In this article, I ll acquaint you with some of the major tests used to determine whether a patient has Dyslexia or ADHD.
Attention Deficit Notes
The first thing you need to know about Attention Deficit Disorder is this: the condition is not easily identified!
There is no one specific diagnostic test upon which a diagnosis for ADD will be based. Rather, diagnosis requires the compilation of the T.O.V.A test (see below), the patient s complete history from the patient, and indicators derived from several appointments with a psychologist who works specifically with ADD patients.
IQ and Dyslexia Notes
First of all, we should state that Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. We recommend that a comparison between your IQ and your ability to read/spell be performed whenever you are tested for Dyslexia. The reason is this: a person can be highly intelligent, yet have reading and spelling problems. Comparisons between IQ and language ability give a broader, more accurate picture of a person s potential scope for learning.
T.O.V.A (Testing of Variables of Attention Deficit)
T.O.V.A. stands for Test of Variable Attention. It s a recognized CPT, or Computerized Performance Test that helps to assess a patient s attention and impulse control, with and without the addition of stimulant medication.
T.O.V.A. is a well-validated and reliable neuropsychological test that was specifically developed for use in screening and diagnosing the treatment of neurologically- based Attention Deficit, and for monitoring the treatment of Attention Deficit in children and adults. However, a diagnosis and decision to treat should be based on all of the relevant clinical information including interviews, physical and neurological examination, psychological testing, and behavior rating, not just of T.O.V.A.
Wow! What does all that mean? Imagine this:a patientsits in front of a computer with a joystick for 22 minutes. Different images flash across the screen. The patient is told to react to some images and not to react to others. It s a lot like playing a video game. When the test is over, the computer program evaluates the patient s responses.
T.O.V.A is an especially effective test because of its EEG Expert Report feature. The EEG report documents the neurofeedback from the patient s brain while undergoing the test. This report can be read by clinicians and provides incredibly accurate assessments. For instance:
Sustained Attention reflects Omission Errors, which occur when the subject does not respond to the target.
Impulse Control , reflects Commission Errors, which occur when the subject incorrectly responds to the non-target.
Speed of Response reflects Response Time – the processing time that it takes to respond correctly to a target.
Consistency of Response reflects Variability of Response Time, the standard deviation of correct response times.
Wow! Again: what does all this mean? The bottom line is this: t he results of a T.O.V.A. will strongly indicate whether or not you have deficiency in sustaining attention. Doctors stress that a diagnosis and decision to treat for Attention Deficit should be based on “all of the relevant clinical information” interviews, physical and neurological examination, psychological testing, and behavior rating). We consider T.O.V.A. a great place to start. T he procedure is simple and the testing fee is reasonable. T.O.V.A. results are accepted by most colleges and universities.
For more information, visit:
The Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT)
The Conners exam is similar to the T.O.V.A. in that it provides an effective, timed-response assessment for individuals ages 4-19+ years suspected of having attention problems. It is a vigilance, or attention test, presented in a game-like format. It starts with instructions and an optional practice session.
The CPT program displays test stimuli on a computer monitor over the course of a 14 minute test. The test-taker responds using the PC keyboard or a mouse. The test is administered using Dr. Conners model, which controls for the number of trials, target letters presented, varied interstimuli intervals between letters, and more.
Results can be viewed immediately following the test on the screen, printed out as a report, or saved as an ASCII file for use within other reports. The enhanced narrative report goes so far as to include the total number of stimuli, the number correct, omission errors, commission errors, and various reaction times. Plus, the newest version of the CPT contains norms, which are automatically compared to the general population norms and a large database for comparison to ADHD norms. The new User Manual for CPT describes the normative data and presents groups by age level for comparison purposes. The manual also documents the development, recent research information, and clinical use of the CPT.
In all, this is a highly effective test. Generally, it s a bit more expensive than a T.O.V.A. But we still consider it an excellent option for you to pursue.
For more information, we recommend that you visit:
Brain SPECT Imaging for ADD and Dyslexia
Brain SPECT Imaging is a nuclear medicine procedure that evaluates cerebral blood flow. SPECT is easy to understand. The procedure allows doctors to scan your brain and determine which areas of it work well, which areas work too hard, and which areas do not work hard enough. The information from the scans, along with a detailed clinical history, helps doctors understand the underlying brain patterns associated with a patient s problems, and to pinpoint the right treatment to brain function.
We offer this disclaimer, however: the test takes lots of time and it s very expensive. Most insurance will not pay for Brain SPECT Imaging.
For more information, we recommend that you visit:
Amen Clinic – Newport Beach , CA
4019 Westerly Place, Suite 100
Newport Beach , CA 92660
Office (949) 266-3700
Fax (949) 266-3750
Washington D.C. Area
Amen Clinic – DC, Reston , VA
1875 Campus Commons Dr.
Reston , VA 20191
Office (703) 860-5600
Fax (703) 860-5760
Sometimes you can tell if you or a loved one have an inclination toward ADD/ADHD by taking a carefully prepared psychological questionnaire. But you must understand: these tools are not meant to be self-diagnostic! In other words, you should now use them as the be-all, end-all determining factor in deciding whether or not you have a learning disorder. Only a qualified physician or mental health expert can determine that. So, if anything, I recommend that you use these psychological questionnaires as a primary analysis to see whether or not you should consult a physician.
If it turns out that your scores on the test seem to indicate the presence of ADD or ADHD, by all means follow-up with a health care professional.
