ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that begins in childhood and is evident in more than one setting. Symptoms tend to vary depending on the context within the setting (e.g., signs of ADHD are usually minimal or even totally absent when the person has consistent external stimulation, such as while playing video games!) For adults, motoric hyperactivity is often less obvious, but difficulties with inattention, planning, restlessness, and impulsivity often persist. Three subtypes of ADHD exist including the predominantly inattentive presentation (colloquially referred to as "ADD"), predominantly hyperactive/impulsive presentation, and combined presentation (symptoms of both inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity). Learning disabilities frequently co-exist with ADHD.
If your child struggles with attention, distractibility, focus, hyperactivity, or impulsivity, then a psychoeducational assessment can be of significant benefit to them throughout their school years. An assessment exploring the possibility of attention difficulties incorporates use of the guidelines set forth by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth edition (DSM-5) to determine the presence of ADHD symptoms. Comprehensive testing is completed in order to explore and rule out other possible explanations that can mimic inattentive or impulsive behaviour (e.g., memory or processing abilities) as well as evaluate for possible co-exisiting neurodevelopmental conditions such as learning disabilities.
The end result of a psychoeducational assessment is a feedback session to discuss the assessment findings, a plan to move forward, and a comprehensive formal report. Most frequently, legal guardians choose to share this report with their child's school to help teachers create an Individual Program Plan (IPP), access extra supports, make adjustments to curriculum if needed, or apply for academic accommodations (e.g., extra time, assistive technology) for grade twelve diploma exams or post-secondary exams.