By: Kirstin Filizetti, Ph.D.

Comprehensive Assessment of ADHD San DiegoAs part of my practice, I receive phone calls and inquiries about comprehensive ADHD evaluations for children and adults. Most often, people ask why a comprehensive approach is important when diagnosing ADHD. Often times, symptoms of ADHD such as inattention, impulsivity, hyperactivity may result from life circumstances (such as childhood trauma, struggles in school, problems with peers, or a learning disability, etc.) and may not actually be directly related to ADHD. Therefore, a comprehensive ADHD evaluation seeks to understand the child (or adult) through a variety of assessment procedures rather than only considering behavioral checklists when diagnosing. It is essential to make an accurate diagnosis because a diagnosis of ADHD has longterm effects on children and often leads to determining whether or not to seek psychotropic medications including stimulants.

When finding a psychologist that has training and experience in ADHD evaluations, you may want to consider asking him or her the following questions:

  1. What types of tests are administered or included in the ADHD evaluation? (For this question, you will want the clinician to take a comprehensive approach to the assessment. This approach should include a cognitive test, measure(s) of attention, checklists, and incorporating various interviews and observations from a variety of treatment settings. For more information about why various tests should be administered, review this article posted by CHADD.)
  2. What is the cost of an ADHD evaluation? (Comprehensive evaluations can be quite costly. However, it is important that you find a clinician qualified in psychological evaluations that can complete a comprehensive evaluation. If you are concerned about cost, ask about payment plans, low fee options, or if a Health Savings Account (HSA) may cover the cost.)
  3.  If my child requires school accommodations (or a 504 Plan or an IEP) will the psychologist be able to provide me with a list of recommended school accommodations? (The answer to this should always be yes. At the end of the evaluation, the psychologist should provide you with a written summary of the results along with suggestions and recommendations for your child based on the resulting diagnoses.)
  4. How long will the assessment process take to complete? (This is important because if the clinician is taking a comprehensive approach to the evaluation, it may take at least a couple of weeks for the assessment process to be completed. Keep in mind, if the assessment is comprehensive, it will not be completed quickly.)

It is normal to feel anxious or apprehensive when determining if participating in an ADHD evaluation is right for you or your child. However, through participating in a comprehensive evaluation the clinician incorporating a variety of sources of information when carefully considering an ADHD diagnosis. If you have additional questions about comprehensive ADHD or psychological evaluations in San Diego please don’t hesitate to contact our office.