Are you or your loved one struggling with focus, attention, and impulsivity? It may be time to consider an ADHD assessment. ADHD, or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, affects millions of children and adults worldwide. However, it often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, leading to frustration and challenges in various areas of life. That is why a comprehensive ADHD assessment is essential in understanding the underlying factors contributing to these difficulties. One of the main benefits of an ADHD assessment is gaining a better understanding of your unique strengths and challenges. It provides a comprehensive evaluation of cognitive abilities, attention span, and behavioral patterns, allowing for a tailored approach to treatment and support. Additionally, undergoing an ADHD assessment can help debunk common myths and stereotypes surrounding the disorder. It can provide validation and reassurance to individuals who have struggled with symptoms but may have been brushed off or misunderstood. Investing in an ADHD assessment can be life-changing, unlocking a clearer picture of your challenges and guiding you towards personalised strategies and interventions. So, if you or your loved one suspect ADHD, consider the valuable benefits of seeking professional assessment.
What is ADHD?
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects attention and concentration. ADHD is often diagnosed in childhood as a diagnosis can help you and/or your child make decisions about treatment, therapy and additional learning support if required. The ADHD assessment can also be used as an effective tool to communicate with other professionals such as Teachers, Psychiatrists and Paediatricians.
An ADHD assessment can help with the following:
If your child is having difficulties with reading, memory and/or maths.
Your child has difficulties remembering what they heard or have just read.
Your child has to be prompted to remember things and/or has difficulties with organisation and completing tasks in a timely manner.
Your child has behavioural difficulties and/or difficulties regulating their emotions
You, a GP, psychologist or another educational professional has requested a diagnosis to see if your child is eligible for support under the diagnosis ADHD as a subset of Intellectual Developmental Disorder. The diagnosis will enable funding for school supports such as educational assistants to support your child’s learning and development.
If paediatrician or medical professional wishes to understand how a medical issue impacts or is impacted by your / your child’s cognitive functioning.
You have difficulty completing tasks during educational activities or work
You have difficulties with concentration
You are unable to maintain friendships or relationships
You have difficulties with strong emotions or strong food aversions
You suspect that a confirmed diagnosis will help you understand why you have struggled with certain things for so long
You want to know whether or not medication would be helpful in solving some of your problems which you suspect are caused by ADHD
You want to know about alternative treatment options.
ADHD is a chronic, persistent delay of self-regulation skills, including executive functioning skills (EF). Delays in EFs create procrastination, disorganization, poor time management, emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and inconsistent motivation. Although these problems are not included in the official diagnostic criteria for ADHD, they are common in adults with the condition, making it hard for them to regulate their emotions and behaviours.
The assessment process, interpretation of results and next steps for ADHD can be complex and confusing for most adults/ parents, so to help you better understand what is involved please see the information provided below:
At Aresolution we provide two options for the assessment of ADHD for both children and adults:
A comprehensive ADHD assessment (Includes the WISC-V and Conners3): Results from a comprehensive assessment including cognitive and ADHD features can be used to support education and treatment planning as it provides a better understanding of the client’s cognitive profile. This is important if you, your child’s teacher, school staff and/or GP have identified concerns regarding attention/concentration and/or hyperactivity. This assessment is necessary for educational settings.
ADHD targeted assessment (Conners3 / CAARS): This is our recommended assessment for adults and children when a specific request from a current treating professional (e.g. paediatrician, psychiatrist) is made to assess only for ADHD and no other potential underlying concerns which may better explain the difficulties.
ADHD comprehensive assessments
We recommend an ADHD comprehensive assessment especially for children, as there may be other factors that can impact attention and engagement including visual and auditory processing issues, learning difficulties and/ concerns regarding mood/ emotional regulation. Without completing a comprehensive assessment, we may not be able to provide you/ specialists with information to appropriately support your child. Furthermore, it is also important to recognise that along with ADHD a person may experience symptoms of other neurodevelopmental conditions such as Autism, Dyslexia, Asperger’s, Tourette’s syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), thus a comprehensive ADHD assessment is important.
