Do you perform ADHD assessments?
Yes and no. Although I assess and diagnose ADHD, it is the context of a comprehensive evaluation. For example, if you were to go to your pediatrician and tell her/him that you think your child has say, diabetes, your physician would be remiss if s/he did not run the proper tests to rule out other possibilities. In other words, the diagnosis cannot precede assessment for any suspected disorder.
Shouldn’t the diagnosis of ADHD require more than behavioral checklists?
YES! It is heartening to hear that parents want *real* assessments for possible ADHD. It is also great to know that many pediatricians are not prescribing ADHD medication based on behavioral checklists alone. ADHD has been overdiagnosed and misdiagnosed due to the use of checklists without actual performance results and/or comprehensive clinical interview by a doctor.
Behavioral checklists are only valuable insomuchas they provide an easy way to obtain a lot of information in a short period of time, but should not be used as the main instrument for diagnosis. They are typically given to parents and/or teachers, and therefore actually measure what the behavior in question looks like to the caregiver.
Conversely, neuropsychological tests measure actual cognitive function. Neuropsychological assessment may also uncover problems in other areas that masquerade as attention problems but are not primarily attention problems. Additionally, since ADHD often co-occurs with other disorders (such as learning disorders and behavioral problems), a clinical neuropsychologist can assess and diagnose these problems as well.