Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD)
A syndrome, usually diagnosed in childhood, characterized by a persistent pattern of impulsiveness, a short attention span, and often hyperactivity, and interfering especially with academic, occupational, and social performance. Several individuals find in the adult years that they struggle with symptoms of ADHD/ADD (at their high stress jobs, at college or graduate school, etc) that they were able to compensate for in their younger years.
Through proper diagnosis, using several methods of assessment, ADHD/ADD can be treated with educational and behavioral modifications and sometimes, medication. Through our evaluations and assessments, once diagnosed with attention, hyperactivity and impulsivity issues, an individual may be recommended to receive one or more of the following accommodations and treatment:
- Extended time, such as time and a half (35 minutes plus 17 minutes) or even double time on tests, in class and standardization tests and examinations.
- Separate testing location to reduce external distractions such as noise from other students, outside traffic, etc, that attribute to the attention deficits and exacerbate performance.
- Pharmaceutical intervention such as medication to alleviate symptoms of ADHD/ADD.
- Classes/Courses may be waived or substituted if determined that attention deficits alone or in conjunction with another deficit such as processing or learning disability cause a bias in testing.
- Cognitive remediation to improve executive functioning, attention and focus
For more information on symptoms and treatment of ADHD, please visit ADHD Link
Autism is a developmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life. There is a deficit in speech and language, social interaction, normal play and presence of peculiar movements, such as rocking, flapping hands, and in some cases, self-injurious behaviors. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Many disorders are misdiagnosed as one of the Autistic disorders or vice versa and it takes a trained, experienced clinician to tease apart the subtleties that afflict those with this disorder. This includes careful observation, interviews, assessments using standardized measures of cognitive, academic and neurological functioning, including scales designed to detect symptoms of Autism and related disorders.
For more information on Autism, please visit Autism Link
Learning disabilities are problems that affect the brain’s ability to receive, process, analyze, or store information. Learning disabilities can occur in many areas, such as reading, writing, or solve math problems, (Dyslexia, dysgraphia or Math Disability). While these disabilities may be better addressed while in school, they become more difficult if not addressed when the individual has to function more independently in college or the workplace.
Once correctly diagnosed, learning disabilities can be addressed by the following accommodations:
- Extended time on tests, such as those involving reading comprehension for student with reading disorders.
- Substitution of a class or even a waiver of a course which presents a bias in learning or testing based on the type of disability.
- Alternate test arrangement, such as verbal assessment instead of written for those with dysgraphia (disorder of written expression)
For more information on Learning Disorders, please visit Learning Disorders Link
It is okay to feel sad or down, at times. We all do and it is normal to have these moods or ‘depressed’ feelings. But when that mood persists, lasts more than two weeks, leads to increased or decreased sleep and appetite, weight gain/loss, loss of sexual interest, loss of interest in activities you generally enjoy, frequent crying, and even cognitive deficits (loss of concentration, memory loss, etc), it may be time to see a mental health professional.
Depression can be situational or chemical; without a proper evaluation, you will not be able to treat the root of the problem. Taking medication or even simply going to therapy can waste years treating the wrong symptoms or worse, disorder. What may seem like depression, may be bipolar or anxiety, or the other way around. Depression, untreated, will not just go away. It will worsen, become more resistant, and impact academic, cognitive and social functioning. If you or anyone you know has severe depression, or have had thoughts of suicide** or how to carry it out, please seek medical/psychiatric attention at the nearest Emergency Room (ER) immediately.
For more information on Depression, please visit Mayo Clinic Link
A depressed person doesn’t care about tomorrow. An anxious person cares too much. Depression and anxiety, however, go hand in hand. There is often, an overlap. Anxiety can present in several shapes and can be exacerbated by many other preexisting conditions. Anxiety attacks are often mistaken for heart attacks because of their similar presentation. Anxiety can be generalized, a specific phobia or irrational fear, post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or specific to obsession with rituals which take over one’s life. It can interfere even more in an individual’s daily life than depression as anxious people are often active and engage but debilitated and even physically distressed by their anxiety.
For more information on Anxiety, please visit WebMD Link
People with Bipolar Disorder often go undiagnosed for years with volatile relationships, poor boundaries, unpredictable reactions to events, situations and loved ones and being unhappy within themselves, while never quite understanding why. They ‘swing’ back and forth between elation/energy and depression/inaction. The energetic phases can easily be hostile and aggressive with little provocation, and depression can hit hard without warning. These ‘swings’ or phases can cycle fast or slow, depending on the type of Bipolar Disorder. There are more worrisome aspects of bipolar disorder which involve features of paranoia, delusions and erratic, self-harmful behavior. People suffering from bipolar disorder are more likely to attempt suicide than those suffering from regular depression. Furthermore, their suicide attempts** tend to be more lethal. Therefore, if you or anyone you know meets this description, please see help immediately at the nearest ER or call 911.
While medication is a critical part of treatment, the first step is assessment especially because those who have Bipolar often mistake it for depression, anger problems, irritability, life, spouse and job problems rather than the chemical imbalance that it is. Dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy are imperative in teaching individuals to understand, cope and detect their own malfunctions and start fixing their lives.
For more information on Bipolar Disorder, please visit HelpGuide.org Link
Developmental Delays can have several causes, such as genetic, premature birth, environmental causes such as lead poisoning, and others not identified. Speech, physical and occupational therapy as well as special instruction are all used to stimulate development. Time is of the essence!
For more information on Developmental Delays, please visit Development Link
Speech/Language Delays and Problems
Speech and language delays can be as simple as a child not talking enough for his age, not making phrases or sentences or articulating so poorly that only her mother can understand her. They can vary from receptive language deficits to expressive ones or both as well as auditory deficits.
For more information on Speech / Language Delays and Problems, please visit Speech Link
Behavior problems can be as simple as a child acting out for attention, reacting to a life event such as illness or death in the family, a move or parental divorce or a symptom of a much bigger, underlying issue. Behavior problems are like having a fever; it indicates an infection within, except with disorders such as ADHD/ADD, learning disorders, even depression and anxiety. If your child is acting out at home or school, there is a lot more to it than just what is bothering you. Many patients come in seeking help for just ‘that one problem’ and find out that it is just a cover.
**It’s very important to take any thoughts or talk of suicide seriously. If you or someone you care about is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. IN A LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCY, CALL 911.