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ADHD Assessments vs. Psychoeducational Assessments: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between an ADHD assessment and a psychoeducational assessment? 

We’ve already talked about when you would get an ADHD assessment vs. a psychoeducational assessment (here), but we’ve never really outlined what’s distinct about each of them.

First of all, here is a quick refresher of what we’ve already covered: 

Why you might consider an ADHD assessment as a first step:

  • Your concerns are primarily related to focusing challenges
  • You’re experiencing difficulties in more than one area of your life (e.g. not just in school)

Why you might consider a psychoeducational assessment:

  • You’re coping in many areas of your life, but experiencing specific learning difficulties and/or perceived academic underachievement
  • You’ve already had an ADHD assessment, and was identified with specific concerns related to a targeted area of learning
  • You’ve been treated for ADHD, and even with improved focus you’ve been having difficulties meeting your perceived potential in your learning environment
  • You need specific psychoeducational testing to qualify for specific accommodations (for example: writing the LSATs)

Now, on to some of the key differences between the two:

What we’re looking for: 

  • ADHD assessments focus primarily on focusing difficulties and their impact on all the different areas of your life, not just at school; this includes screening for additional mental health concerns (e.g. anxiety, mood, difficulties regulating emotions)
  • Psychoeducational assessments focus heavily on specific difficulties that may be impacting you in your learning environment (e.g. at school); this includes an assessment of your cognitive profile, and more specific information of your learning strengths and weaknesses

The information we gather:

  • ADHD assessments gather information related to potential focusing challenges through psychometric measures (e.g. standardized questionnaires), file review, and clinical interviews
  • Psychoeducational assessments gather more in-depth information related to your learning through testing, including an assessment of your academic achievement vs. potential, memory, phonological processing, and more

Time commitment

  • ADHD assessments are generally less time-consuming than psychoeducational assessments – speaking for Springboard Clinic, ours requires a half-day time commitment for the evaluation
  • Psychoeducational assessments are much more involved – you would be looking at a series of three half-day appointments for the evaluation (generally 3 hours each)

Recommendations for next steps:

  • ADHD assessments often include academic recommendations, but…
  • Psychoeducational assessments provide much more specific recommendations for next steps, primarily related to learning and thriving in your learning environment (e.g. at school)

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