ADHD in adults and children: The assessment process

Interested in getting an ADHD assessment done through Sydney City Psychology? Our Clinical Psychologist Angel Lee-Aube provides detailed answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
 


 

I’m interested in finding out more in getting an ADHD assessment done through Sydney City Psychology. How is it structured?

An ADHD assessment at Sydney City Psychology is conducted by a clinical psychologist. It takes place over three meetings and involves the following:

  • A structured diagnostic interview to determine whether symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria for ADHD.
  • Background history taking to determine other or concurrent causes of symptoms.
  • Self-report and observer (teacher / parent / partner) questionnaires to determine functional impact of symptoms.
  • A cognitive assessment using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) or the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS-IV) to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses and inform intervention strategies.
  • A comprehensive psychological report informing the client as to whether they meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD, other possible reasons for their symptoms, their cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and personalised strategies to improve symptoms.
  • A feedback session with the clinical psychologist to review and explain the report and recommend treatment options.
  • Follow up with other professionals (e.g. school, psychiatrist, GP or allied health professionals) as needed or requested after diagnosis (additional fees may apply depending on nature of follow up).

What if I just wanted an initial consultation to see whether an ADHD assessment is appropriate for me or my child?

Please book a single consultation session with the clinical psychologist, and we can decide collaboratively whether a formal ADHD assessment is needed. An ADHD screener may be administered and the clinical psychologist will ask about your history and symptoms, and suggest useful strategies for you regardless of whether you proceed with a formal assessment.

Do I need the cognitive assessment to have a diagnosis?

While the cognitive assessment is not in itself a diagnostic tool for ADHD, it is very useful for informing the clinical psychologist of your cognitive strengths and weaknesses so that recommendations for treatment can be personalised. It also provides an objective tool to determine the baseline cognitive functioning level of an individual, and to rule out other reasons for symptoms. It can also help to determine neurodiversity. For these reasons, SCP requires a cognitive assessment for the diagnosis of ADHD and learning disorders.

If you already have a cognitive assessment that was completed elsewhere within 12 months of the referral (for a child under 18) or withing 24 months of the referral (for an adult), then a new one is not needed and we will proceed with the other parts of the assessment only. Please provide the cognitive assessment report to the clinical psychologist prior to the initial consultation session.

Can I explore with my clinical psychologist whether I have ADHD using my Mental Health Care Plan from my GP?

Yes. In a therapy context, the clinical psychologist will work collaboratively with you to explore your symptoms and their impacts, and will be able to recommend strategies to improve your functioning. A formal ADHD diagnosis is not required unless you request it.

Please note that Mental Health Care Plans cannot be used for formal ADHD assessments and are not eligible for Medicare rebates.

What if I go through with the ADHD assessment, and the clinical psychologist determines that I don’t have ADHD?

We recognise that symptoms are distressing and impairing, even if they do not meet diagnostic criteria for a disorder. It is important that your clinical psychologist works collaboratively with you to recommend strategies to relieve your symptoms regardless of whether you meet diagnostic criteria for ADHD.

During the assessment process, the clinical psychologist will complete a differential diagnosis. This means that the clinical psychologist will explore other or concurrent reasons for your symptoms. The outcome of your cognitive assessment may also inform the clinical psychologist the reasons for your learning difficulties or symptoms.

No matter the diagnostic outcome, the psychological report will recommend personalised strategies to help with your presenting problems and improve functioning

I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. What are my next steps?

Your report will contain a list of personalised recommendations to help you manage your ADHD. You may consider non-pharmacological approaches to managing your symptoms. These may include individual and group psychological interventions, coaching, and implementing strategies that have been recommended based on your cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

You may also consider using medication as an option to help manage your symptoms. To do this, your GP can provide a referral to a psychiatrist or paediatrician (if under 18). You can take your report to a psychiatrist or paediatrician and inform them of your ADHD diagnosis. Your psychiatrist or paediatrician will work collaboratively with you to determine whether medication is a suitable option.

Sydney City Psychology will offer ongoing support to you after your diagnosis and offer a range of services supporting clients with ADHD, including individual therapy and group skills programs.

Any other questions?

Please send an email to info@sydneycitypsychology.com.au so that our clinical psychologists can review and answer your questions.