For many conditions in the field of mental health, the diagnosis is determined by whether the patient meets criteria from a long list of possible symptoms. While this is true for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the diagnosis also requires that other conditions are met, mainly that the symptoms are not due to another psychiatric diagnosis. Therefore, the presence of other possible comorbid disorders should be assessed.
Psychological and/or neuropsychological tests can help define the diagnosis in a more precise way. Thus, the reason for doing testing is to find out what the truth is for the patient in as precise terms as possible.
More specifically, psychological and neuropsychological testing can help to discern what cognitive strengths and weaknesses exist in a person. In a person with a learning disability, the overall level of intelligence is determined, and the subtests within this battery help reveal the strengths and weaknesses in the person’s cognitive processes, helping to explain the learning disability. With other mild brain problems, different patterns emerge. This can tell the neuropsychologist what kind of disorder the person has, but, more importantly, the testing can identify the strengths and weaknesses in a person so that guidance for career, remediation or treatment can be made with some degree of precision.
For a person diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADHD), testing has a slightly different role. Since learning disabilities overlap with ADHD about 40 percent of the time, this should be ruled out as a strong contributing factor. Additionally, verbal and visual memory should be assessed so that mild degrees of brain dysfunction can be discerned. In addition, a continuous performance test should be given so that progress can be monitored regarding treatments addressing the attentional problems.
There are various options in testing, which can be found on the Assessment Options page of this site. As the testing becomes more extensive, more definition can be brought to the diagnosis. Therefore, it is important to determine which evaluation is most appropriate for you.
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