Behavioral Psychology Associates
(847) 303-1880
Behavioral Psychology

Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD

ADHD: THE EVALUATION PROCESS*

Thank you for choosing Behavioral Psychology Associates and Behavioral Care Associates. We hope you will find the following information helpful in preparing for your child's evaluation with our professional staff.

The clinical interview with you is probably the most important component of a comprehensive professional evaluation of a child.  Other important elements include the completion of behavior questionnaires about your child, the completion of a similar set of behavior questionnaires about your child by his/her teacher, an interview with your child's teacher, a review of existing documentation (e.g., report cards, test reports), and the administration of the Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch).  In addition, psychoeducational testing might be recommended if there are questions to be answered about your child's intelligence, cognitive abilities, memory, organizational abilities, academic skills, auditory processing, or other issues relevant to academic success.

What Information Will We Need from You to Do the Evaluation?

Before we are able to identify or diagnose your child as having a behavioral, emotional, or learning problem, we must collect a great deal of information about your child and family, carefully sift through this information, determine how serious the problems are likely to be, and rule out or rule in other disorders or problems your child might have. You might be referred to another psychologist, if your child also needs educational or psychological testing for any learning or developmental problems.

What Else is Needed to Complete the Evaluation?

In addition to the information you will give us, our professionals will need information from others who know your child.  You may be asked to (1) provide written authorization for us to get the reports of previous evaluations that your child may have been given; (2) authorize us to contact your child's treating physician for further information on health status and medication treatment, if any; (3) provide the most recent school evaluations, i.e., report card, ISAT summary; (4) give your written authorization to have your child's teacher complete behavior questionnaires and participate in a phone interview; and (5) provide written authorization for us to obtain any information from other professionals that already may be involved in providing services to your child.

The Parent Interview

You are going to be interviewed for about 45-50 minutes about your child.  This interview is an indispensable part of the evaluation of your child.  No adult is more likely to have the wealth of knowledge about, the history of interactions with, or simply the time spent with a child than you.  Whenever possible, both parents should attend the interview, as they each have a somewhat unique perspective on the child's problems.  If employment or other reasons preclude one parent from attending, the other parent should speak with the partner the day before the evaluation and write down that parent's concerns and opinions about the child to take into the evaluation the next day.  It is usually not necessary that brothers and sisters attend this first evaluation.  In some cases, we may request that these siblings attend a second meeting if the we feel it is necessary to get the siblings' view of particular family conflicts or problems the siblings are having with the child being evaluated.

Information About You and Your Family

We understand that many families of behavior problem children are under more stress than other families and that the parents may be having more personal problems than most parents whose children do not have behavior problems.  Do not be offended if you are asked such personal questions.  Information about you and your family can be of great assistance to us in helping to understand your child's problems better and develop more useful treatment recommendations for you.  It may also indicate to the interviewer that you may need some additional help for your own or your family's other problems.  You will probably be asked about your own background, education, and occupation, as well as those of your spouse.  We may ask if you or your spouse have had any psychiatric, learning, developmental, or chronic medical problems.  Parents are also typically asked during such evaluations whether they are having marital problems and what the nature of these might be.  Finally, we will ask you about other children in the immediate family and any psychological, educational, developmental, or other problems these siblings may be having.

All of these personal questions are customary and important, so please answer as honestly as you can.

The Child Interview

Depending on your child's age, some time during the evaluation process will be spent by us in interviewing your child and making some informal observations of your child's appearance, behavior, and developmental skills.  This interview serves much the same purposes as the interview with you.  However, you should not place too much emphasis on the information we obtain in this interview.  Such informal observations of your child's conduct during the interview may not be typical of your child's behavior at home or school, as mentioned earlier.  Our professionals will not make the mistake of placing too much weight on the observations of your child in our clinic.  Do not be surprised to find that your child is well behaved during this evaluation, and do not worry about it.

*Adapted from Barkley, R.A. & Murphy, K.R. Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Clinical Workbook. New York: Guilford Press. Reproduced with permission from the publisher.

Behavioral Psychology