How is ADHD assessed?
No single questionnaire or assessment tool is able to diagnose ADHD. It is important to realise that several features and symptoms of ADHD overlap with those of other conditions (e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, mood disorders). For this reason, assessment of ADHD is comprehensive, incorporating evidence from a wide variety of sources, such as:
- A detailed history of the child’s health and functioning from the prenatal period through to present day
- Identification of medical illnesses, psychological conditions and academic/learning difficulties
- Family history of psychological, attentional or learning difficulties
- A standardised neuropsychological assessment to build a “cognitive profile” of the child’s thinking skills
- Additional cognitive tests designed to assess different aspects of attention and higher order skills such as selective, sustained and switching attention
- Input from parents and teachers about the child’s functioning across different environments (including psychometric questionnaires)
- Observation of the child’s behaviour within an assessment and/or school setting
- Information on other potential contributing factors such as sleep and nutrition
At Marsden Psychology’s Kids Clinic in Woonona, a team of expert psychologist’s (including clinical psychologists and neuropsychologists) will conduct a comprehensive assessment incorporating all of the above elements to ensure that the correct diagnosis is given for your child. This is considered extremely important because it will then guide the treatment that is delivered to help your child reach their potential.
What is the recommended treatment for ADHD?
The specific treatment for ADHD depends on a number of factors unique to each child, including the child’s age, ADHD subtype, as well as the nature and severity of symptoms. Typically, younger children (4-5 years) benefit from behaviour therapy and training targeted towards their parents and/or teachers. Primary school children (6-11 years) are likely to benefit from a combination of medication (i.e. stimulants) and behaviour therapy that includes the school environment. Parent training programs can also be helpful in reducing symptoms for this age group. Adolescents (12-18 years) are most often prescribed stimulants to alleviate ADHD symptoms; however, a multi-component approach to behaviour therapy, including CBT and skills training, has also shown to be effective. In any case, all options for treatment should be discussed with you, the parents, so you can make an informed decision about what is right for your child.
Marsden Psychology’s Kids Clinic in Woonona provide comprehensive assessment for ADHD in children and adults. If you suspect there may be difficulties associated with ADHD, you can contact us for an assessment on:
Ph: (02) 9139 0126
Fax: (02) 8322 8005