The following are the results of ADHD assessments of two children (their names were removed for privacy); one male, one female. This shows you what goes into a cognitive/behavioral assessment by a psychiatrist, and how the information obtained from the assessment can be used to learn your child's areas of strengths and weaknesses.
Subject is a young female who was referred for an assessment due to concerns for a possible Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This evaluation consisted of interviews, behavioral observations, behavioral rating scales, cognitive testing, and a test of sustained attention. Subject demonstrated strengths with her visual spatial and fluid reasoning skills, with her Visual Spatial Index and Fluid Reasoning Index (problem solving/puzzles) falling within the Very High range. Results of a computerized continuous performance test indicated several atypical scores; however, it should be noted that she was significantly disengaged from this task. Parents indicate mild levels of inattentive symptoms, as well as hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Teacher ratings were not elevated; however, the patient's teacher indicated that she can be easily distracted and chatty. Taken together, the results of this evaluation support a diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder with both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive.
Subject is a young male who was referred for an assessment due to concerns for a possible Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This evaluation consisted of interviews, behavioral rating scales, cognitive testing, and a computerized test of sustained attention; however, this latter measure was indicated as invalid due to concerns about effort/engagement. Subject demonstrated strengths on tasks assessing visual spatial skills (High Average range), and on tasks assessing processing speed (Very Superior range). Rating scale and interview data indicated clinically significant levels of both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms. Taken together, data support a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder with the presence of both inattention and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms.
This information is extremely helpful because not only does it help the psychiatrist with their diagnoses, it sheds light on their innate learning style. For example, both the female and male student in this example scored in the very high range for visual spatial and fluid reasoning (constructing designs and puzzles under a time constraint). This indicates they are very visual and hands-on learners with an apt for problem solving/puzzles/spatial awareness). The male's assessment also indicated he fell into the "Very Superior" percentile range for processing speed (pattern recognition and new information processing).
This information can be useful for the parent and school guidance counselor in developing an IEP or 504 plan with the school. Note that neither student is cognitively delayed, both had composite IQs that were in the Very High range of Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV), however; both were unable to complete the portion of the assessment that measures the ability to sustain attention (which contributed to the inattentive portion of their combined ADHD diagnoses). Additionally, the psychiatrist reported to the parent that both students were unable to sit still during the assessment and complained of some of the questions being "too hard" or "too boring."