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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning Assessment

Assessing ADHD involves an evaluation of attention and inhibitory systems along with executive functioning abilities. This assessment is far more complex than those completed with simple checklists or by observation used in most settings. Therefore, we recommend a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation for most concerns about attention and executive functioning.

Attention and executive functioning are important brain functions that have a large impact on many other brain functions, such as directing motor systems, mediating sensory stimuli, procedural memory for learning automaticity, and social and academic learning.

When should a child be assessed for ADHD?

The core symptoms of ADHD include inattention (e.g., difficulty sustaining attention or focus, distractibility, difficulty following directions, seeming forgetful), hyperactivity (e.g., fidgeting, talking excessively, being in constant motion, difficulty remaining seated), and impulsivity (e.g., initiating problem solving without thinking, inappropriately blurting out comments or answers, difficulty waiting one’s turn, and frequently interrupting others). Children with ADHD may exhibit different symptoms at different levels of intensity. Some children may appear inattentive or may be described as day dreamers. Others may be in constant motion. Some may have difficulty habituating routines for morning time, homework, etc. Others still may be loud, outgoing, and have difficulty controlling and reigning in their behavior.