ADD / ADHD based on behavioral observations, parent report, and perhaps behavior checklists completed by teacher(s) and parent(s). While a brief examination may result in the appropriate diagnosis, a comprehensive psychological assessment offers the additional benefits of more certainly ruling out other possible factors contributing to attention/hyperactivity difficulties and determining the child's strengths and weaknesses to better plan for effective interventions. Further, individuals with ADD / ADHD frequently have learning disabilities and/or co-occurring emotional difficulties that may not be readily apparent without a thorough psychological evaluation. Perhaps most importantly, the components of a psychological assessment are standardized measures where your child is compared to those of other children his or her age. This helps to ensure that typical behavior is not mistaken for ADD/ADHD.

 

Empowered Learning Transformation Centers Assessments

Empowered Learning Transformation Centers assessments for ADD / ADHD are tailored to the individual child but typically include the following components: Assessment of cognitive abilities to determine a child's strengths and weaknesses in areas of cognitive processing including Verbal Reasoning, Nonverbal Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed; Assessment of academic achievement to determine whether the student is learning academic material in reading, writing, and math at a level consistent with their potential; Assessment of behavioral and emotional functioning including behavior checklists from multiple informants, parent interview, child interview, and more direct assessment of the child's emotional functioning when indicated; Assessment of attention functioning under controlled conditions; and/or Behavioral observations during the assessment.

Once the comprehensive assessment is complete, the psychologist will write a report detailing the findings, with recommendations provided based on the individual's strengths and weaknesses. The goal is not merely diagnosis, but suggestions for interventions that are tailored to your child's individual profile. Whether or not your child receives a diagnosis of ADD / ADHD, recommendations to address difficulties your child may be exhibiting are an essential component of the evaluation. The psychologist will discuss the results with you in person and answer any questions you might have.

 

When to Consider ADD/ADHD Assessments

Attention difficulties can be the end result of other problems your child may face. Primary medical concerns that should be ruled out prior to considering a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD include vision and hearing problems or general physical health problems that could be screened for in a well check visit (e.g., thyroid problems or anemia). If your child has been healthy with no significant physical concerns other than difficulties with focus and attention and perhaps impulsivity and hyperactivity, then a comprehensive psychological evaluation can determine your child's strengths and weaknesses and rule out other concerns that can contribute to attention problems.

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