Have you ever wondered if you or your teen might have ADD/ADHD? You are not alone. While four percent of individuals have ADHD, many go undiagnosed. Why? Because the symptoms of ADD/ADHD can be confused with so many other problems, such as anxiety, depression, trauma, learning difficulty, work stress etc. Not being accurately diagnosed can have significant consequences. Untreated ADD/ADHD can impact school, work, career, relationships, physical and mental health, and financial stability.

While symptoms of ADD/ADHD vary from individual to individual, some common signs include:

  • difficulty completing tasks, disorganization, procrastination, failure to pay attention to details

  • impulsivity, blurting things out, interrupting others, difficulty following a conversation

  • frequently losing or forgetting things, being easily distracted

  • indecisiveness, or making a rash decision without thinking through the consequences

  • fidgeting, restlessness, talking excessively, feeling as if you are constantly driven by a motor

I specialize in working with individuals aged 12 and over to assess for ADD/ADHD. Through a careful and thorough assessment, I am able to differentiate the symptoms of ADD/ADHD from other possible diagnoses. I can then make recommendations for treatment and suggestions for accommodations at school or work. 


What is ADD/ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (formerly known as ADD) is a neurobiological condition that affects people in different ways. While symptoms are present in childhood, they can often be overlooked. Frequently, it is not until adolescence or adulthood that it becomes obvious that something is wrong. When finally diagnosed, it can often be a relief to know why things have been such a struggle for so long and that something can be done about it. 


Assessing ADD/ADHD

Few clinicians are trained to test for ADD/ADHD. This is why there are so many misdiagnoses or under-diagnoses. Also, ADD/ADHD presents in many different ways. There can be subtle differences between men and women, and symptoms may change over time. Teens and adults may get treated for symptoms that are secondary to ADD/ADHD - such as anxiety, depression, substance use, or low self esteem - and never know the real issue. This is why it is essential to be assessed by a clinician who has specific training and experience in ADD/ADHD.  

There are three types of ADD/ADHD assessment, depending on your goal and needs:

  1. Clinical Interview and Screening: This usually takes two to three sessions and consists of an in-depth interview, a questionnaire about current symptoms, a questionnaire about childhood symptoms, and a review of school records. For adults as well as teens, it is important to get information from a close family member (parent, partner, spouse). In addition, a highly sensitive continuous performance test is used to assess for symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

  2. Comprehensive Assessment: If you are looking to document learning differences in order to obtain accommodations at school or on standardized tests or licensing exams, such as the SAT, GRE, MCAT etc, this type of assessment is necessary. It usually takes about 6-9 hours of testing and 5-6 hours of analyzing the data and writing a detailed report. More complicated assessments can take longer. The report will provide information on cognitive and academic strengths and weaknesses and make appropriate recommendations.

  3. Documentation Update: If you or your teen has a clear history of ADD/ADHD and/or a previous comprehensive assessment, a documentation update provides a leaner, abbreviated assessment that can be used to request accommodations. Exam and licensing boards often require that an assessment is no more than two or three years old.

If you are unsure what type of assessment might be best for you or your teen, please contact me. I am happy to talk about the process and the cost and time commitment involved.


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