I am an elementary school special education teacher and I’m concerned that one of my students is being overlooked. I work with a 4th grade student we believe has ADHD-I (Inattentive) and a learning disability.
Several Connors forms have been filled out on him. The inattentive scores were high, activity level scores were low, overall scores were not significant. I believe that his learning disability may have much to do with his inability to pay attention and remember things.
Is the Connors form my only option to use for identification of ADHD-1? I feel that it may be outdated for this type of attention problem, especially since ADHD-I is only beginning to be researched.
I believe your concerns about the Connors surveys are justified.
As a psychotherapist with a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and another Masters in Clinical Social Work, I have many years of experience working with children and adults with ADD/ADHD. For most of 30 years, I worked in mental health settings. I did a one year internship in school social work.
I agree with your concerns about the Connors forms. They are not objective evaluations. They are simple surveys of parent and teachers’ observations. They are not sufficient to diagnose an individual with ADD/ADHD. At a minimum, the child should receive a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation.
In some cases, neuropsych testing is needed to pinpoint the specific problem areas and strengths. In most cases, individuals who have ADD or ADHD also have learning disabilities. The learning disabilities may be subtle but do create additional problems in the school setting.
The following information is from the web site of a psychologist who evaluates children – although she focuses on ADHD, the same requirements exist for a child who has the inattentive type of ADD:
Although pediatricians generally have experience treating children with ADD/ADHD and can describe the disorder’s core symptoms, a “snapshot” of a child’s behavior in a brief pediatric office visit is unlikely to provide a sufficient basis for assessing the presence or absence of the disorder.
- The optimal assessment battery for identifying ADD/ADHD includes data that are gathered from multiple sources and across situations.
- Assessment with parents should include a comprehensive developmental history, a diagnostic interview following DSM-IV criteria & norm-referenced behavior checklists.
- School information should include direct observations and behavior checklists completed by teachers.
- The child component of a comprehensive assessment should entail testing of academic achievement, cognitive capabilities, executive function, information processing characteristics and attentional factors.
This page has links to several fact sheets that may be helpful:
Thanks for your concerns about your student.