Is his Focusing Problem ADD or a Processing Problem?
I worked with a 10th grade adolescent because his parents were concerned that his grades were dropping and his attitude to school was poor. He was telling his parents that he had trouble paying attention in class, keeping is mind on the content, and difficulty concentrating when doing his homework. His parents came to me to try and determine if their son had ADD or if he was just being lazy. They wanted information to help them understand if they just needed to push their son harder or if they needed to cut him some slack if he really had ADD. My evaluation helped answer their questions.
First I met with the parents, listened to their concerns, discussed background information, and determined the main questions they wanted answered. This process gave me insight into their son’s history and helped me understand how to tailor the evaluation to specifically address their concerns. (Some psychologists use the same tests on every kid no matter what the parents’ concerns are because they get comfortable using certain tests or because they are not very astute. Not every evaluation should be the same tests.)
Their son came in for two, two hour appointments where we went through the testing process. Some tests involved talking whereas others were looking at pictures, completing tasks, and interacting with me or a computer. During this time I got to know the teen and we discussed fishing, his enjoyment for riding ATVs, and his perceptions about school. It appeared that we had a solid rapport so I believe the testing was accurate. As I scored the tests it turned out that his student had some very significant processing problems that were contributing to his feelings of being overwhemled and discouraged about school. He believed that even though he was trying to be successful in school that his effort did not result in good grades. Thus, he was quickly becoming unmotivated. As it turned out, this teen was not at all lazy.
When I met with the parents to review the results the information I shared with them in the written report provided insight and steps for helping their son. Hearing about their son’s strengths and about his processing problems helped them understand him even better. They left knowing that they needed to give him greater understanding. They also needed to help him create a system for success that would work to his strengths. I provided the parents with some folks that could come along side them and teach the teen how create his system.
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