What are the benefits of a targeted assessment for adults:
Attention and hyperactivity – a comprehensive assessment tool that determines the presence (or absence) of difficulties with attention and hyperactivity.
Psychosocial assessment – understanding any additional mental health difficulties you might be experiencing and how this may impact them. Given the co-occurrence of ADHD and other mental health difficulties, this will assist in identifying the most helpful support.
Provide you and your specialist with documentation should you require further assessment/ medication review by a Psychiatrist.
What are the benefits of a comprehensive assessment for children?
Our goal is to better understand your child’s strengths and challenges. An assessment is not just about finding out “what is wrong”, it is also about acknowledging and suggesting ways to utilise the strengths that your child has in order to provide your child with the most appropriate support across multiple environments.
Knowing your child’s profile will help you obtain the most appropriate support for your child. Schools often have requirements they need to meet (e.g. a diagnosis, assessment results) before they are able to implement certain supports, a comprehensive assessment is an effective way to convey this information.
We will be able to provide you with specific recommendations for how to best support your child with their learning (if/where required).
This information can be useful as a baseline for trialling accommodation strategies or modifying existing learning plans for your child.
This assessment can also allow you/ your child’s therapist to identify how to create a therapy plan should they engage in counselling/ psychological support.
In some instances our assessment is inconclusive and a Psychiatric or Pediatric evaluation is required to confirm the diagnosis. – The assessment process is designed to provide valuable information to understand the client’s needs based on the reason for referral. Not all assessments equate to diagnoses however the information obtained can be valuable for the individual or act as supporting information for another specialist to obtain the final diagnosis.
You may not have all the information you require from one assessment, further information can lead to further needs being identified. Should this be the case, your psychologist will provide our recommendations to you and you can work with your psychologist to identify next steps where appropriate.
What is involved in an ADHD assessment?
The flowchart below shows the process of an example assessment. The discussion at your initial consultation will allow both you and your psychologist to explore the stages of the assessment process and you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs to meet the purpose of the assessment.
What is involved in an assessment?
1 Hour Initial consultation: An opportunity to meet your therapist (This is a parent only appointment) . Your therapist will use this time to obtain information regarding the reason for referral, relevant medical/ psychological history and the assessment goal.
Assessment: Your psychologist will complete the assessments discussed. This can take 2-3 hours depending on the assessment type.
Interpretation & Report Writing: This is time dedicated to scoring and interpreting the results of the assessment/s and completing the report.
1 Hour feedback session: Your psychologist will meet with you for a 50miute appointment to discuss the outcomes of the assessment, discuss findings and explore next steps. This is also an opportunity to discuss additional information that may have been missed previously.
Report completion: Your psychologist will finalise the report within a 4-6 week timeframe. Please note, should additional testing take place or if relevant documentation is not provided at the time of the initial consultation, this could extend the timeframe to 4-6weeks post all documentation/ information being obtained.
Diagnoses for ADHD can be made by Psychologists, Paediatricians and psychiatrists. Paediatricians and Psychiatrists can prescribe medication. Check with your Educational institution to determine if an ADHD diagnosis from a psychologist is suitable for the purposes of funding support. If you wish to consider medication in future, you may benefit from the confirmation of your diagnosis with a Psychiatrist/Paediatrician.Some psychiatrists and paeditricians find that this diagnosis helps streamline and fast track their assessment process. If we have provided you with a diagnosis please advise your Psychiatrist/Paeditrician when you make the booking so they can allocate the adjusted time.
ADD/ADHD Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurological disorder that impacts the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus on, and execute tasks. ADHD symptoms vary by sub-type — inattentive, hyperactive, or combined.
There are a number of treatment options that can be employed. Parent Training in Behaviour Management, Behavioural Classroom Interventions, Neurofeedback, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Medication are the only evidence-based treatment options available that can be used on their own or in conjunction with each other. It is important to note that the Australian Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)recommend medication as the frontline treatment for ADHD as well as other interventions (for people 5 and older) however the adoption of medication should always be made in line with the assessment of symptom strength and the child’s age. For children, we recommend that parent’s complete behaviour management training and employ Occupational Therapists to work alongside the educational assistants and teachers at school. It is recommended that you apply a range of treatments including supplementary methods. Adults can develop a treatment plan to change target behaviours with their psychologist.
