Child and Teen ADHD Evaluations
Is your child or teen having trouble focusing? Easily distracted? Forgetful? Losing things?
Your child or teen could be struggling because of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. There are three main types of ADHD: one with predominantly inattentive symptoms, one with predominantly hyperactive/impulsive symptoms, and a combined type. The predominantly inattentive type is often referred to in the general public as Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD.
You have probably heard of ADHD, but did you know that there are many other possible explanations for the symptoms? Learning problems, anxiety, depression, stress, behavioral problems, and some medical problems can mimic ADHD. One of the most important reasons for ADHD testing is to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms. This is because the treatments for these different disorders vary greatly. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis so that treatment can be tailored to your needs.
We have several child psychologists in Cary, NC who provide ADHD evaluations. We only use evidence-based tests and assessment methods. We will evaluate your child or teen to determine the cause of the symptoms and provide education regarding the different treatment options available. If a prescription is necessary, we will send a copy of our report to your medical doctor or refer you to a child psychiatrist.
What are the treatment options?
We base our treatment recommendations on currently accepted best practice guidelines, including medical organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For milder forms of ADHD, we recommend counseling and psychoeducation. Our child counselors treat ADHD by teaching children and teens to change both their thinking and behavior. We work with parents and teachers in this process as well.
For moderate-to-severe forms of ADHD, there are medication options available. Even when medication is prescribed, the AAP recommends that children and teens with ADHD continue to work with a mental health professional to learn skills to overcome their symptoms and reduce any associated symptoms, such as problems with self-esteem or anxiety.
How are ADD and ADHD diagnosed?
There is no single test battery for ADHD evaluations. Our doctors start by gathering a detailed history and asking a lot of questions about the symptoms. At that point, the doctor decides what tests will be most helpful. Usually, parents and teachers are asked to complete questionnaires and/or symptom rating scales about the child or teen. If the child is old enough, he or she will complete self-report multiple-choice tests that help to assess the symptoms. We will ask your permission to gather important information about your child or teen, including school records, prior mental health records, and medical records.
If the psychologist feels that it is necessary, she may do some tests with your child. We call these "activities" because most kids and teens find them interesting and even fun. These may involve memory tests, cognitive speed drills, and task-switching activities. Finally, in a few cases, we may recommend a full IQ and achievement test to get a better look at your child's strengths and needs. We then go over the results of the testing, discuss the strengths and needs of your child, and make a plan for improving your child's symptoms.
Your child or teen's ADHD evaluation will require two or more appointments. It is not a diagnosis we take lightly, so we take great care to do as thorough of an evaluation as your child needs: No more, and no less.
Looking for help with other concerns about your child or teen? Click the links below: