What is it?
To some degree all of us can say that we have trouble focusing, overlook details, procrastinate, are easily distracted, fidgety or energetic. It is when this pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity is persistent and interferes with everyday life that a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may be considered.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder in that its symptoms are typically present before a person is 12 years old. Individuals with ADHD have trouble regulating their attention and behaviour to the point that it impacts their ability to carry out daily tasks, perform at school and or socialise. ADHD is diagnosed based on a set of criteria that details the specific characteristics of the disorder. The criteria are listed in a manual called the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5).
What are the typical behaviour characteristics?
People with ADHD may present with the following:
- Be very active, to the point that others have trouble keeping up with them
- Have trouble remaining seated or be very fidgety
- Talk more than others or blurt out responses
- Miss fine details in work or their environment
- May not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Have trouble focusing on a task for a long period of time
- Act or speak without thinking first
- Move from one task to another without completing the task the initially started
- Have trouble organising simple activities such as cooking dinner
- Appear forgetful, often loosing items
How can assessment help?
During an assessment we will look into an individual’s thinking skills including attention, working memory, inhibition, planning and organisation. These skills are typically areas of weakness in people with ADHD. Using a combination of self-report (i.e., asking the opinion of the client), interviews with family/friends/teachers (with your consent), questionnaires, and cognitive tests we are able to characterise a person’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses.
Combining all these forms of information helps to understand what is contributing to someone’s difficulties. It also assists to see if there are other factors that may be contributing to someone’s difficulties in their everyday life. For example, many people with ADHD also experience difficulties with learning. Neuropsychological assessment can help determine if learning difficulties are related to poor attentional and behavioural regulation (i.e., ADHD) or a specific learning disorder. Alternatively, assessment may be useful to “rule out” a diagnosis of ADHD or highlight if there is anything else (i.e., anxiety or depression) that may be impacting on someone’s daily life.
Understanding someone’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses can help individuals to understand themselves and explain why their brain may not work the way they would like it too. It can also help to identify appropriate strategies for the individual and those who work with them (i.e., family, friends, teachers, and support workers) to understand what is going on and how to support the individual to improve their quality of life.
Many people with ADHD may decide to manage their symptoms with medication. Neuropsychology assessment can assist to see if there are any changes in cognitive performance by comparing someone’s cognitive performance before and then after commencing medication.
How does Invictus Health do things differently?
Our wonderful team work hard during their time with you to get the ‘full picture’ of your experiences, this equips us to be able to provide additional information about your thinking skills, academic skills, and behavioural functioning. We can also comment on additional conditions or factors that may be contributing to your difficulties that may require management.
Our comprehensive and detailed assessment enables us to provide individualised strategies and recommendations to improve an individual’s quality of life. Such information can also assist with guiding treatment, schooling transitions and disability supports.
By: Invictus Health