Many parents, confronted with their child’s high levels of impulsivity and general inability to stay focused, are concerned about the possibility of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. At LaunchPad Counseling in Richmond VA, we use the Conners 3 assessment. It is an effective way to test for this disorder, as well as other problem behavior, in children and adolescents. Not only can the Connors 3 help with screening and support for diagnosis, it can also be used to monitor a child’s ongoing progress.
The test is given in three parts: written observations by a parent, a teacher and a self-report from the child. It measures several different areas of potential concern, including inattention, hyperactivity/impulsivity, learning problems and executive functioning.
Children struggling with ADHD have trouble organizing and completing tasks, as well as difficulty concentrating. They may have difficulty sitting still, moderating their voice or waiting their turn. In addition, their academic performance may lag behind their peers. These children also often have trouble seeing the “big picture”, so planning, organizing and keeping track of future events is an addition problem. The Connors 3 provides parents with a snapshot of general cognitive functioning that helps lend some perspective to a child’s behavior.
ADHD also presents some social challenges. So, in addition to measuring general cognitive function, the Connors 3 measures aggression, peer relations and family relationships. Children with ADHD tend to be more emotionally volatile than others their age. This can lead them to be more easily irritated or disproportionately angry, often straining peer relations. Feeling like they have few friends and are socially disconnected frequently leads to issues around self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth.
These feelings of low self-esteem and low self-confidence can also come into play in family relationships. The whole system of social disturbance influenced by ADHD prompts children to perceive parents and family members as uncaring or overly critical, bringing up a sense of social detachment similar to what they feel around their peers. Play therapyis very effective in helping children overcome these challenges.
Much of the behavior and social conflict connected to ADHD looks like other things. What the Connors 3 does, in addition to helping parents get some perspective on their child’s behavior, is provide counselors with a point of reference for deciding if a child is struggling with ADHD that is focused on inattention, hyperactivity or some combination of the two, which helps determine a treatment plan. It also helps differentiate ADHD from more complex concerns, like conduct disorder or oppositional defiant disorder. These often overlap, so having a clear picture or diagnosis is helpful for your child’s treatment planning.
The Connors 3 is one of the most inexpensive ADHD testing tools. It is not as exhaustive as further psychological testing, which is why it’s often used as a first screening. If you suspect your child may have ADHD, contact us or sign up for an appointment online.
To learn more about counseling for children with ADHD, please check out our ADHD, preteens, or teens sections.