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ADHD Evaluation in Northern New Jersey

If your child has difficulty paying attention or appears to be hyperactive, schedule an Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) consultation with Psycho-Educational Associates, serving Totowa, Little Falls Township, Woodland Park, and the surrounding areas in New Jersey. 

ADHD Diagnosis in Children

The symptoms of ADHD may not always be present. It depends on the situation, which is referred to as situational variability. As such, it is imperative that clinicians obtain feedback from people who have observed the child in a variety of settings. At the very minimum, teachers and parents should provide input.

Reaching an ADHD diagnosis might seem like a fairly straightforward process; however, that is not at all the case. It involves a clinician gathering pertinent information and comparing it against diagnostic criteria to decide if ADHD is present. This process is actually quite complex and time-consuming when performed correctly.

Since children with ADHD often have other problems besides the disorder itself, assessments need to address primary ADHD symptoms, as well as their social, behavioral and emotional consequences. Of equal importance is obtaining information to better understand how undesirable behaviors are manifested. This information can help clinicians determine how successfully parents will undertake treatment strategies.

How is an ADHD Evaluation Conducted for Children?

Clinical evaluations need to be comprehensive and multi-dimensional. A multi-method assessment approach must include:

  • Interviews involving child and parent/s
  • Clinic-based psychological tests
  • Parental self-report measures
  • Teacher and parent-completed child behavior rating scales
  • A review of prior medical and school records
  • Educational achievement tests/screening for learning disabilities and individually administered intelligence tests
  • Neuro-developmental screening for ruling out any unusual medical conditions that could cause ADHD-like symptoms

Additionally, vision, hearing, language and formal speech may also be assessed.

ADHD in Adults

Not just children suffer from attention deficit disorder. An adult who was diagnosed with ADD/ADHD as a child is likely to have retained at least some of the symptoms. In addition, adults can develop ADD/ADHD symptoms, even if they received no such diagnoses in childhood.

Undiagnosed and untreated ADD/ADHD can negatively impact every area of an adult’s life, including:

  • Mental and Physical Health Problems- ADD/ADHD can lead to overeating, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic stress/tension and low self-esteem. Patients can further impact their health by neglecting medical appointments/instructions and vital medications.
  • Financial and Work Difficulties- Adults who suffer from ADD/ADHD frequently experience career challenges that lead to feelings of failure. They may find it difficult to stick to a daily routine, keep a job, meet deadlines and follow corporate rules. Managing personal finances could also be difficult, resulting in unpaid bills, late fees, and overspending.
  • Relationship Difficulties- ADD/ADHD symptoms can strain family, romantic and work relationships. Individuals may feel under constant pressure to tidy up, pay greater attention or become more organized.

The far-reaching effects of ADD/ADHD can cause frustration, embarrassment and loss of confidence. Usually, a diagnosis of adult ADD/ADHD is an enormous relief because patients finally understand that their problems do not stem from personal/character weaknesses, but from a genuine medical condition.

How are Adults Evaluated for ADHD?

Adults undergo a multi-faceted evaluation for ADHD under the care of a licensed, qualified clinician. The protocol involves a comprehensive diagnostic assessment that should include the following:

  • An in-depth diagnostic interview
  • ADHD symptom checklists
  • A comprehensive developmental, medical, family, academic, social and work history
  • Standardized behavior rating scales as applied to ADHD
  • Any necessary psychometric tests
  • A review of previous evaluations and academic records
  • Screening for other co-morbid conditions

Steps in the Adult ADHD Evaluation Process

#1: A structured clinical Interview and review of records
This is the most vital component of a comprehensive ADHD evaluation and is based on a structured or semi-structured interview. The clinician covers a wide range of topics and asks relevant questions. Patients should take copies of any previous psychological test reports to their first appointment.

#2: Participation of Significant Others
If possible, it is important that your clinician interviews a significant other. A spouse or parent can provide meaningful and objective insight.

#3: Male and Female Considerations
For numerous reasons, ADHD seems to be under-diagnosed in females. The diagnostic criteria contained within the diagnostic manual are ill-suited for diagnosing ADHD in both girls and women. For example, ADHD girls are far less hyperactive or disruptive in relation to boys of the same age, and symptoms in girls typically manifest at a later age. Women with ADHD may have co-existing anxiety disorders and depression.

#4: Standardized Behavior Rating Scales and ADHD Symptom Checklists
During the evaluation process, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as the DSM–IV, guide the clinician. He or she uses this manual to determine how closely the symptoms within the diagnostic criteria relate to the patient.

If you’re concerned that your child may have ADHD, the first step in treatment involves an evaluation. Here at Psycho-Educational Associates, we have experienced, caring professionals standing by ready to provide you with ADHD evaluations and a variety of other services. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!