Neuropsychological Testing next week ... - ADHD Parents Toge...

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Neuropsychological Testing next week - How to explain to my daughter??

Next week we will be starting 3 days of neuropsychological testing on m 12 year old daughter. Since she was about 4 we have been seeing therapists. When she was 5-6, we had testing done that indicated she most likely had ADHD and anxiety, but the psychologist did not make a formal diagnosis because of her age. Now she has just about all of the symptoms of inattentive ADHD. She really seemed to improve a lot until last year when middle school started and she has really had many difficulties this past year and we finally feel that medicine may be the route we need to take, but we wanted this testing to make sure of a proper diagnosis. She is adopted and I know the birth parents dealt with anxiety and depression, so we may be dealing with that also.

My dilema is how to explain this testing without making her feel more damaged then I know she currently feels about herself? She is a beautiful, smart girl, funny girl, with such low self esteem, which has gotten so much worse since middle school started and her old friends have pretty much dropped her. I want to make sure I explain this in the best way I can. Thanks for any advice 🙂

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Hi! We did neuropsychological testing for my then 6 year old last summer. I’ll just relay our experience, and you can choose which parts may be helpful to you.

We haven’t addressed diagnostic labels much with my son yet (though he may have picked up some terms) - just talk about his symptoms, which he is already aware of & even tells me about, and that we’re talking to doctors to find the best ways to help him. But I also like to point out his strengths, and that everyone has their own strengths and also things they need more help with. This just happens to be an area he needs more help with, and that it’s beyond what I know how to help on my own.

My mother-in-law is a psychologist & sometimes out of curiosity performs IQ tests & things with the kids. My son loves it. So that part was kinda easy - I just told him it will be like that the tests with Grandma!

I will add - we primarily went not to diagnose ADHD / TS (which we already had), but to look for any masking and comorbidities. The neuropsych upheld the current diagnosed, and was really more helpful with school accommodations than anything else. However, my son really enjoyed the testing. 6 hours of adult attention all to himself - his heaven!!

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Thank you!

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Great advice!

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Has she noticed a drop in grades? If so, perhaps you could say that this testing is a tool that will help to identify why she is not doing as well as she would like to be doing in school. My daughter had a really rough time in middle school. We had her tested in 4th grade but I did not want to medicate her. I just thought it would be something that she would outgrow. We again had her tested by another therapist in 8th grade to confirm that she truly had ADD. With the diagnosis she has gotten extra time on tests, as well as other help at school.

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Thank you. She has done really well in school, BUT only with 3-4 hours of help from me each night, 2 tutors and 2 extra help classes in school. The school did mention that I needed an official diagnosis if I wanted her services to continue when she starts High School in 2 years.

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Hi sunflower-

We did the neuropsychological testing when my daughter was 11. It was done during her last trimester in 5th grade and it was conducted, and paid for, by the school district.

It took several weeks and 5 specialists interacted with my daughter for 15 to 20 min, here and there, during the school day.

My daughter was happy that this was taking place because it broke her routine at school and she loves novelty.

We had already told her that she had ADHD and explained it in simple terms what that was and how we can address it. She was relieved to hear the news and said: “ does that mean it’s not my fault that I act the way I do? “ . “ I’m tired of feeling guilty and being called weird”.

We convinced my husband to start the medication and once she started it, everything changed for the better.

She was super happy, excited and looking forward to meeting new friends when middle school started. The actual change of having 8 periods, worked great for her since she gets bored and distracted so easily.

Thus, having an honest talk with her to break the news of this diagnosis and that you need this test done to begin the proper path to help her live and cope with ADHD is a good idea. She probably will have the same sense of relief my daughter experienced. BTW, my daughter is also adopted and has anxiety and OCD. This is a team effort and a long road ahead. Hang in there. All the best!

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Thank you so much! I am so happy to hear how well your daughter is doing! Sounds like our daughters have a lot in common - It gives me some hope - I cried myself to sleep last night (I'm usually pretty strong and positive) - I am so nervous, overwhelmed and truthfully, a bit angry at how awful she has been treating me. I just want her to feel good about herself and be happy.

