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Old 07-11-2005, 08:15 PM   #1
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ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1 & 2

If you can go for similar testing I highly recommend it. The tests are designed to pinpoint specific areas of cognitive dysfunction. Doctors are then in a much better position to offer remedial meds and strategies.

Today I did the tests on meds. Tommorrow, similar tests (but not the same) with no meds.

I don't have the test names but I can tell you what to expect.

The first three were verbal. I had to come up with synonyms, then antonyms for words on flash cards. I think I did well except for "demure." Who in their right mind uses that word anyway?

3. Name shapes, mostly architectural, was next. Easy stuff like steeple, pyramid, etc.

4. Pictures of small jig-saw puzzle like shapes. Easy shapes first, but toward end got complicated. Goal was to identify shapes in subset that would fit.

5. Symbols for words. Started with four symbols and told what word each represented. Then asked to read a simple sentence composed of the symbols. Easy enough. But then more symbols were added, then another sentence. More symbols, sentences. Yikes. I bombed.

6. Finding numerical matches in a series of numbers. Had 3 minutes to complete list. Made it 3/4 way through.

7. Repeating a series of numbers backwards. 3, 4 numbers long, no problem. 5 long, problems started. 6 very difficult. 7 I was begging for mercy. Never made it to 8.

8. I am protesting this one tommorrow. On the left, symbols were used to express a rule for inclusion in a group, on the right, symbols correctly included in the group. Us programmers do this every working day. If circle or square your in else you're out. If circle and red you're in, etc. I think I missed every one. In retrospec I feel the problem was what I know not a brain malfunction. I write the rule first not last. I simply couldn't get out of that mode. We'll see tommorrow at the redo.

9. Finally the torture test. An ADHDers worst nightmare. Two shapes flashed on a monitor. Click the button when the correct one flashes. Frequency increases. The correct one flashes several times in row. Then.... For twenty minutes it went on!!!! Like a diabolical game of Simon says. I kept yelling "Are we almost there yet. I'm going to leave here crazier than I came in." 20 minutes of that was like an eternity. Heaven help me. Got to do it again tommorrow with no drugs!
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Last edited by addprogrammer; 07-13-2005 at 09:31 AM. Reason: Change heading

 
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Old 07-12-2005, 09:47 AM   #2
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Thanks for filling us in - "Like a diabolical game of Simon says. I kept yelling "Are we almost there yet. I'm going to leave here crazier than I came in."
Oh man I am chuckling. Good luck today!!

 
Old 07-12-2005, 02:59 PM   #3
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

What kind of doctor administers these kind of tests? My doc's never even mentioned anything like this. I think it would be helpful though!

 
Old 07-12-2005, 03:16 PM   #4
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Yes I meant to ask the same thing.

 
Old 07-12-2005, 10:19 PM   #5
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Dancergrl28 and Sylvia,

Ask your physcian for a referal to a psychologist that does ADHD evaluations. In my neck of Penn's woods, they are rare birds. I signed back in February for the earliest dates open - July 11, 12. It was well worth the wait and the the $50 copay.

Today's testing targeted the same cognitive functions as yesterday but with no meds. At the end, the doctor printed out graphs showing the two day results.

Two areas of cognitive deficiency showed up. Not surprisingly, attentiveness was one. It was also the area that benefited most from Ritalin. The difference was striking. The graph showed exceptional attentiveness on Ritalin even exceeding maximum scale value at one point. Without meds, however, there was a rapid decline that finally leveled out near the bottom of the chart. I find it significant that my best efforts under scrutiny in a labortory setting could not offset the attention deficit I've experienced all my life.

The other area of concern is short term memory. I did not do as poorly as the attention test but neither was there much gain on Ritalin. The short term memory problems influenced the fluid reasoning test results. Fluid reasoning is what computer programming is all about. I thought I would excel for sure. I came in just above average. How can that be? The simpler two step test problems I could manage. But as the number of steps increased so did my failure rate. What I can't do is hold in my short term memory the results of calculation 1 to be used in calculation 2 the results of which are to be used in calculation 3, etc. The crux of the matter is I can work out algorithms on paper but not in my mind because my short term memory is deficient.

The short term memory problem sheds a lot of light on what ails me. I figured I was forever losing, misplacing and forgetting things because I existed in a state of distraction. No doubt distraction is the major player but deficient short term memory is also playing a significant role.

