Most insurance companies do not pay for testing services. It is cheaper for them to rely on patient and parent interviews as well as behavior rating scales. If the symptoms and behaviors fit the diagnosis of ADD, it must be ADD.
There are a number of excellent reasons, however, to consider psychological testing to diagnose ADD.
- Interviews and rating scales are subjective; what is ADD to one person may be in the normal range for another.
- Ratings may be an expression of the frustration of the rater, rather than the actual severity of the ADD; ratings may also be inflated to secure treatment.
- It is difficult to rate inattentiveness accurately; how can we know what is in the mind of another?
- Objective test data helps identify factors other than ADD that may cause or contribute to the attention problems; academic weaknesses or even learning disabilities often are present with ADD.
- Objective test data establishes a baseline to measure treatment gains at a later time; improvements can be understated or overstated if subjectively estimated.
- Cognitive improvements can occur early in treatment but actual academic and behavior improvements tend to be delayed due to negative attitudes and poor habits which may take time to reverse.
- Testing can reveal hidden strengths that can help with developing better coping strategies
- Thorough and recent psychological testing is actually mandated and necessary for standardized testing such as the SAT and for accommodations such as extended testing time at college.