Assessments for ADHD is critical in understanding the child’s strengths and areas of need in order to identify interventions that are most likely to support student success in school and in life. The bottom-line: proper identification is essential in promoting positive outcomes for students.
ADHD is a condition whose symptoms may or may not be present, depending on the situation (also known as situational variability). Therefore, it is imperative to obtain information from adults who know the child in different settings, such as parents and teachers or other caregivers. Any assessment for ADHD should also evlaute the child’s behavioural, emotional and social functioning. Equally important is the need for gathering information about the child’s parents and siblings, which provides a context for understanding how problem behaviours manifest. This information also often serves as a basis for determining how well parents and other caretakers will be able to implement treatment strategies.
The clinical evaluations of ADHD must be comprehensive and multidimensional in nature, so as to capture its situational variability, its associated features, and its impact on home, school, and social functioning. This multi-method assessment approach often includes:
- parent and child interviews
- parent- and teacher-completed child behaviour rating scales
- parent self-report measures
- clinic-based psychological tests
- review of prior school and medical records
- individually administered intelligence testing, educational achievement testing, or screening for learning disabilities
- a standard pediatric examination or neurodevelopmental screening to rule out any unusual medical conditions that might produce ADHD-like symptoms
- additional assessment procedures may be recommended, including vision and hearing screening, as well as formal speech and language assessment
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