What to do? Task lists help in day-to-day planning. Writing out algorithms and diagramming software solutions before coding overcomes the fluid reasoning that at average is still deficient for the type of work I do. Tell you what. Good planning is a good software practice. No one will ever know the difference.

But the attention deficit? Unknowingly I've been looking for an effective management tool for about 50 years now and haven't found one - except for Ritalin. Maybe some day.
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Old 07-13-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

So a psychologist not a psychiatrist can administer these tests? What exactly are the tests patterned to reveal? Are they supposed to be tests to simply confirm the adhd diagnosis or are they more geared toward the depth of your add? Im a little surprised that none of my doctors have brought these tests up before. Im a 29 y.o female with adhd, but im concerned because I know I can't be on Ritalin for the rest of my life. Im very interested in these tests as well that why Im asking so many questions

 
Old 07-14-2005, 03:34 PM   #7
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Dancergrl28,

Please ask as many questions as you like.

The tests I took tested cognitive functions, attention, depression and anxiety. Here is where I am coming from: It has literally taken hours for me to find a computer bug and then literally seconds to correct it. Diagnosis is everything.

I felt the history and questionaires that identified my ADHD were too broad and subjective to really pinpoint what ails me. And I was right.

For instance, I do not suffer comorbid depression or anxiety disorder. However, I do suffer from poor short term memory. Also, ADHD has I think four components: 1. Inattentiveness 2. Implusivity 3. Hyperactivity 4. Restlessness. We hear a lot of negative talk about Strattera. However, if hyperactivity is dominant, Strattera is the med of choice. So happens I present 3 of the four - not hyperactivity.

I can burn the restlessness with exercise. Control the impulsiveness. Use lists for the short short-term memory. But nothing I have ever tried has ever helped with the inattentiveness that to me feels like a brain in chaos.

So what did I get out of the deal? A definite target to shoot at both with meds and coping skills. And, a kind of "peace" that nails the ADHD with objective tests. It can be argued that the ADHD diagnoses is an inference. However, my inability to keep my mind on one thing is now documented. I might not be making sense. I know. ADHD has just become a "real" disorder documented with objective tests.

Bob

PS Got to go. Any questions you have I try to get to them tommorrow. The testing is hands down, by far, absolutely positively, the best thing I've done yet.
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Old 07-15-2005, 09:43 AM   #8
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Did your insurance cover it? I'm just seeing my primary care doctor right now so I don't have to pay the outrageous co-pays for mental health care. Isn't that ridiculous? That my co-pays are so much more for mental health providers, as though mental health is less legitimate than physical? The fact is that without stable mental health, I can't hold on to a job long enough to pay their outrageous premiums. Anyway. Just wondering if you had to pay out of pocket.

 
Old 07-15-2005, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Sylvia,

My tight-wadded HMO did pay. I had to copay $25 per day.

Bob
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Old 07-18-2005, 02:13 AM   #10
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

A psychologist evaluation is a great tool if your insurance covers it -- especially if you have a diagnosis that is questionable or your doctor thinks something else might be going on. A traditional evaluation includes an IQ test, Attention span, psychological co-morbidities, and certain tests that can differentiated between ADD and organic issues in the brain. It usually takes 8-10 hours of testing, and costs 150-250/hr.

Although a psychiatrist can legally perform the tests, they are usually not interested nor setup to do it, and thus rarely do. They may perform a limited subset for other purposes however. Insurance coverage can be iffy.... As to finding a psychologist, I would recommend you look for a "child psychologist". Psychologists in general do not specialize, and don't attend a residency, but rather spend time learning specific diseases and issues. A psychologist that specializes in children is likely to be more familiar with ADD evaluations than a psychologist who specializes in disability evaluations.

 
Old 07-19-2005, 02:14 AM   #11
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1 & 2

addprogrammer, I couldn't help noticing that you also live in Penn's Woods. I don't think that psychologists around my area even do the specific type of testing that you're talking about. I have an appointment scheduled for next month set up through OVR. I mentioned to my counselor that my psychologist I see (another one) told me about 5 years ago that I have ADD, but she doesn't do the testing for it. I also said that I also was diagnosed by my family doctor as having depression, and I also suspect that I have some type of anxiety disorder and mild OCD. The testing that I'm going to have done doesn't involved a day of testing without my taking medicine and a day of taking it; nothing was even mentioned about medicine. By the way, I've tried Dexadrine, Ritalin, and Adderall and feel that none of them do anything for me, so I'm not taking anything anymore. Today I did the tests on meds. Tommorrow, similar tests (but not the same) with no meds.

