The Risks and Pitfalls of Short ADHD Evaluations

When deciding to consider testing for specific conditions, such as ADHD, it can feel overwhelming to figure out who to call to obtain answers. People often wonder how much testing is actually needed, who has the right background or expertise to conduct such evaluations, and how much or what information they will get out of this process.  It can be very frustrating to complete an evaluation only to be told that ‘more testing’ is needed!    

Over the years, there has been an increase in clinics offering such evaluations. We suggest that you look at the differences between evaluations before scheduling your appointment. For example, some will state that they use brief evaluations often using one computerized test to diagnose ADHD. While this may pick up on attentional problems, it often does not rule out other factors that often ‘look like’ or masquerade as ADHD. For example, a student may be struggling to regulate their behaviors and focus in class. Such a test might pick up on this. However, it would not pick up on the fact that this student might be inattentive because they are gifted and advanced academically and therefore, are bored and disruptive in class. It would also not determine whether the student might be unable to focus because they have an underlying learning disability (such as dyslexia), have difficulties processing language, have weak memory skills, are worried and overly anxious, etc.

There are also other situations where short evaluations would be insufficient and delay a person’s ability to access the appropriate supports and interventions. For example, if an individual has underlying cognitive deficits or an intellectual disability, these short evaluations will not pick up on this. Also, if there is a possibility of an autism spectrum disorder, a comprehensive evaluation would be necessary to make this diagnosis and help guide treatment. 

Our neuropsychologists conduct comprehensive assessments that will provide you with the answers you are looking for when it comes to cognitive strengths and weaknesses, appropriate diagnoses, and more importantly, an individualized treatment plan.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and have specific questions about our evaluation, we encourage you to call our office. You will be provided with relevant information about our evaluations and how they can be specifically helpful to you or your child.

If you have concerns about ADHD or other conditions, we would be glad to help you! Please call us to schedule a consultation at 248-644-9466.