We use clinical judgment based on many years of experience, questionnaire data, and computer-based tests to identify whether a person may have attention challenges.
For children in elementary school:
For children of elementary age, we use a slightly different process that takes more time. We prefer to meet initially with parents to get a full scope of the challenges and then discuss the next steps in the assessment process. For many children, we will advise a school observation before we meet with them, especially if the school has expressed concerns that have led parents to have an assessment. We believe that a school observation is a natural setting to understand what is happening to the child academically, socially, and emotionally. In our experience, we have found that it is better to do a school observation before meeting the child, so they are not aware of being observed. This is a key part of having a successful observation.
The next step will be to continue with the ADHD Clinic process by bringing the child with the parent(s) to meet with us and take the computer-based assessment. We work hard to make the child comfortable by playing games and chatting about their daily lives at home and school. Most children enjoy the process and see it as a fun experience.
With adolescents, we meet with the adolescent and the parents to get a full description of the learning, emotional and social challenges. This is followed by the completion of questionnaires (often prior to the initial meeting) by parents and the adolescent. Finally, we administer a computer-based assessment that measures sustained attention. This process takes about 2-3 hours.
With adults, we will meet for an initial intake, and if relevant, we encourage the partner to attend so as to get their perspective. Again, questionnaires are completed, and the computer-based task is administered. This process takes about 2-3 hours.
Based on the information collected, we will then write a short report that describes the challenges and provides the appropriate diagnosis, as well as initial recommendations. Then we will meet for a feedback session to discuss the results and provide consultation about what to do next.