Dr. Stein's Psychology Blog
My thoughts on mental health counseling, therapy, neuropsychology, collaborative divorce and more.
Have you been referred to a psychologist by a school or medical professional because it’s suspected that your child may have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder? Over my 13 years of mental health private practice, I’ve noticed how confused and overwhelmed parents and guardians can get when faced with this task. When they initially contact my Red Bank, New Jersey office they are unsure about what an evaluation will entail and what kinds of useful information it will uncover. Below are 5 valuable and frequently asked questions parents ask in their first phone call or initial visit to me.
1) What exactly happens during an evaluation For ADHD?
A child neuropsychological examination should be comprehensive and extend over the course of several visits. That means the examiner over a period of time will want to meet with at least one parent or guardian, the child, review medical and school records, interview a teacher, and conduct a wide variety of intellectual, academic, cognitive, psychological, and social assessments. All testing data, should be scored and statistically compared to other children or adolescents your child’s age.
2) What are the tests like?
My office embraces the digital world and kids engage with the tests using an iPad. This tool speeds up the comprehensive process and provides accurate results. The tests themselves present a wide variety of tasks ranging from visual and verbal attention to reading comprehension. For most, testing begins at an easy level and becomes more challenging as the child progresses.
3) Why is about six hours of testing necessary?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is challenging to correctly assess and cannot be accomplished through simple observation. Also, children and adolescents with ADHD are very likely to have a second or even third diagnosis that includes additional types of learning disabilities, anxiety, and/or depression that all can impact school and social functioning. In order to boost the child’s academic and social functioning, other diagnoses must be identified or ruled out.
4) Who will do the actual testing?
It is crucial for a psychologist to do the testing, without the use of testing technicians. In addition to the data gathered through interviews and the iPad, the psychologist needs the opportunity to observe and gain insightful information about the student. I personally and directly handle all aspects of the assessment procedures. This allows me to get first hand observations of how the child problem-solves challenging test items and handles frustration. At the end of six hours or more of direct testing and observation, I get to know the child’s personality very well and am able to comment on other important aspects that may impact academic functioning such as anxiety, impulsivity, or inattentiveness.
5) What happens once testing is completed?
After the assessment procedures are finalized and the data has been analyzed, I write a detailed report, typically 12-16 pages long, regarding the child’s medical, social, and academic history. The report will also describe the child’s intellectual, academic, and psychological functioning in terms of strengths and weaknesses. I provide an accurate diagnosis or diagnoses, and most importantly, recommendations for treatment and academic interventions. The report is easy for parents and guardians, teachers, and other healthcare professionals to read and understand. The report can also be used as a baseline measure to the effectiveness of both academic and treatment interventions and/or for a school Individual Educational Plan.
If you think your child or teen would benefit from a psychological evaluation for ADHD, or a learning disability, please call me at my Red Bank, NJ office at 732-747-8818 for a free 15-minute consultation where we can decide together if making an appointment is the right move.
I'm a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist with a private practice in Red Bank, NJ.