I found the following links to be especially helpful:
Brown Attention Deficit Disorder Scales
The Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scales are reliable, clinician-administered instruments that allow you to quickly screen for indications of Attention-Deficit Disorder by examining a wide variety of factors believed to be associated with ADD. The Brown ADD Scales are offered in two forms: one for adolescents ages 12-18 years, and the other for adults.
An interesting facet of the Brown test is that they allow you to obtain self-report information and scores with handy Ready Score ® forms and quickly determine whether full evaluation for ADD is appropriate.
The Brown ADD Scales address the most recent developments in the understanding of ADD in an easily-administered format. They are among the first ADD assessment instruments to provide separate forms for assessing adults and adolescents. The Brown ADD Scales examine not only the ability to sustain attention, but also the ability to activate and organize work tasks, sustain energy and effort to complete tasks, regulate moods, utilize short-term working memory, and recall learned material. The Ready Score form gives you an immediate summary score, indicating overall impairment from a broad range of ADD symptoms. Results indicate whether the client appears to have ADD and would benefit from a full evaluation for the disorder. You can administer the 40-item self-report measure in 20 to 40 minutes, making it an efficient screening instrument.
Stroop Color and Word Test
The Stroop Color and Word Test has long been a standard measure in neuropsychological assessment. It measures cognitive processing and provides valuable diagnostic information on brain dysfunction, cognition, and psychopathology. The 2002 Examiner s Manual provides updated scoring, norms, and interpretations for ages 15-90 years.
The Stroop Color and Word Test is based on the observation that individuals can read words much faster than they can identify and name colors. The cognitive dimension tapped by the Stroop is associated with cognitive flexibility, resistance to interference from outside stimuli, creativity, and psychopathology–all of which influence the individual s ability to cope with cognitive stress and process complex input. Whether the test is used as a screener or as part of a general battery, its quick and easy administration, validity, and reliability make it a highly useful instrument.
Color Trails Test
This test was developed with the goal of gauging the processes previously performed by the Trail Making Test, i.e. as free from the influence of language as possible. The Color Trails Test retains the same psychometric properties as the standard Trail Making Test, but it substitutes the use of color for the use of English alphabet letters. The new test consists of a series of colored circles, numbered 1-25, each with a vivid pink or yellow background. The test measures an individual s ability to maintain sustained visual attention, visual scanning, and graph motor skills to assist in assessing presence and extent of brain injury. It is designed for adults ages 18 and up, can be individually administered, and takes ten minutes to complete.
Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second Edition
WIAT-II is a rich, reliable source of information about an individual s achievement skills. It allows you to assess problem-solving abilities by evaluating the process as well as the product. Through linkage with the widely used Wechsler intelligence scales, clinicians can make meaningful comparisons between achievement and ability that will enable you to make curriculum and intervention decisions with confidence.
Additionally, WIAT-II is a flexible measurement tool. It can be used for achievement skills assessment, learning disability diagnosis, special education placement, curriculum planning, and clinical appraisal for patients aged preschool through adult. WIAT-II is accepted by most colleges and universities.
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
When the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT) was first published in 1959, it was called “the test for which educators, counselors, psychologists, and clinicians have been waiting.” The world has changed since then, but today the PPVT remains the standard against which others are measured.
Like the first two editions, the PPVT-III is a measure of receptive vocabulary for standard English and a screening test of verbal ability. This individually administered, norm-referenced instrument is offered in two parallel forms-IIIA and IIIB-for reliable testing and retesting. The new PPVT-III was created for subjects ages 2.5 to 90 + years.
Administration in 11 to 12 minutes, with no reading or writing on the part of the examinee.
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale
The WAIS is individually administered measure of intellectual functioning designed to asses adolescents an adults from ages 16-89. Thistest give a complete picture of the individual ablity.
The testing contain 14 subtests such as vocabulary, information similarities, comprehension, block design,picture arrangement, symbol search, coding, arithmetic, digit span, and letter-number sequencing also verbal comprehension, perceptual organization, working memory, and processing speed.
Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery – Revised: Tests of Cognitive Ability
The Woodcock-Johnson is one of the primary diagnostic tools used by evaluators to determine whether a student has learning disabilities. Parents and teachers who refer a student to a school study team for assessment should request that both the cognitive and achievement portions of the Woodcock-Johnson test be administered. Often only the achievement portion of the test is given, and this only serves to point out the student s academic weaknesses – hardly a motivating piece of data!
I believe that the cognitive test needs to be given as well because the combination of both the cognitive and achievement test results gives valuable information concerning the strengths and weaknesses of the student, the student s learning style, the possible presence of visual perceptual difficulties, and the student s aptitude in academic areas. This test is called Scholastic Abilities Test for Adults (SATA). This test is also accepted by most colleges and universities.
Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test
The Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test (KAIT) is a multi-subtest battery that thoroughly covers the age range from 11 years to 85+, and is based on the Cattell-Horn model of fluid/crystallized intelligence. The Core Battery-consisting of six subtests-can be administered in only one hour. It yields Fluid, Crystallized, and Composite IQs, each with reliability and stability coefficients in the .90s. And KAIT demonstrates high construct validity with tests such as WISC-R, WAIS-R, and K-ABC.
KAIT was normed on a representative sample of 2,000 people. KAIT s high-level, adult-oriented tasks require reasoning and planning ability, making KAIT appealing to adults. Because fine motor coordination and motor speed are not emphasized, KAIT yields a more meaningful and pure measure of intelligence of older adults.