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ADD & ADHD Evaluations

Attention Deficit Disorder &
Attention Deficit - Hyperactivity Disorder

The U.S. National Institutes of Health reports that:

"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that becomes apparent in some children in the preschool and early school years. It is hard for these children to control their behavior and/or pay attention. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 percent of children have ADHD, or approximately 2 million children in the United States. This means that in a classroom of 25 to 30 children, it is likely that at least one will have ADHD."

A child with ADHD faces a difficult but not insurmountable task ahead. In order to achieve his or her full potential, he or she should receive help, guidance, and understanding from parents, guidance counselors, and the public education system. The research is clear that ADHD and its management is best accomplished through a variety of mechanisms tailored to the specific child's circumstances, including: medications, behavioral interventions, as well as parent training and educational options.

The principal characteristics of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. These symptoms appear early in a child's life.  Because many normal children may have these symptoms, but at a lower level, or the symptoms may be caused by another disorder, it is important that the child receive a thorough examination and appropriate diagnosis by a well-qualified professional.

It is essential to know that all children are sometimes restless, sometimes act without thinking, and sometimes daydream the time away.  Symptoms of ADHD will appear over the course of many months, often with the symptoms of impulsiveness and hyperactivity preceding those of inattention, which may not emerge for a year or more.  Different symptoms may appear in different settings, depending on the demands the situation may pose for the child's self-control.  A child who "can't sit still" or is otherwise disruptive will be noticeable in school, but the inattentive daydreamer may be overlooked.  The impulsive child who acts before thinking may be considered just a "discipline problem," while the child who is passive or sluggish may be viewed as merely unmotivated.  Yet both may have different types of ADHD.  When the child's hyperactivity, distractibility, poor concentration, or impulsivity begin to affect performance in school, social relationships with other children, or behavior at home, ADHD may be suspected. But because the symptoms vary so much across settings, ADHD is not easy to diagnose. This is especially true when inattentiveness is the primary symptom.

In addition to our Director, Dr. Robert Montgomery, Reinforcement Unlimited, LLC is very fortunate to have Dr. Christine Montgomery who is an expert on ADHD and other learning and impulse control disorders.  Dr. Montgomery has training in neuropsychology and extensive experience in evaluating children.  Her training includes work at the University of Georgia System's Regents Center for Learning Disorders, at the neuropsychology unit of Scottish Rite Hospital, and with one of the world's leading authorities on ADHD - Dr. William Pelham.  She works with Dr. Robert Montgomery to ensure that your child receives the highest quality evaluation.

A correct diagnosis often resolves confusion about the reasons for the child's problems.  This can allow parents and child to move forward in their lives with more accurate information on what is wrong and what can be done to help.  Once the disorder is diagnosed, the child and family can begin to receive whatever combination of educational, medical, and emotional help they need.  This may include providing recommendations to school staff, seeking out a more appropriate classroom setting, selecting the right medication, and helping parents to manage their child's behavior.  To assess whether a child has ADHD, psychologists consider several critical questions: Are these behaviors excessive, long-term, and pervasive? That is, do they occur more often than in other children the same age? Are they a continuous problem, not just a response to a temporary situation? Do the behaviors occur in several settings or only in one specific place like the playground or in the schoolroom? The person's pattern of behavior is compared against a set of criteria and characteristics of the disorder as listed in the DSM-IV.  Additionally, children suspected of having ADHD are more likely than normal to also have a variety of other disorders such as a specific learning disability.  It is for this reason that a comprehensive psychological evaluation, not merely a meeting with the pediatrician (who can also diagnose ADHD) is recommended.  

Dr. Montgomery uses a process approach to designing and conducting evaluations that tailors the process to meet the unique needs of the specific child.  She works in concert with Dr. Robert Montgomery and incorporates information from direct evaluation of the child, school and parent reports, medical records, and unstructured observations of the child.  This comprehensive evaluation provides the best assessment of each child and results in specific recommendations for treatment (if needed) that includes child, parent, and school interventions.

We appreciate your visiting our website.  We understand that the process of seeking an evaluation for your child can be overwhelming and frightening at the same time.  We have been there with our own children and hope that this helps us in being better equipped to work with you.  If you have any questions at all about us, our practice, whether we are the right fit for you and your family we encourage you to call and talk to our staff and ourselves.  We aren't always the right fit, and if we are not  we will do our best to provide you with resources that best meet your needs.  

Call us at 770-591-9552 to discuss your child's needs.

A handout on what information we need in order to provide you the best evaluation possible is available to guide you in preparing for the initial evaluation appointment.

National Institute of Mental Health parent information booklet on ADHD


 

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