Neuropsychological Testing for ADD/ADHD

ADD/ADHD Testing

Fifth Avenue Psychiatry specializes in the accurate diagnosis of ADD/ADHD which often includes Neuropsychological Testing. Unfortunately, many adolescents, teenagers and adults go misdiagnosed. Psychological Testing can help distinguish an underlying anxiety disorder - or even normal energetic adolescents - from what is truly ADD or ADHD.

Depending on the presenting complaint, age and other factors a battery of psychological tests will be recommended. The specific group of tests can range from a small treatment focused battery to guide treatment to a thorough educational assessment that can uncover potential learning disabilities.

What tests are used to diagnose ADD/ADHD?

Neuropsychological testing involves a battery of objective and standardized tests. Usually, the doctor gets ADD/ADHD assessments from the parents, teacher or supervisor. Some common rating scales include:

  • The Vanderbilt Assessment Scale - reviews symptoms of ADHD according to the DSM-IV criteria. It also screens for co-existing conditions such as behavioral disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, anxiety, and depression.
  • Behavior Assessment System for Adolescents - assesses hyperactivity, aggression and behavioral problems. It also addresses anxiety, depression, attention and learning problems and lack of certain essential skills.
  • Adolescent Behavior Checklist/Teacher Report Form - assesses physical complaints, aggressive or delinquent behavior and withdrawal.

Other important diagnostic tools include computer-based “continuous performance tests” where the adolescent or teen gives very simple responses (i.e., click a button) to a simple stimulus (numbers, letters, etc.) on a computer screen.

These tests are designed to be long and tedious so if an adolescent has ADD/ADHD they will be challenged. The attention they display in this test, and any subsequent mistakes or mistake patterns, are analyzed to help understand the individual weaknesses. Adolescents with ADD/ADHD will make specific errors on this test; some of which also measure hyperactivity.

These tests include Continuous Performance tests such as:

  • Individual Variables of Attention
  • Test of Variables of Attention
  • Connors Continuous Performance Test

Simpler Continuous Performance tests, which are shorter in duration and provide less sophisticated data, include:

  • Rapidly Recurring Target Figures Test
  • Digit Cancellation Tasks

Once there is an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, the doctor may request other tests in order to rule out other causes, such as:

  • Blood diseases, i.e., thyroid disease
  • Blood lead levels
  • CT scan or MRI for brain abnormalities
  • Encephalograph test brain waves to measure electrical activity in the brain
  • Hearing and vision

Contact Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

Office address:
3 East 85th Street
New York NY 10028
T. 212-734-0506

Or use the convenient Online Contact Form, by clicking here

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