Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD* is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder experienced in childhood. Generally, children with ADHD frequently interrupt, experience impulsivity and inattentiveness, become hyperactive, have difficulty following directions or exhibit any combination of such symptoms. It affects about 3% to 5% of school-age children. ADHD is diagnosed much more often in boys than in girls. Although ADHD can run in families and numerous studies suggest genes play an important role, its exact cause remains a mystery.
*Note that ADHD previously was known as “ADD”, or attention-deficit disorder. The “H” was added in 1987 to reflect the prevalence of hyperactivity in a high percentage of cases. A number of written materials, especially older ones, continue to use “ADD.”
How is ADHD different in adults than in children?
Approximately 30-60% of children who have ADHD continue to have significant symptoms into adulthood, but the symptoms may be different than they are in childhood. For many adults, symptoms of inattention are the biggest concern, rather than symptoms of hyperactivity. For example, adults with ADHD may have difficult following directions, organizing tasks, or completing work on time. Because of these difficulties, adults with ADHD may notice significant interference in work/school activities or personal relationships.
How is ADHD diagnosed? Is there a simple test to diagnose ADHD?
Unfortunately, there is no simple test (like a blood test or short questionnaire) to determine whether someone has ADHD. Accurate diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional through a thorough evaluation. This evaluation should rule out other possible causes for the symptoms experienced by the person being evaluated (client). The evaluation should include a clinical interview, interview(s) or questionnaires from other people in the client’s life (such as parents, teachers, or other central people), a test of cognitive abilities, and a continuous performance test.
What is special about ADHD testing at Associates in Behavioral Science (ABS)? Why should I choose ABS?
There are a number of reasons to choose ABS for ADHD testing if you suspect that you or your child may have ADHD:
Affordable assessment and treatment (please see “How do I pay for testing and treatment?” below).
Comprehensive evaluations and reports.
As our testing process is comprehensive, the report of your testing results can be used as documentation for accommodations in school or work and/or for a referral to a psychiatrist (if needed).
Individualized treatment in-house based on your unique testing results.
The evaluator will match you with the best therapist for your unique situation. For example, some of our therapists specialize in work with children and adolescents.
Your therapist can use your testing results to create a specialized treatment plan specifically focused on the areas you most want and need to improve.
What does the evaluation process include?
As stated previously, a thorough evaluation is needed to accurately diagnose ADHD. We have developed an efficient, but comprehensive evaluation procedure to quickly and accurately determine if a diagnosis of ADHD is appropriate.
At the first visit, you will be asked to complete some initial paperwork regarding your/your child’s symptoms of ADHD. The evaluator will meet with you and/or your child for approximately 60-90 minutes to interview you about symptoms and how those symptoms impact your life. Please be prepared to answer questions about medical and school history. Any records related to medical and/or school history that you can provide will help the evaluator rule out other possible causes of ADHD symptoms.
Following the first visit, the evaluator will schedule one or two follow-up visits to complete the formal testing process. The evaluation process includes a thorough cognitive evaluation and computerized test of attention and will take approximately 3.5-4.5 hours.
After the evaluation process is complete, the evaluator will analyze your results and write a comprehensive report of your results. This part of the process often takes 1-2 weeks to complete. The evaluator will then schedule a feedback session.
During the feedback session, the evaluator will spend about 50 minutes explaining your results and recommendations from the evaluation and answer any questions you might have.
How do I pay for testing and treatment?
We accept many insurance plans, including Blue Cross Blue Shield (PPO), Medicare, and Local Union 1546 for both testing and treatment. (At this time Aetna Better Health does not cover testing services at ABS, but does cover treatment services.)
We offer competitive rates for evaluation and treatment for those who do not have insurance. Please contact our office by phone for more information: 708-788-8808.
How is ADHD treated?
Often, individuals with ADHD are given psychotropic medication (like Adderall or Ritalin) to control their symptoms. Although medication can be helpful in many cases, parents often express significant concern about starting their child on medication for ADHD. Similarly, many adults do not want to be reliant on medication to manage their symptoms to function in their daily lives. While we are happy to refer individuals to an appropriate psychiatrist, we also believe that most individuals can learn to manage their ADHD symptoms using psychotherapy and biofeedback.
Psychotherapy (or simply “therapy”) for children with ADHD involves changing some aspects of the home and school environments to promote more successful social interactions and academic growth. These adjustments include creating more structure, encouraging routines, utilizing behavior-management strategies, and clearly stating expectations for the child. Therapy for adults with ADHD focuses on skill-building similar to that done with children, but in an age-appropriate way. You and your therapist might focus on how to change your home and work environments to better succeed and counteract your ADHD symptoms.
Biofeedback is a revolutionary treatment method that teaches an individual to control his or her internal state to better focus, sustain attention, and learn to his/her full capacity. At ABS, you or your child can engage in a series of treatment sessions designed to reduce stress, gain greater self-control, and increase resilience. Results from biofeedback treatment can be seen in as little as 8-12 sessions. Biofeedback is offered only as an addition to regular therapy.