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I have a 10 year old girl who did neuropsych testing last year and was diagnosed with adhd combined. We just explained it was to understand her better and figure out how we and teachers could approach learning to make it easier on her. We also just explained her symptoms (that she already knew) and that we wanted to understand them better. The reality was that even at 9 she knew she struggled with concentration and staying on task, so it wasn’t a surprise. She handled the whole process fine. We did eventually tell her she had adhd, but we didn’t make a big deal about it, just kind of Said it casually. She didn’t focus on the label and I think over the past year she had accepted it’s just normal for her. Hiding the label to me just felt like it was keeping a secret and making it seem like there was something wrong with her. She always did fine in school ( but with a ton of extra supports from us, like u mentioned). She did start medication and that has helped her quite a bit. Good luck!

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Thanks for the advice! I'm so happy to hear medication has helped. Can I ask I she also struggled socially and has medication helped this aspect?

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She hasn't had major social struggles, so it's hard for me to say. But she is impulsive and says stuff before she thinks, and the medication does help with that. Also, just my 2 cents, but one thing that helps her self esteem is that since the diagnosis (which strangely took us completely by surprise), I have pretty much stopped working with her on homework, and we have a MUCH better relationship. When I work with her on schoolwork, she would get defensive, say that I thought she was stupid, etc, and it ended up being counter productive, antagonistic, and pretty much just be a bad vibe in our house. After reading a bunch of ADHD books, talking to professionals, etc, I have decided her social emotional well-being, and our relationship as mother/daughter is way more important than her getting the best grades. We also shifted our resources from just tutoring to mix of tutoring and she sees a great Educational Therapist. That Ed Therapist has become key for her. She sees her once a week for an hour, and sometimes it doesn't seem like they are doing anything "educational", but she is our daughter's biggest cheerleader and really makes her feel like having ADHD is a positive learning difference, not a negative. She helps us refocus from the immediate learning milestone (ie homework), to the big picture on how she can be successful in life with ADHD. She also goes to school meeting with us when we ask her to, which is great to have a knowledgeable advocate there.

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My 10 year old daughter just went through this. We had the exact situation where her initial diagnosis was too young and not "official" even though we've had no doubt. She knows she has ADHD, so we told her we needed that official diagnosis so she could get any extra help she needed. We told her it was going to help us know the best ways to help her do her very best. We also told her that when she goes to school (she is homeschooled right now), this would help her get some accommodations that would make things easier for her. She was OK with that and she loved the tests. She thought it was fun and really liked the one on one attention from the psychologist. We found out some really interesting things, some we have shared with her and some we haven't yet. We also walked away with an amazing IEP that will go to school with her whenever we decide to make that transition. I am so glad we did this and she feels very positively about it too. Her dad and I are also going through similar testing (we pretty much have an entire ADHD house. . . .), so she doesn't feel singled out. Incidentally, the psychologist told us 10-12 is the age most parents show up for this because hormones wreak havok on ADHD kids and even if they haven't had medication or major intervention to that point, they usual do once they hit puberty. That made us feel better that her having more trouble was typical and not because we weren't doing the right things.

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Thanks so much! I'm glad your daughter handled the test well. It definitely helps to hear that this is somewhat typical with puberty, I have definitely been feeling like I should have been able to help her more.

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Sorry I'm late to the party on this. Kids your daughter age love social media. I would look on YouTube for another kid describing what it is like to have ADHD (of course please preview the videos yourself) and sit and watch it with her.

Then just say all of this testing is just to tell you that she has ADHD, which if she does it will really help explain a lot for her. Also tell her she will be getting help in school if she has ADHD and needs it.

Many middle and high schools have a study skills classes where she canhave a teacher help her. Maybe she would qualify for that.

Great job at helping her, now you need transition all that to the staff at school who can do that with her. We want her to learn to do all that with a teacher helping her.

Best us luck, let us know how it goes and we are here any time for you.

Take care,

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