I really appreciated your descriptions of those tests, so now I might at least know sort of what to expect, although chances are they won't be exactly the same. I'm sure I'd do just fine on the synonym/antonym one and probably also the shapes one, but I might be crying uncle while doing some of those other ones. I can see why the symbols for words one would get hard after more symbols are added...ugh! That's one that I can picture myself getting really frustrated with. I think I'd really be sunk on that one that # 8 one that you described. Heck, I couldn't even understand what you were trying to say with your description...if that's the case, I'd probably be totally lost during that part of the test and not even understand the directions! I'd probably just sit there feeling panicky for not getting it at all! I also think that last one would have me over the edge. Yeah, I think I can understand why you said about leaving crazier than when you went in...that might just be the case with me. 20 minutes of that one?!

I don't know at all what the test will be like that I'll be taking, but I hope I don't have some of those that you mention; however, if running those particular tests helps greatly to document the ADD, then I guess I'll just suffer through them. If that last one that you mentioned is as bad as what I'm imagining, I hope I won't break the button that I have to push. I really think I would get wound up on that one. I don't even have the hyperactivity of ADD, but I think that one would get to me.

I forget if I mentioned (yeah, I have bad short term memory too!) to you that the psychologist will be testing me for 8 hours, but it's only for one day (I already think that's enough torture for me anyway). Here I am 49 years old and am struggling through life, as I can't seem to tolerate any jobs (I hated all the jobs I've ever had and have been off work more than worked during my marriage. It's hard enough for me to deal with things at home; being on a job is a real nightmare. I'm disorganized, have piles of stuff, lose things, forget things, have to go in and out of a room about 5 times until I remember everything that I was going to do. It's like I make everything 10 times harder than what it really is. When I was away recently by myself (and therefore having to remember and be responsible for all my belongings by myself), I had so many things stress me out during that trip it's just ridiculous. I'm not dumb and was actually near the top of my high school graduating class; I guess that's what makes this all doubly frustrating, knowing that I have the potential but because of the ADD, I feel like a total screw-up.

Thanks for describing those tests for us. Maybe that will relieve some of my anxiety. It's not that I'm anxious about them right now, but I know when the days gets here I'm sure I'll be.

 
Old 07-19-2005, 06:39 AM   #12
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

comeonnow,

I live in a backward area of Penn's Woods. I could only find 1 psychologist on my HMO list, a child psychologist, that does this type of testing. He is so booked I had to wait 5 months for an appointment. It sounds to me like you are having the same series but all in one day.

I "accidentally on purpose" called the IQ test "cognitive function" tests. IQ tends to be a very egotistical thing and like they say "a high IQ and 95 cents will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds." The "cognitive function" tests measure 8 areas of functionality. The IQ score is the average of those 8. But the average is totally meaningless in this context. For example, poor short-term memory will pull the average down. And, it will impact other areas. The value lies in knowing where our strengths and weaknesses are so we can maximize the strengths and manage the weaknesses. Very valuable knowledge!

Both anxiety and depression disorders can cause the appearance of attention deficit, exasperate it, or co-exist with it. I specifically mentioned to the psychologist that I have experienced more than my fair share of anxiety and depression. Could they be co-morbid? Could my serotonin regulators be shot too? The answer in my case is no. I was reacting to the fear of "being discovered" and the inevitable failures that accompany serious ADHD. Now I know. No need to treat disorders I do not have.

Self-esteem issues run rampant with ADHDers. We have been told all our life, in essense, "we are losers". And, we have plenty of evidence to believe it. Failed jobs, relationships, etc. Must be so. The TOVA test, the one that was a nightmare, graphically displayed my ADHD symtoms. Check this out: In the two parameters that conscious effort will make a difference, I did well. I failed miserably, though, in the two areas we cannot consciously control. The first two showed I was really trying. The second showed I am ADHD. It is NOT MY FAULT. I was born with a defective brain. Otherwise, I am a perfectly normal combination of strenghts and weaknesses just like everyone else on the planet. I'm OK. So are you. The testing will help prove that to you. You have absolutely nothing to fear other than a totally fried brain by day's end.

