ADHD Assessment

How to Best Assess ADHD: Is psychological testing necessary?

Controversy continues regarding the most appropriate method for diagnosing ADHD. Many clinicians continue to utilize the detailed interviewing coupled with clinical rating scales. This approach is recommended by Russell Barkley, PhD, and flows from Barkley’s understanding of ADHD. Some psychologists, particularly those who refer to themselves as neuropsychologists advocate extent testing to make a diagnosis of ADHD. These psychologists utilize a variety of tests to make a diagnosis. Recently, they have begun to utilize tests of Executive Functioning (relatively new tests that examine high order cognitive skills).

In trying to respond to this debate the most reasonable strategy is to determine if there is any research to support one approach over the other. Recently, a study by Block et al, the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosicence, examined whether tests of executive functioning were useful in diagnosing ADHD. The authors concluded that tests of EF do not make a clinically significant contribution to the diagnostic process. While one study does not a definitive answer make, this research offers additional support for the argument that extensive psychological testing does not assist in diagnosing ADHD.