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Counseling and Disability Support Services’ Assessment Protocol for Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
It is important for students to understand that the assessment and diagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) is a serious matter. Therefore, SIUE is dedicated to a diligent and professional protocol of assessment when ADD/ADHD is suspected. There are several reasons for this, including:
- ADD/ADHD is often misdiagnosed by the layperson or other professional not properly trained in the psychometrics necessary to make proper assessment.
- The symptoms usually associated with ADD/ADHD are very similar to symptoms associated with a number of other disorders, such as anxiety disorders or depression.
- Even if properly assessed and diagnosed in childhood, a college student’s brain has developed and changed considerably since childhood, warranting further assessment before confirming the diagnosis.
- The academic demands of SIUE are significantly more difficult than most high school standards. Consequently, students may need to make adjustments in their learning style and strategies in addition to treatment.
- If the student’s condition is misdiagnosed and they are started on medications, then they may suffer severe impairment in academic performance and a negative impact on their personal behavior.
- Some of the medications used to treat ADD/ADHD are habit-forming or addictive. SIUE is particularly mindful of the use of medications by students and the potential of prescription medication abuse.
A proper diagnosis that takes all of the above into account requires a qualified mental health professional conducting a clinical interview and usually a number of objective assessments. Additionally, it may be necessary to rule out the possibility that the student has an undiagnosed learning disability that would warrant a different kind of treatment and accommodations. Each student seeking an assessment for ADD/ADHD will have to complete the following:
- College Student Attention Checklist (completed by student)
- Retrospective Attention Profile (completed by parent/guardian)
- Obtain a copy of your unofficial trancript(s).
- Obtain copies of your cumulative school records including any special education records, report cards and/or teacher comments. Elementary school records are especially helpful.
- Obtain copies of any testing or evaluations that you have had done in the past.
Other assessments that may be warranted for proper diagnosis include:
- Clinical interview conducted by a trained mental health professional
- Brown Attention Deficit Disorders Scale
- Conner’s Adult ADHD Rating Scale (CAARS)
- Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI)
- Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
- Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
- Connor’s Continuous Performance Test II (CPT-II)
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Third Edition (WIAT – III)
- Wechsler Memory Scales-Fourth Edition (WMS-IV)
- Other tests as needed
The effective treatment of ADD/ADHD usually includes a “multimodal” approach that includes counseling, education, academic accommodations and medication treatment. In some instances all four interventions are not necessary. The treatment plan is to be determined by the interdisciplinary team working with the student. Also available to the student are referrals to providers, diagnosticians, and tutors that may be of help. If a student takes medication, it is necessary that the person be routinely evaluated and followed by a mental health professional.
At SIUE, the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of ADD/ADHD is managed by two departments: Counseling Services (CS) and Disability Support Services (DSS). An SIUE student can begin the process of determining what is causing their attention issue with either department with the expectation that he or she will be working with the other department fairly quickly. For students to successfully complete the assessment and diagnostic process, they must understand their role:
- Each student seeking services will need to meet with professionals in both CS and DSS.
- The student must sign release of information forms for the departments to be able to openly communicate throughout the assessment process.
- The student will be assigned a therapist within CS and will be asked to work directly with them on a regular basis for interview, assessment, feedback, treatment planning, and/or possible referral.
- The student must exercise patience. In order for an appropriate diagnostic picture to be attained, the professionals in CS and DSS will need time to gather information, analyze results, and possibly gather more information.
- Because this process is time consuming and requires significant resources on the part of SIUE and the student, the student must read and sign an agreement in the presence of a CS or DSS representative stating that they understand the protocol.
Forms to be completed for ADHD assessment:
CS and DSS' Assessment Protocol for ADD/ADHD and Agreement
ADHD Assessment Instructions Packet