Neurofeedback.- Neurofeedback is recommended by the American Psychological Society and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as a method that has been shown to produce beneficial effects in the research literature. It is important that you use a clinic that employs the best protocols for Neurofeedback and also understand that it appears to be most helpful with attention/concentration issues rather than hyperactivity (See Neurofeedback as a Treatment Intervention in ADHD: Current Evidence and Practice). With Neurofeedback can bypass the waitlist for treatment for Psychiatric/Pediatric evaluation and start an evidence-based approach for the treatment of ADD/ADHD within a few months while on the waitlist for these highly sought-after medical professionals. Neurofeedback can be booked at the Perth Brain Centre (set aside a budget of around $2000 – $2500 for the assessment and treatment program) and if delivered by an Occupational Therapist you may obtain Medicare/Private Health rebates. Just like medication, it will not be the solution for everyone. Below are some local Perth Businesses where you can obtain Neurofeedback treatment programs.
Another Neurofeedback option for children with emotional regulation issues whether they are brought on by ADHD or other resources is Mightier for kids. Mightier is a digital program for kids that uses their heart rate to teach coping skills through game-based play. It is clinically validated to support kids ages 6-14 with ADHD, Autism, Anger, Anxiety and outbursts and ODD.
You will need a diagnosis from a Psychiatrist or Pediatrician for a script for medication. There are stimulant and non-stimulant-based medications and slow-release medications. The US and the Australian ADHD treatment recommendation differ in their recommendation for medication as a front line treatment for ADHD for children under 9. The Australian Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guideline For Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)recommend medication as the frontline treatment for ADHD as well as other interventions. Medication for children and adults may have undesirable side effects. More information on the types of medication available can be found here and should be discussed with your Psychiatrist or Pediatrician. Medication and CBT work more effectively for different areas of ADHD related problems and a psychologist can help you make the decision based on your individual concerns. Psychologists can’t prescribe medication or provide official advice around medication but we can provide a space to discuss your reactions to medication and formulate the questions you need to answer with your psychiatrist/pediatrician.
In the majority of instances it is recommended that Neurofeedback, Parent Behavioural Training (parenting does not cause ADHD but it can go a long way to help manage it), Behavioural Class Room interventions or medication is adopted for the treatment of ADHD however, nutrition and psychological therapy can play an important supplementary role and depending on what symptoms you are most struggling with, psychological therapy may be the better treatment option.
Parent Behavioural Training – The Triple P Parenting program is a free online resource for WA parents designed for children under 12. It will help parents iscover more ways to be an ongoing positive influence on your child and strengthen your relationship (now, and in the years to come). Promote new skills and help emotional self-regulation and know how to respond effectively to guide behaviour so that you can raise happier and more confident and capable kids.
Nutrition. – Following an ADHD nutrition plan rich in protein and vitamins can help control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Key components are having a diet in high protein, avoiding carbs/sugar and supplementing with iron, magnesium and zinc. The Perth Brain Centre is able to give you a targeted list of nutritional supplements based on your brain scan. https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-diet-nutrition-sugar/ .
Cognitive-behavioral therapy refers to a type of mental health treatment that focuses on the thoughts and behaviors that occur in the “here and now. Stimulant and non-stimulant medication has been shown in numerous studies to be effective for treating ADHD in adults. Research thus far shows that CBT can provide benefits whether or not the person is being treated with medication. There have not yet been any direct, head-to-head comparisons of CBT and medication, but clinical experience suggests that they have different effects: Whereas medication helps to control the core symptoms of distractibility, short attention span and impulsivity, CBT is more effective at increasing the habits and skills needed for executive self-management and may also serve to improve emotional and interpersonal self-regulation.
We are registered psychologists therefore, private health fund rebates may be applied, please contact your provider to obtain further information regarding the gap between the fee charged and the health fund rebate.
Medicare rebates do not apply to psychometric assessments unless there is a referral from a Paediatrician / General Practitioner that is necessary regarding long-term planning for emotional and behavioural difficulties.