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Dear ADDitude: What Testing Should I Request?

“What specific academic testing (if any) should I request for my daughter, who has inattentive ADHD and problems with attention and organization, but is also twice-exceptional? Is her diagnosis enough to merit a 504 Plan?”

ADDitude Answers

It is always a good idea to have a complete evaluation done. Many children with ADHD have additional learning disabilities, which often go unnoticed when a child is twice exceptional. Her high intelligence allows her to do well in school, so no one suspects she has learning challenges. You might want to ask for an executive functioning rating scale, which will give you concrete information on skills, such as organization.

A diagnosis of ADHD is not a guarantee that she will receive a 504 plan; however, many children with ADHD them. Certainly, the diagnosis is important, but the complete results of the evaluation will be taken into consideration.

Posted by Eileen Bailey
Freelance writer, author specializing in ADHD, anxiety, and autism

ADDitude Answers

You should request a full evaluation, especially if there’s anything she struggles with besides simply a lack of focus and disorganization. Make sure to request executive functioning rating scale (BRIEF), so they can see how impaired her organization capabilities are.

For more on requesting a school assessment, go here.

Posted by Penny
community moderator, author on ADHD parenting, mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism

A Reader Answers

Tell them you want a complete evaluation. My son is also twice exceptional and for years they refused to even test as they said his disabilities did not affect him academically. We finally had him tested at great expense outside the school. In addition to his ADHD, he also has dyslexia, dysgraphia, and general anxiety disorder. Even though he was essentially an A-student, he was struggling greatly and needed special instruction. IQ testing alone is not enough and they might even use it to deny services without a full evaluation. I wish you the best of luck.

Posted by Peacfldove

A Reader Answers

I would say that if your instinct is to push for the testing than you definitely should. If they don’t find anything else, then at least you know and can go on from there.

I always say there are good years, and bad years, helpful teachers, and then not so much. It makes a huge difference to your child’s school experience.

I’ve found that with 504s it all sounds good in the meeting but there’s usually very little follow-through and you have to keep at it.

The schools don’t necessarily like to do more testing because it does have a cost and it can be an inconvenience. What’s best for your daughter is all that matters however so if there are signs she would benefit in any way by testing you may have to insist.

It wouldn’t hurt to go back for a medication check too. Dosage needs and types can vary a lot over time and with age so it never hurts to ask since your daughter is having some challenges. Best of luck!

Posted by Havebeenthere

A Reader Answers

Yes, fight for testing – it will help you figure out exactly what your daughter needs. I have found schools will put anything off they can.

If you can, have her tested privately with a full academic and psychological evaluation. Then you know what you’ve got, and direction.

If she does not have an LD, that is good. Eliminating things is just as informative as identifying. Good luck!

Posted by Pdxlaura

A Reader Answers

In our case, we started with a psychologist who tested her with the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children IV; Integrated Visual Auditory Continuous Performance; and Rorschach. She was diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive type. She recommended behavioral therapy and meds. We tried both stimulants and non-stimulants but to no avail.

Six months later, we went to a developmental pediatrician because we were concerned she may have a learning disability as well since she did so poorly in school. She went through a battery of tests as well and they confirmed she was ADHD-inattentive but had no learning disability.

Both test session were under 4 hours and we had to pay out of pocket for the developmental pediatric — but not the psychologist — although she got it right from the get go. I guess we were hoping to find something different with the second doctor since nothing had changed.

Now what? I’ve no idea. We are trying a new therapist who is closer to home and again, we will try medication. The pediatrician thought perhaps a stronger dose may make a difference with her school work. It doesn’t help that he also confirmed that she is simply a high maintenance kid. How do you fix that?!

Anyway, I hope this helps you figure out what testing to try.

Posted by Sumner