ADHD Test: Using the Quotient System for a Diagnosis

How the quotient system, a series of performance tasks and psychological tests, can help in the process of identifying attention deficit disorder symptoms and diagnosing ADHD.

Quotient System to Diagnose ADHD Istockphoto/Thinkstock

What is the quotient system?
Ari Tuckman: It is a high-tech version of continuous performance tasks (CPTs), psychological tests that have been around for decades. The test gives data to the clinician about the core symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD): hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention.

How does a person take the test?
AT: She is asked to respond to certain images on a computer screen or to certain sounds, but not to others. An adult might be asked to press a button when an eight-pointed star appears on the screen, but not when a four-pointed star is displayed. The system has an infrared sensor, which records how often the person moves during the test -- people with ADD/ADHD move more than those without the condition.

Who administers the test, and how long does it take to complete?
AT: The test is given by a psychologist or physician, nurse or technician. It takes about 20 minutes to complete.

How does the quotient system analyze the subject's responses?
AT: It analyzes the pattern of mistakes that the subject makes -- responding impulsively when he shouldn't, or failing to respond to the image or sound, because of distraction. The system then compares his responses to those of people with and without ADD/ADHD or other conditions. These results are part of a comprehensive ADD/ADHD evaluation that should also include a history of the patient.

Does the test make it easier for a professional to diagnose ADD/ADHD?
AT: The system provides additional information when a patient's diagnosis is unclear. The quotient system can sometimes help when a student has to undergo psychological testing in order to qualify for accommodations at school.

Is the test covered by insurance companies?
AT: There may be some reimbursement for the test. Call your health-care company to find out. Also, talk with providers who use the test about their experience with your insurance company.

Evaluating and Diagnosing ADD/ADHD Symptoms

New to ADD/ADHD? Understanding Your Diagnosis
Your ADD/ADHD Diagnosis: How to Make Sure It's Accurate
ADD/ADHD Diagnosis: Your Step-by-Step Guide
Personal Stories of ADD/ADHD Diagnosis

More Tests for an ADD/ADHD Diagnosis

How Rating Scales Can Test for ADD/ADHD
Self-Test for Adult ADD/ADHD
ADD/ADHD Child Symptom Checklist
ADD/ADHD Women Symptom Checklist
ADD/ADHD Symptom Checklist

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