Bob
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Old 08-05-2005, 02:25 AM   #13
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by addprogrammer
Dancergrl28 and Sylvia,

The other area of concern is short term memory. I did not do as poorly as the attention test but neither was there much gain on Ritalin. The short term memory problems influenced the fluid reasoning test results. Fluid reasoning is what computer programming is all about. I thought I would excel for sure. I came in just above average. How can that be? The simpler two step test problems I could manage. But as the number of steps increased so did my failure rate. What I can't do is hold in my short term memory the results of calculation 1 to be used in calculation 2 the results of which are to be used in calculation 3, etc. The crux of the matter is I can work out algorithms on paper but not in my mind because my short term memory is deficient.

The short term memory problem sheds a lot of light on what ails me. I figured I was forever losing, misplacing and forgetting things because I existed in a state of distraction. No doubt distraction is the major player but deficient short term memory is also playing a significant role.

day.

Hi - My name is Laura, and my 2 sons both suffer from adhd one is 12 the other is 10, the oldest takes 54 mg of Concerta and my 10 yr old takes 40 mg of Adderall xr. I have not been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, but I have had the symptoms all of my life, I can remember having such trouble focusing in school as a child, up into my college years, even now, as a single mother I have extreme difficulty staying on a task and similar things which are typical of a person with ADD or ADHD. Why I am posting though (and I cannot relate at all to any of your mathmatical conversations.... I was always so awfull and "scared" of Math LOL . But when I read about the similar symptoms of short term memory loss, or going from room to room with the intent to do something in particular but each time forgetting to bring something with you , then going back to get the forgotten item and then returning only to discover you left 3 of the other things you had initially had with you in the other room etc.... you know just total insane memory blanks etc... which is very disturbing and quite frightening to someone who has an above average IQ ,anyway, these symptoms began happening to me, I thought I was losing my mind, literally. I finally went to another doctor for a second opinion and he tested my thyroid . This was in December of 93, about 8 months after my first son was born with congenital Hypothyroidism. The tests revealed that I had what is called "Hashimoto's disease"/ or basically another term for Hypothyroidism. Now I never had this disorder before. The doc explained it was basically an autoimmune disorder. When your healthy immune system just begins to attack a healthy organ for no apparent reason (they had no explanation as to why this was happening) But since then I have had to take a synthetic thyroid hormone replacement, called Synthroid or generic called Levothyroxine. Look it up if you are'nt already familiar with it. But it is only one of seemingly hundreds of "new" auto-immune disorders that are attacking such a huge number of Americans, and in the past 30 years these autoimmune disorders are rising to epidemic proportions in Americans. There is maybe 3 women out of 30 that I know that do not have this Hypothyroidism which they just were diagnosed with in the past few years. OTher Autoimmune disorders I have read about on the rise are Lupus, Fibromyalgia (which I now have), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Guillian Barr Syndrome (linked to viruses such as Chicken pox or Mononucleosis) both of which I had . Also Sclerdoma and MS (muscular sclerosis), and on and on....... Anyway... I sort of got off track and began to ramble, but I just think that it is strange that these diseases have popped up in epidemic numbers throughout the US in the last 30 years, no "ordinary" doc can seem to really have any explanation for this or why our bodies immune systems are breaking down and attacking our healthy organs. Of course I have done alot of research and I believe as so many other people do, that its all the chemicals used to treat crops, fed to our beef and chickens, etc, not to mention the other chemicals used in processed foods, pollution, improper disposal of the dangerous chemicals which get into the ground water, the soil where our crops grow, animals graze and kids play. Oh well.. Thanks for listening... sorry to get off topic if I seem to have but I also believe that it all contributes to the ADD/ADHD and other unexplained diseases and cancers in our children and adults as well.

Well.... Everyone take care, God Bless, and never stop researching!!!!

With Blessings, your fellow suffering human!!! hehe

Laura

P.s. I forgot to mention that I also suffer from Asthma, allergies, Fibromyagia, Rhematoid Arthritis, Depression, Anxiety.... Gosh what else?? I forget, but I am trying to treat my conditions with healthy foods and different vitamins and minerals and lots of bubble baths I still take the meds I need to but I am trying to get off of all the addicting pain meds, depression and anxiety meds.... Again..sorry for the book... feel free to email me at [ please read and follow the posting rules - no emails ] thanks



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Old 08-05-2005, 06:54 AM   #14
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Re: ADHD Diagnostic Testing - Day 1

Laura,

I agree. Toxins, excessive stress, and sedentary life style are killing us. Modern medicine offsets the consequences to a degree otherwise average life span would be decreasing.

Bob
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