“I have talked with many worried parents who are discouraged and at their wit’s end. After trying many different ways of parenting, they still feel like they are failing and don’t know what to do. It is always a relief when they find out that there was a valid and understandable reason for their child’s struggles. Now, they have a renewed hope. Their child’s ADHD can be treated and managed by attaining the proper tools and resources to help both the parent and the child.” – Dr. Douglas Neal
If you child comes in for an assessment, we will carefully screen to make sure the presenting behavior problems are not due to a different issue, such as:
Children with symptoms of inattention without the hyperactivity or impulsivity element may have ADD, but it can go unnoticed because they are often quiet and less likely to act out. They may sit passively, seeming to work, but they are often not paying attention to what is going on around them. They will not be able to focus or stay on task; they will be disorganized, forgetful, and lose things. They will not be able to complete homework or chores in a timely manner. They may get along well with other children compared with those with the other subtypes of ADHD, who tend to have social problems because of their impulsivity or misunderstanding of social cues.
But children with the inattentive type of ADHD are not the only ones whose disorder can go undiagnosed. Adults often mistake children with hyperactive and impulsive subtypes of ADHD as overly emotional or “defiant.” Too often a child is mislabeled as oppositional defiant disorder when underneath their behavior is the lack to self-regulate. They do not have the brakes to stop what they do or say.
When a young child is highly hyperactive or impulsive, parents are often advised to "wait and see,” and parents of boys may be repeatedly told that their son is simply being "boyish." But if you think that something is not right, listen to your intuition. There are lots of ideas for tools and strategies that many parents find helpful, and no one regrets getting help too soon.
This is a typical story we have heard many times from our parents:
“I was trying to talk Tyler through yet another tantrum at the pool when a mom walked over to say that Tyler reminded her of her son, now nine years old. She gestured toward a boy sitting on a towel, quietly playing cards with a couple of other boys. Her son, as it turned out, suffered from severe ADHD. She gave me the name and number of a psychologist who specialized in young children with ADHD. I called right there and made an appointment.”
After a thorough evaluation, her son was diagnosed with ADHD. She and her husband decided to use both a behavioral plan and choose a natural approach using supplements just before he turned five. She and her husband joined the local parent group called CHADD. “Tyler is much more able to enjoy his friends, he gets invited back to play, and our home is more peaceful. Had I seen a doctor who truly understood the signs of ADHD in young children earlier on, or had I known that ADHD could be diagnosed and treated at a younger age, I could have spared our family a lot of heartache."
We do not assume every inattentive or highly active child has ADHD. Instead, we do a thorough and comprehensive assessment to weed out or identify other factors.
The medical field has spent decades attempting to answer the question, “What is ADHD?” Doctors and researchers will tell you there is no single marker or ADHD test that can assess for the signs of ADHD in toddlers, kids, or teens. Dr. Neal has learned that it is a combination of different variables observed over the lifespan of the child in different settings which determine with clarity if there is a diagnosis of ADHD or not.
Dr. Neal has invested over 35 years answering that question and determining how to measure the signs of ADHD in kids and adults. He developed an ADHD intake assessment specifically designed for the diagnosis of ADHD. It is not a typical neuropsychological battery, which studies show cannot fully measure the symptoms of ADHD because it only has a 5% correlation to the diagnosis for ADHD. Dr. Neal knows he must ask the right questions that reflect a child over their whole life-span, in different settings with different types of people to get at the heart of ADHD behaviors and mindsets. His assessment includes a comprehensive intake and rating scales, which takes one to two hours to fill out prior to your first session. It takes two to four sessions to adequately review this intake, which is filled out prior to the first session. The evaluation is based on the completed intake form, Parent and Teacher rating scales, and an interview with the parents. Sometimes a child will be present for part of the interview/evaluation. Dr. Neal and parents make that decision together.
Depending on the results of the interviews, your child may come back to take the Qb ADHD computer test and possibly additional testing to find or rule out various conditions. We will have a follow-up session after testing is completed to review all the results and determine if your child has ADHD and any additional challenges.
If it appears that your child is struggling with ADHD, Dr. Neal will walk you through the various alternative non-medication options as well as various medication treatments, services, and tools that are available, in cooperation with your child’s school and healthcare providers. Dr. Neal will work with your school and other professionals to ensure that there is good communication, no duplication of services, and that everyone is working on the same page toward the same goals. Dr. Neal knows that the focus cannot be just on the child but the parents need realistic tools and resources for homelife and school.