Objective testing is a consistent tool across child and adult ADHD services

January 15, 2024 | Jess Brunet | ADHD News

The transition from childhood to adulthood presents unique challenges in diagnosing and managing ADHD. Most diagnostic tools fail to capture the challenges of this shift, meaning clinicians have limited information and patients can be left in overwhelming experiences.

The issue with transitioning children into adult ADHD services

Clinicians typically rely on established rating scales in pediatric services like the Conners rating scale, ADHD-RS, or SNAP-IV, which are valid up until the age of 18. In adult services the main rating scale is the Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS), so when patients transition from pediatric services, there is a new set of measures with different scoring criteria.

Not only can it be difficult for patients to explain their diagnosis and their journey again to someone new, but the new scales might not capture the complexities and contextual implications of a person’s ADHD in the same way.

This is particularly frustrating in diverse populations such as those on the autistic spectrum and for individuals who experience ADHD alongside other comorbid conditions (such as depression, anxiety, OCD, and Tourette’s syndrome) who have learnt to mask or camouflage their symptoms over time. This is because their symptoms, including how their ADHD impacts them internally, may not be immediately obvious. This can be the experience of many women – especially as diagnostic criteria tend to depict symptoms more commonly seen in younger boys.

Objective testing is the only consistent tool used between child and adult services

Objective testing reduces these issues when diagnosing and assessing ADHD by using an age and sex-matched control group. Both QbTest and QbCheck use the same test for patients aged 12-60, providing a consistent measure of ADHD across a patient’s lifespan, making the transition from child to adult services easier, based on my own clinical experience.

Re-testing over time also enables you to visually see how an individual’s ADHD symptoms have persisted or improved over time, allowing for more accurate understandings of individual needs and targeted intervention.

Ensuring that patients receive continuity in their ADHD evaluations doesn’t just make for a better patient experience, but helps save clinicians time, money, and gives them more confidence in their clinical decisions for both assessment and treatment. Find out more with NICE’s appraisal about QbTest.

 

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