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By Mary V. Solanto, Ph.D. and CHADD
Like all good psychological assessments of children, the assessment for AD/HD begins with parental interviews concerning the details of the child's current difficulties, including time of onset, frequency, duration and severity. Behavioral questionnaires, completed by parents and teachers, are also very helpful in determining the nature of the child's difficulties and their seriousness when compared to the behavior of other children of the same age and gender in the general population. During this interview, the parents will also be asked about the child's physical, mental and emotional development from birth to the present. A good assessment will also inquire about the development of the family in order to identify any stressors or other problems that may affect the child's functioning.
The child is interviewed individually in order to get the "child's-eye" view of the challenges, satisfactions and stressors in his or her life at school, home and with peers. It also provides an opportunity to informally observe and assess the child's attention, language, self-control, self-confidence and relational skills.
When there are concerns about a child's general learning ability or specific "information-processing" skills (as is often the case in all types of AD/HD), a set of tests may be administered to more precisely examine the child's intellectual functioning, as well as his or her current level of educational achievement in major subject areas. Neuropsychological tests- which assess brain-based functions in the areas of memory, language, attention and motor skill - may also help to identify underlying causes of the child's difficulties. Because inattention is the primary symptom of IN and the tell-tale signs of impulsivity and hyperactivity are absent, a good clinician will take particular care to rule out other "silent" problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can also impair concentration and effort, before diagnosing IN.
Studies involving treatment plans that are specifically effective for children with the IN type of AD/HD are limited. Research is underway at the Mount Sinai AD/HD Center, supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to investigate the effectiveness of stimulant medications in children with IN. Other research in this program is investigating the unique difficulties children with IN have with orienting and focusing, immediate and short-term memory and in "executive" functions, such as self-stopping, organization and planning. The most recently funded study will examine the use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging in identifying unique patterns of brain activation in children with IN. It is hoped that a better understanding of these differences will lead to the development of educational and psychological treatment approaches that address the specific needs of children with IN.
While Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is the official term and acronym used by today's mental health care professionals, it is sometimes referred to by other names and abbreviations. For example, it is sometimes called:
Copyright © 2002 CHADD. All Rights Reserved. For more information visit CHADD
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