Anyone with access to the internet can look up the symptoms of ADHD. It’s not hard to read the criteria and match them up with your own experience or observations of your child. So why is a neuropsychological evaluation so important? Why spend the money and the time? Here are three reasons why:
- Many symptoms of ADHD are also consistent with other diagnoses, like learning disabilities and anxiety. Getting it right matters.
- The vast range of symptoms listed in the criteria don’t give a clear picture of the problem. The kid looking out the window in class is not the same as the kid blurting out inappropriate jokes or the kid leaving homework in his backpack. All this is to say that having a diagnosis of ADHD doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on.
- An ADHD diagnosis without any detail about underlying mechanisms is likely to be followed by inappropriate treatment recommendations or premature use of stimulant medication.
Neuropsychological testing is the only method of diagnosis that reliably rules out other mental health diagnoses and outlines the specific strengths and weaknesses that contribute to a person’s ADHD profile. Anyone can get an ADHD diagnosis at their local pediatrician’s office, but if you can afford it - and we are here because not everyone can - you should get a neuropsychological evaluation.