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ADHD/Executive Functioning

What is executive functioning?

Why schedule an evaluation?

Executive functions refers to a set of mental processes involved in the regulation and maintenance of behavior to achieve optimal performance towards a future goal. 


What does executive functioning look like?

  • Initiating and Sustaining Attention

  • Regulating Impulses/Inhibition

  • Organizing/Planning

  • Evaluating

  • Working Memory

  • Shifting and Adjusting Attention and Behavior to Tasks 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning share many commonalities. The main difference between the two is that ADHD is an official diagnosis. ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that makes it difficult for an individual to initiate and sustain attention and effort. Impulsivity and hyperactivity may also be present.


Noticeable signs of ADHD include:

  • Excessive fidgeting

  • Trouble waiting for one’s turn

  • Forgetfulness

  • Difficulty with organization

  • Difficulty sustaining attention on non-preferred tasks

  • Appearing not listen to when spoken to

  • Fidgeting.

  • Difficulty  staying seated (in classroom, workplace).

  • Always “on the go,” as if driven by a motor.

  • Excessive talking

  • Difficulty waiting to speak in conversations, frequently interrupts others

Youth with ADHD typically require accommodations in the classroom in order to succeed and perform at a level that showcases their true abilities. A comprehensive executive functioning evaluation will help pinpoint areas of strength and weakness, especially related to tasks that evaluate sustained attention, memory, inhibition, and shifting attention to different tasks. This information from this psychological evaluation will provide a better understanding of your child's experiences, and will also help identify strategies to improve academic success and overall social and emotional functioning.


For emerging adults transitioning to college or the workplace, having a clear understanding of their learning style and strategies that can improve their understanding and productivity can be helpful. 


What does an ADHD evaluation include?


To start the evaluation process we will meet for an intake session. I will gather information about a client's presenting difficulties and strengths. This will include a comprehensive social and developmental history as well as a syntheses of a client's educational history and achievement. This allows me to select the appropriate assessments for the client and to determine what other informants should be included in reporting data. 


During the assessment portion relevant informants will complete behavior rating scales that compare a client's performance with the expected norms for the client's age. Clients will complete hands-on-tasks that assess components of executive functioning, intellectual ability, and academic achievement in order to rule out highly comorbid disorders (e.g., anxiety, specific learning disabilities). This comprehensive approach ensures that a diagnosis is accurate and there is a clear understanding of an individual's patterns of strengths and weaknesses that will inform intervention strategies.

Feedback and Consultation

Once I collect data from direct and indirect measures this information will be synthesized into a comprehensive written report. The report will include the client's educational and developmental history, observations, a summary and explanation of data gathered from multiple informants and direct assessment measures, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations for school/work, home, and social-emotional development. I will also set up a time for a feedback and consultation session to discuss the findings of the evaluation and address any questions you may have.

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