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ADHD Testing & Behavioral Evaluation

ADHD is a brain development condition that makes it very hard for a child to direct their attention to a non-preferred (boring) topic for an extended time. Children and adults with ADHD are also often impulsive. They may set out on one task, but get distracted by a /SQUIRREL!/ moment and completely forget their original mission and drift off to their favorite thing. Kids with ADHD often are more emotionally reactive than other children and harder to soothe. Schools (and often parents) see things like homework completed half way, completed but not turned in, or genuinely completed and lost in their bookbag or locker. The phrase "smart, but scattered" can be applied to some of these children.

ADHD occurring on its own does not usually fall in the classic learning disability categories school use to qualify a child for special education. A separate section of the law, section 504, does often apply. Children with a well-established ADHD diagnosis usually qualify for a 504 plan for some accommodations and supports at school. Kids and teens with ADHD often need substantial supports put in place at home and school to help them demonstrate what they have learned. Grades may be poor due to huge backlogs of incomplete and not turned-in work.

During ADHD evaluations I work to verify the child meets criteria and I also look for areas to give practical support at home and at school. Methods to put more external motivation in place are almost always discussed. Therapy processes to address the very common defiant or irritable behaviors brought on by chronic school failure and likely homework battles at home can help turn dynamics around.

What are some signs of ADHD in children?

  • "Driven by a motor" every since they could walk. May play with sets of toys in very quick rotation.

  • Super talkative or just cannot keep their body still and in a chair. MAy do better when given permission to stand and fidget in place while working at their desk.

  • Work done at home, but forgotten at home; left in backpack/locker, or just forgetting wihen in classs. Homework not written down or in scattered places, or needed books missing.

  • Attention span seems very short for their age. Long attention span for video games doesn't negate the above.

  • Hard time taking turns compared to others their age or incredibly sore loser at games..

  • Has to be first in line all the time.

  • Caught up in daydreams during crucial times in class or with family.