Neurodiversity Diagnosis FAQs
Q: I think I have ADHD or autism. How do I get diagnosed?
A: We recommend first talking to your school counselor or parents!
One possible way of doing this is to write a note to your parents explaining your symptoms or your need for diagnosis.
Another way is to document a list of symptoms you've been experiencing and show your parents/counselor. Or, you could bring up the diagnostic criteria from the DSM, read out each symptom, and ask your parents if it sounds like it applies to you. If they agree, you could ask them to proceed with testing.
Q: How is ADHD diagnosed?
A: Through a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation, although there are individual tests that screen for ADHD!
ADHD is diagnosed through the DSM-5, a symptom guidebook of all psychiatric conditions. However, there are specific screening tools that determine whether someone meets that criteria for diagnosis. Some ADHD-specific assessors administered included in my psychoeducational assessment were the CHAMP (Child and Adolescent Memory Profile), BRIEF (Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning, 2nd edition), DKEFS (Delis-Kaplin Executive Functioning System), and MVPT (Motor-Free Visual Perception Test, 4th edition). It is important to note that none of these ADHD tests are self-administerable, which is what upholds the validity of the diagnostic process. A simple self-evaluation of symptoms is not enough for diagnosis, though if you score high on a self-evaluation, we recommend following up with a comprehensive psychoeducational assessment.
Another thing to note is that psychoeducational assessments screen for all learning disabilities as well as ADHD. The full testing process takes ~6 hours and can be broken up into shorter sessions throughout multiple days; psychoeducational assessments are one of the most accurate and comprehensive testing processes for learning differences (psychoeducational assessments do not screen for Autism.) The assessments can seem so obscure that most of the time, you won't even know what you're being tested for!
With each psychoeducational assessment comes a comprehensive report. You'd usually receive this 1-2 weeks later, and this is a packet including details of your background and reason for testing, explanations for the scores and results of each test you took, comparisons of your performance on each test vs the average population's (of your age), the diagnosis, suggested accommodations and recommendations, resources, and next steps.
Q: Where can I get diagnosed?
A: While there are organizations for online diagnosis, we recommend a local psychologist, neuropsychologist, or psychiatrist. Generally, psychologists and neuropsychologists are best for diagnosing ADHD, autism, and learning disabilities.
However, we recognize that diagnoses are expensive and there may not be any local professionals with expertise in neurodiverse conditions, especially autism diagnosis. That's when online services come in! Here's a credible online autism diagnosis site:
Q: What are accommodations?
A: Accommodations are what level the playing field for students with disabilities, such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities. Oftentimes, this does not involve altering the structure of classes, but rather aids that make the class more manageable.
Accommodations vary from diagnosis to diagnosis, but some common accommodations are extended time on tests, reduced distraction testing center, teacher copy of notes, student note taker, and the ability to audio-record lessons.
Q: How do I get accommodations?
A: We compiled this guide here for you!