ADHD Testing for Adults: What You Can Expect
Do you struggle with inattention, inability to focus, impulsivity, or restlessness? You might wonder if you have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but you’re not sure. Many ADHDers are identified in childhood, but not all. If you managed to make it through school without being tested for ADHD, perhaps because you were seen as a good but active kid, or because you were smart, or polite, or a girl. There are a lot of reasons why students who have characteristics never get ADHD testing during childhood. But, now you’re an adult. Is it too late?
It’s Not Too Late.
It’s not too late to get tested for ADHD, no matter how old you are. If you’re troubled by symptoms of ADHD, and you want answers, you can be assessed for ADHD.
It’s important to find someone who is experienced in adult ADHD testing, and someone you feel comfortable talking to. Most professionals who specialize in ADHD offer a free consultation so you can find the person you want to work with.
What are the 3 Types of ADHD?
1. Inattentive Type
People with Inattentive Type of ADHD have trouble focusing their concentration on what they’re trying to do. Sometimes their attention is so laser-focused on a game or something they’re really interested in, that they may not notice anything else around them. Other times it can feel like everything is vying for their attention so that their focus is pulled and bounced from one topic to another. A simple search for something on the internet can morph into a series of deep dives down rabbit holes, one after another. In school, they may have gotten in trouble for daydreaming or failing to pay attention to the teacher. It really wasn’t their fault. They just had the kind of brain that’s really good at jumping from one interesting thing to another, and not so good at staying focused on what the teacher is saying.
2. Hyperactive-Impulsive Type
People with Hyperactive-Impulsive Type of ADHD have a high activity level, and find it hard to stay put. They can be so impulsive, that they find themselves in the middle of doing something they weren’t supposed to do before they even realize it. In school, they’re always getting in trouble for being out of their seat, or talking out in class, and they tend to fidget with whatever they can find nearby.
3. Combined Type
The Combined Type of ADHD is for people who meet criteria for both Inattentive and Hyperactive-Impulsive Types.
What Can You Expect in ADHD Testing?
An ADHD assessment could be conducted in person, in the assessor’s office, or it may be virtual, via telehealth. Your clinician will have a lot of questions for you, and it’s important for you to answer the questions honestly without trying to figure out what they want to hear. Just share what’s true for you.
History & Background
You’ll probably be asked questions about the following:
- your school experiences
- medical history
- your family
- work experiences and career
- what brought you to ask for ADHD testing
Interviews & Observations
Interviews can be in the office, or on video. Since the COVID pandemic, many assessment professionals, including those at Adult Autism Assessment, have become trained in conducting assessments via telehealth. Observations are valid when you are on camera, and your interviewer can see your expressions and movements. If you are engaged in a behavior that cannot be observed on screen, such as repetitively bouncing your leg, tell your assessor. If you’re fidgeting with small objects on the table below the level of the camera, pick them up and show them what you’re doing. You may also report behaviors that you engage in at other times that are related to the ADHD questions you are being asked.
With children, no ADHD testing would be complete without interviews. This can include forms being filled out by the child’s parents and teachers.
With adults, it’s a different matter. Sometimes the person’s parents are no longer living. Or they are opposed to the idea of ADHD and may not provide unbiased opinions. You can’t track down your elementary school teachers and ask them to fill out a form for you when you’ve been out of school for years.
What you can do, is remember your own childhood and share what it was like for you. Your recollections will help your assessor get a picture of what you were like when you were in school.
If you do have a supportive parent, siblings, or childhood friend who can tell you about your ADHD traits in childhood, ask your assessor for a form they can fill out for you. More information is always helpful.
Formal & Informal ADHD Testing Tools
Formal ADHD testing tools include standardized, norm-referenced tests and questionnaires. Standardized means that everyone who takes it answers the same questions as everyone else who took it. Norm-referenced tests provide numbered scores to show how the test-taker performed as compared to others the same age. T-scores have a Mean of 50, which means most people who take it will get scores fairly close to 50. Higher scores on an ADHD norm-referenced test usually means a greater likelihood that the person had ADHD. This gives good information, but it does not necessarily tell the tester whether or not the person actually meets all of the particular diagnostic criteria.
Informal ADHD assessment tools give information about how the test taker performs, but not necessarily how they rate as compared to anyone else. If a test is aligned with diagnostic criteria, for instance, the assessor learns whether or not the person meets the diagnostic criteria that were part of the ADHD testing, but they would not know how that person stacks up next to others who took the same test.
Most comprehensive ADHD testing includes both formal and informal tests and questionnaires, as well as gathering information about the person’s background and history, interviews, and observations.
If you’re an adult and you wonder if you might have ADHD, don’t think it’s too late. Search on the internet to find someone who is experienced in diagnosing adults. If they offer a free consultation use that time to interview them. Ask all your questions, and see how comfortable you feel working with them.
Do you need adult ADHD testing?
Having a diagnosis of ADHD as an adult can open doors to understanding and support. Which can help with accommodations in the workplace or as you continue your education. Do you have questions? You deserve answers and Adult Autism Assessment can help you find them. We have neurodivergent-affirming specialists ready to help you.
Follow these steps to get an ADHD assessment:
- Email [email protected]
- Get your free consultation to talk about adult ADHD testing.
- Schedule your adult ADHD assessment
- Get the answers that you deserve
Other Services We Offer
We have many services available to help you. We offer virtual services anywhere in the United States, in the comfort of your pajamas. I mean home. Services include adult autism testing, counseling, and life coaching. We offer several different life coaching options, including time management support, dating coaching, or personalizing your experience with Choose Your Own Adventure Coaching.