Jim Forgan, Ph.D. is a school neuropsychologist and Florida ADHD expert providing ADHD testing and treatment for children ages 4 through college. He is the co-author of Raising Boys with ADHD and Raising Girls with ADHD published by Prufrock Press. If you are concerned your son or daughter may have ADHD, it’s highly helpful to have your child evaluated using a developmental neuropsychological evaluation so you know if your child’s difficulties are a ‘wiring’ problem (neuropsychological) or a ‘behavior’ problem. This is an important distinction to make because it influences how you should treat your child’s ADHD.
For example, if your child’s difficulties are behavioral in nature and not neurobiological, then placing your child on medication may not work and may cause your child to become more agitated. When this occurs parents may conclude that they ‘tried medication and it did not work’ when in actuality, the medication was not the right treatment. They should have tried approaches that addressed the behavior since medication does not teach behavioral skills.
As a parent of a child with ADHD and a practicing professional, he understands ADHD because he lives and works with it. He has authored three nationally available books on parenting boys and girls with ADHD. As an ADHD specialist, he can evaluate your child to help you determine if this is a behavioral or neuropsychological problem. This is a more in-depth approach to diagnosing ADHD than simply having a parent and teacher complete a checklist. We believe working with the child and doing tests of attention is a more thorough way to diagnose ADHD than a checklist diagnosis. While the DSM-5 (the manual with the ADHD criterion) does not require the child to complete any tests, it’s often reassuring to parents that the child has been checked out. In automobile terms, this type of testing is ‘checking under the hood’ before making any repairs.
ADHD testing takes place in Jupiter, Florida. Dr. Forgan’s office is located just off of Interstate 95. ADHD testing can vary from two to four hours depending on your child’s unique needs. At minimum, the ADHD testing includes neurodevelopment tests of attention (shifting attention, divided attention, attentional capacity, sustained attention), tests of executive functioning, memory, processing, rating forms, and a measure of the child’s self-esteem or emotional status. All this information is summarized in a written report that includes specific recommendations. Each person is unique and the battery of tests used is a customized approach designed to answer your questions and give you insight about your child.
ADHD testing provides answers. A recent client had her third grade son evaluated because she and the teacher thought he might have ADHD. After a comprehensive evaluation which assessed attention, learning, and many other areas, I determined this boy had learning disabilities in reading and math and did not have ADHD. His learning disabilities were causing him to behave as if he had attention problems or ADHD. Thus, the treatment for this boy was working with a learning disability tutoring specialist rather than medication from the pediatrician. His mom told me she was relieved it was not ADHD and was glad to have answers about how to best help her son. This is only one example of how testing helps provide understanding and answers.
Dr. Jim Forgan and associates offer the Cogmed Working Memory Training program to help children with ADHD who have attention difficulties related to a weak memory. This program is computer based and completed at home for 5 days per week for 5 weeks. You are coached by phone to discuss your child’s training sessions and score data. This type of approach changes the neuroplasticity of the brain.