Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is an often misunderstood condition that affects behaviour. Around 5% of people globally are believed to have ADHD, but not everyone with ADHD experiences it the same way. Some people with ADHD appear restless and impulsive. Others have difficulties focusing. So what exactly is ADHD? And how do ADHD assessments work for children and young people?
The exact cause of ADHD is not yet known, but it is likely to be a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors. We do know that boys are diagnosed with ADHD more often than girls. While research is ongoing into why this is the case, it’s been suggested it is because ADHD symptoms tend to present more subtly in girls, making the condition harder to identify.
If your child has ADHD, their ability to communicate, concentrate and sit still may be affected, often leading to issues at home and in school. Thankfully, it’s possible to manage these challenges with the right support. Accessing that support starts with an ADHD assessment, which we’ll explore in more detail here.
What are the signs of ADHD?
The symptoms of ADHD in children and teenagers fall into two main categories: inattentiveness, and hyperactivity and impulsiveness. While some children may show symptoms from just one of these categories, others may engage in both sets of behaviours.
Signs of inattentiveness include:
- Having a short attention span
- Getting easily distracted
- Being unable to complete tedious tasks
- Constantly switching between activities
Signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness include:
- An inability to sit still
- Lots of fidgeting
- Lack of concentration
- Moving or talking excessively
- Acting without thinking (often with no sense of danger)
Because the behaviours on this list are by no means exclusive to children and young people with ADHD, it’s important to choose an experienced provider for your child’s ADHD assessment. To receive a diagnosis of ADHD, your child will need to meet a set of criteria, which includes having experienced the symptoms of ADHD in multiple settings over a prolonged period of time.
Accessing ADHD assessments at Healios
Healios provides ADHD assessments for children and young people aged between seven and 25. We work in partnership with NHS services throughout the UK, including CAMHS and other services that refer children and young people for mental health, autism and ADHD support.
If Healios is available in your area, your local service may refer your child to us for an online ADHD assessment. Once we receive that referral, we’ll be in touch to schedule an ADHD assessment for your child.
What is an online ADHD assessment?
Online ADHD assessments (also called virtual ADHD assessments) follow a similar structure to in-person assessments but take place over a series of video calls rather than in a clinic.
At Healios, experienced clinicians will carry out your child’s ADHD assessment using our online platform, Panacea. With Panacea, you can chat with clinicians over video, view session notes, manage appointments and ask family members to join sessions.
Online ADHD assessments have a number of benefits. They can be attended from a space where your child feels comfortable, therefore the stress of travelling to and spending time in an unfamiliar place is avoided and your clinician may be able to get a more accurate view of how your child typically behaves. Because our team includes more than 220 registered clinicians, we can provide quick access to assessments, with most children and young people being seen within two months of referral.
How do online ADHD assessments work at Healios?
Step 1: Complete questionnaires
We’ll ask you to complete a couple of online questionnaires before your child’s assessment so we can get a better understanding of their needs. With your permission, we may also ask your child’s school to fill in a questionnaire.
Step 2: Attend sessions
ADHD assessments at Healios involve two key appointments: an initial session and an assessment session.
You’ll meet your clinician for the first time during the initial session. They’ll explain how ADHD assessments at Healios work, listen to any concerns you have and ask some questions so they can get to know your child better.
You’ll then have your ADHD assessment session, which will take around two hours and be mainly interview focused. Your clinician will speak with you and your child separately and then together to work out where they might need extra support and how their challenges impact everyday life. They’ll ask about your child’s developmental history, behaviour and how they’re getting on at school. Throughout these conversations, your clinician will be looking out for symptoms of ADHD or any other mental health or neurodevelopmental conditions that your child might have.
Step 3: Receive outcome and discuss next steps
After your appointments, your clinician will meet with a multidisciplinary team to discuss their findings and decide on an outcome. They will then create a report and call to let you know it’s ready. They will also arrange a feedback session with you to chat through their findings, discuss next steps (including medication options) and answer any questions you might have.
What happens next?
In some areas, where we have been contracted by the NHS to do so, we provide post-diagnostic support (also known as post-diagnostic intervention) for children and young people with ADHD. If your child is referred for post-diagnostic support with Healios, you’ll be offered up to 10 weekly online sessions with a clinician. Each session will last for around 50 minutes and can be used to discuss any issues or concerns you have about their diagnosis and how it might impact everyday life.
If our post-diagnostic support service is not available in your area, you’ll receive information on other services that you might find helpful. The service that referred your child to Healios may also make recommendations about accessing other services or medication if required.
It’s important to remember that being diagnosed with ADHD is not a negative thing. In fact, many young people go on to describe ADHD as their superpower. Receiving an ADHD diagnosis can bring clarity and comfort to your child and family by answering long-held questions about your child’s behaviour and helping to unlock access to further support.
Healios is here to guide you through this journey. If you’d like to find out more about ADHD assessments, please get in touch.