Attention-deficit disorder/Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is characterized by symptoms of inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity that are inappropriate for the individual’s age and cause distress to the individual.
Children with ADD/ADHD often have difficulty in school, although these difficulties do not always appear until the child is faced with more difficult courses in middle school or high school. Despite the difficulties that children with ADD/ADHD have in school, standard educational/IQ testing often does not identify ADD/ADHD because the difficulties experienced by chidlren with ADD/ADHD are not addressed by these measures. Thus, a Neuropsychological evaluation is often necessary to identify cognitive and learning difficulites in children with ADD/ADHD. A Neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive evaluation which begins with a review of family and medical history and daily functioning. A Neuropsychological evaluation also assesses IQ, academic achievement, attention, executive functioning, and other areas of cognitive functioning. In addition, a Neuropsychological evaluation provides measures of the student’s strengths and weaknesses which allows for recommendations that are personalized to the child (i.e., on an IEP/504 plan), which can help the child learn up to their potential. A Neuropsychological evaluation is often a necessary step in applying for accommodations, such as extended time or a quiet environment, in school and on standardized testing (e.g., SAT).
Individuals with ADD/ADHD often see improvement of symptoms during adolescence as levels of hyperactivity decrease. However, the symptoms of inattention and impulsivity continue into adulthood, resulting in difficulties with work and social relationships. Adults with ADD/ADHD may be easily distractable, have difficulty maintaining a schedule or keeping track of deadlines, or often interrupt conversations or other peoples’ activities. A Neuropsychological evaluation can help identify whether or not you meet criteria for ADD/ADHD, but more importantly provides information about your personal strengths and weakness when it comes to paying attention and learning. Knowing your strengths can help you learn strategies to minimize the effect of your weaknesses on your life (e.g., learning to use a calendar system efficiently).
Although medication is often used to treat ADD/ADHD, both children and adults with ADD/ADHD can benefit from learning coping and organization strategies to manage their symptoms (Link to coaching page).