CADDAC Recommends Psychoeducational Assessment | Testing for Children with ADHD

For information on Psychoeducational Assessment and Testing I provide in my Burnaby and Vancouver offices please visit my Psychoeducational Testing page at:
CADDAC Recommends Psychoeducational Assessment | Testing for Children with ADHD. Click here for the full information on the CADDAC website:
About Psychoeducational Testing
CADDAC, the Canadian association of medical professionals who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. While primarily a medical association, many psychologists in the field of ADHD keep a close eye on what CADDAC recommends, and follow their guidelines. In my own practice I follow their guidelines in terms of comprehensive assessment, rather than brief screening, for ADHD.

One area there has been some controversy in lately has been the need for comprehensive assessment, especial neuropsychological assessment, with adults with ADHD. This issue needs to be kept separate from the issue of children with ADHD, and in several posts I have discussed the issue of Psychoeducational Assessment and ADHD. Nearly 50% of all children with ADHD have one or more co-morbid disorders, and when diagnosing ADHD we need to look carefully at possible depression, anxiety, mood disorders and specific learning disorders. We also need to understand how ADHD is effecting executive function in the child/adolescent. A good psychoeducational assessment does just this.  Here is what CADDAC says on the topic (their web page is found at the ink above):

"It is also recommended that a psychoeducational assessment be done by a psychologist to assess whether other learning disabilities may coexist with ADHD, or may be the actual cause of the symptoms rather than ADHD."

There is no controversy about psychoeducational assessments for children and adolescents. ANY comprehensive assessment includes a psychoeducational assessment. Medical doctors do not provide this service. It can only be provided either through the school district or a registered | licensed psychologist.

CADDAC continues: " A psychoeducational assessment should look at levels of executive functioning (see ADHD information for more information on executive functioning), assess the possibility of a central auditory processing (CAP) disorder, look for graphomotor (printing/writing) difficulty, and evaluate processing speed as well as productivity. It is very important that if there is even the slightest evidence that CAP disorder may be a problem, this should be assessed before the psychoeducational testing occurs. Testing for CAP disorder is done by a specially trained audiologist. Since many of the tests that take place during an educational assessment are auditory-based, they may wrongly indicate that the child or adult has a low IQ if they are used to test a child with CAP disorder. Different tests that are not auditory-based can be used to get a more accurate reading of the person's ability. 

Symptoms of CAP Disorder

  • Problems paying attention to and remembering information presented orally
  • Difficulty with following multiple directions
  • Poor listening skills
  • Slower processing of information
  • Lower academic performance than is expected
  • Difficulty with language, spelling and/or reading skills
  • Problems with frustration and behaviour"
If there is any suspicion of an CAP disorder, take your child to his/her medical doctor and have them assessed. Your medical doctor will then provide a referral if one is necessary. 

"Can a psychologist complete this testing for CAP disorder?" 
You should have your medical doctor request a hearing assessment, including a screening for CAP disorders. Some psychologist perform testing of auditory processing (the testing is called "The Test of Auditory Processing Skills" or TAPS, and other tools are available to psychologists to look at language and processing issues. Not all psychologists have or use these tests, so ask your psychologist if they perform such tests, or if you need a separate referral. IT's really best to start with your medical doctor. 

CADDAC got on to point out: "Unfortunately, psychoeducational testing, if done privately, is not covered by provincial health plans in most cases. Schools may do these tests if they feel that there is a significant problem, however waiting times can be lengthy and time restraints may compromise the thoroughness of the tests."

What does CADDAC mean by "compromises of thoroughness?"  Well, some schools use a limited battery of tests and tools, as they are only focused on issues that relate to classroom issues, and issues of "coding" or funding they may be able to obtain. Some issues that you or I would consider important would not be covered in their exam.  Also, some schools complete initial "screenings" and rule students out because they see no educational "discrepancies,even though a child may be failing academically or socially at school. Many of these compromises are the result of limited funding to our schools, and not choices school psychologists would make themselves. Finally, there is the issue of "diagnosis." A school psychologist is not qualified to diagnose ADHD, depression or anxiety. A REGISTERED PSYCHOLOGIST is. School psychologists are only registered or certified to work in the schools, and have restrictions on the scope of their practice registered psychologists do not. But- many school psychologists are also registered psychologists. So check, and ask if, after the assessment, the psychologist would be able to provide a diagnosis of a disorder if one is present.

CADDAC continues: "In some limited cases, hospital clinics may do these tests as well, however long waiting lists and time restraints will apply here as well. As with a physician, it is important to do some research on the psychologists that will be doing your child's testing. The psychologist must be currently accredited and officially registered to make diagnoses and they should be familiar with testing for learning disabilities and ADHD. They should be prepared to produce a detailed report outlining all areas of difficulty as well as areas of strength without clustering everything into an ADHD diagnosis. It will be important that difficulties with executive functioning, processing, written output, sequencing, active working memory as well as long and short term memory be well documented. These are all areas that children with ADHD routinely have problems with and at the present time, a report that outlines these difficulties clearly will make it possible for your child or adolescent to receive a special needs designation from the school board. This designation will at least give you a basis on which to to advocate for classroom accommodations. At this time, a private psychoeducationalassessment roughly costs between $1500 and $2500.
TIP:  Private health insurance will usually cover psychological fees to a maximum of $500 a year. The assessment can sometimes be split over two years if done at the end of one year and the beginning of the next."

For more information on what CADDAC recommends in terms of assessment and services for ADHD go to their web page. Some videos and other information is available for children, adolescents and adults with ADHD. They also provide a listing of ADHD coaches in British Columbia and across Canada.


Key words
ADHD | ADHD coaching | workplace coaching | Anxiety and Stress | Autism and Asperger's Disorder | Individual Counselling | Child Therapy | Testing and Assessments and Learning Disabilities | Couples Counselling | Depression | The Angry Child | Anger Management | Pain Management and PTSD | Forensic Services | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder | Vancouver | Burnaby | Coquitlam | New Westminster | Maple Ridge | Port Moody | Child Psychologist | Psychologist | Learning Disability | Assessment | Testing | Psycho-educational Assessment | Neuropsychological Assessment | Psychoeducational Testing