ADHD Assessments

Neuropsychologists are psychologists with specialized training in assessment of brain function.  ADHD is widely considered a central nervous system (brain) disorder.  Accurate diagnosis of ADHD is frequently problematic because it requires analysis of behavioral descriptors from the patient's childhood, and multiple informants who can delineate the patient's current behavior are often unavailable.  Furthermore, ADHD is a diagnosis of exclusion, requiring the clinician to rule out all other possible causes of attention deficits before arriving at a diagnosis of ADHD.  Many conditions and situations mimic ADHD and its symptoms. Thus, careful diagnosis is important to ensure that the treatment accurately addresses the root causes of a patient's struggles. In many cases, this kind of careful analysis cannot be done with an interview alone.  Since the clinician is typically reliant on patient and family members report of symptoms, neuropsychological assessment provides objective/empirical assessments of a patient's cognitive strengths and weaknesses, which can add crucial information to help inform the diagnosis and treatment.  Furthermore, analysis of patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses can provide valuable insight into compensatory strategies that can be developed to help limit reliance on medications.  In cases where medication treatments are prescribed, empirical neuropsychological test results can be used to design behavioral treatments which, together with medication, will maximize a patient's therapeutic benefit. Also, objective data are usually required to obtain academic accommodations that are so important to "level the playing field" for students who are further challenged by the ADHD condition.  Lastly, clinical research has begun to demonstrate that neuropsychological evaluation is a useful adjunct in the differential diagnosis of ADHD. The available literature suggests that neuropsychological assessment provides information that can potentially reduce risks for poor outcomes and improve quality of life among persons with ADHD.

 

Neuropsychological assessment of ADHD provides unique information for diagnosis and treatment:

  • Objective, empirical assessment of symptoms

  • Decreased reliance on patient's self-report

  • Ability to rule out other causes of attention deficits

  • Maximizes the confidence of diagnosis and success of treatment plans

  • Provides information required by schools to grant academic accommodations

  • Provides objective information to help inform the development of IEP plans for school children