Psychoeducational Testing
It is also recommended that a psychoeducational assessment be done by a psychologist to assess whether other learning disabilities may coexist with ADHD, or may be the actual cause of the symptoms rather than ADHD. A psychoeducational assessment should look at levels of executive functioning (see ADHD information for more information on executive functioning), assess the possibility of a central auditory processing (CAP) disorder, look for graphomotor (printing/writing) difficulty, and evaluate processing speed as well as productivity. It is very important that if there is even the slightest evidence that CAP disorder may be a problem, this should be assessed before the psychoeducational testing occurs. Testing for CAP disorder is done by a specially trained audiologist. Since many of the tests that take place during an educational assessment are auditory-based, they may wrongly indicate that the child or adult has a low IQ if they are used to test a child with CAP disorder. Different tests that are not auditory-based can be used to get a more accurate reading of the person's ability.

Symptoms of CAP Disorder

  • Problems paying attention to and remembering information presented orally
  • Difficulty with following multiple directions
  • Poor listening skills
  • Slower processing of information
  • Lower academic performance than is expected
  • Difficulty with language, spelling and/or reading skills
  • Problems with frustration and behaviour

Unfortunately, psychoeducational testing, if done privately, is not covered by provincial health plans in most cases. Schools may do these tests if they feel that there is a significant problem, however waiting times can be lengthy and time restraints may compromise the thoroughness of the tests. In some limited cases, hospital clinics may do these tests as well, however long waiting lists and time restraints will apply here as well. As with a physician, it is important to do some research on the psychologists that will be doing your child's testing. The psychologist must be currently accredited and officially registered to make diagnoses and they should be familiar with testing for learning disabilities and ADHD. They should be prepared to produce a detailed report outlining all areas of difficulty as well as areas of strength without clustering everything into an ADHD diagnosis. It will be important that difficulties with executive functioning, processing, written output, sequencing, active working memory as well as long and short term memory be well documented. These are all areas that children with ADHD routinely have problems with and at the present time, a report that outlines these difficulties clearly will make it possible for your child or adolescent to receive a special needs designation from the school board. This designation will at least give you a basis on which to to advocate for classroom accommodations. At this time, a private psychoeducational assessment roughly costs between $1500 and $2500.
TIP: Private health insurance will usually cover psychological fees to a maximum of $500 a year. The assessment can sometimes be split over two years if done at the end of one year and the beginning of the next.

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