ADHD Resource Hub

ADHD Screening & Diagnosis

Diagnosis and treatment in Canada

Did you know?

While people still in the school system can benefit from a psychoeducational assessment, you can still have ADHD diagnosed by a medical practitioner.

The path you choose is entirely dependent on yours and your family’s circumstances, and medical history. 
 

You should know:

  • ​Limited or no recognition of adult ADHD in the adult mental health space creates serious problems for continuity of care from adolescence to adulthood for ADHD.​
  • Parents, patients, and clinicians end up having to self-advocate to educate their health clinicians on adult ADHD and its substantial economic, social, and emotional impact if left untreated. ​
  • The specific causes of ADHD is unknown, and there is no single diagnostic test.  
  • Adequate diagnosis requires the use not only of medical but also of special psychological, educational, and social resources. The diagnosis must be based upon a complete history and evaluation of the patient and not solely on the presence of the required number of DSM-5 characteristics.​ ​
  • ​Some people come to identify with the traits and symptoms of having an ADHD brain without a formal diagnosis.
  • ​​Sometimes your therapist will suggest screening in order to rule ADHD out. Depending on your own values, preferences and needs, a formal diagnosis may or may not be necessary.  But ADHD might be a barrier in the goals of your therapeutic work together.  ​ ​​
  • ​A formal diagnosis facilitates medical management (medication), as well as support for Individual Education Plan (IEP) development in someone’s academic journey (from elementary to post-secondary), and,
  • ADHD is a protected disability in Ontario, which comes with certain obligations employers and schools have toward a person with ADHD. ​

Who can provide a diagnosis in Ontario?

In Ontario, only a health care practitioner that is a medical doctor or nurse practitioner (nurse practitioner, family doctor, pediatrician or psychiatrist), OR a psychologist, can deliver a formal diagnosis.  

  • A psychotherapist with training in ADHD, can screen and assess for ADHD, and also deliver non-pharmacological treatment (behaviour therapy/training & psychotherapy management). ​

​What should you do next?

  • If you wish to explore the full spectrum of care, you can approach your primary care nurse practitioner or family physician for diagnosis and treatment.  If you do not have one, check out the Integrated Medical Care clinic offered by our team.
  • When speaking with your health care provider, ask about their experience and training with diagnosing and treating ADHD. 
  • If your child is struggling in school,  a psychoeducational assessment can offer a roadmap in effect, to yours or your child’s brain, whereby ADHD can be ruled it in or out, and learning differences can be identified.  Individuals over the age of 4 years old can be assessed.  ​

​Comprehensive ADHD assessment, diagnosis and treatment with ongoing follow up care

Integrated Mental Health Services

Some conditions in mental health benefit from a coordinated and experienced care team approach between the person, their therapist and a medical practitioner. 

Our private, coordinated care clinic is led by experienced child and adult mental health nurse practitioners, highly trained and experienced in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of conditions like ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD, in children, adolescents and adults. 

This service is now open to the general public through self-referral. Please visit our Integrated Medical Care page to learn more, and sign up through our Intake Form to get started. 

Start self-assessment

Take a screener

The most  common screening tool used to determine whether further investigation is necessary is the ​standardized Adult Self Report Scale (ASRS). This is a well-established rating scale developed by the World Health Organization for adult ADHD screening.  Research has shown the ASRS to be a highly sensitive and specific screener for ADHD in adults. ​Less than 1% of individuals without ADHD will score positive on the ASRS. This affords the clinician a high level of confidence that individuals screening positive for ADHD on the ASRS do indeed have ADHD. 

Research suggests that the symptoms of ADHD can persist into adulthood, having a significant impact on the relationships, careers, and even the personal safety of your patients who may suffer from it. Because this disorder is often misunderstood, many people who have it do not receive appropriate treatment and, as a result, may never reach their full potential. Part of the problem is that it can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in adults.  
 

Screener Resources

​You can also download a fillable Adult Self Report Scale (source: CADDRA) to share with your health care clinician.

​or

Want an auto-calculated score? 
Click HERE for a screening quiz that mirrors the standardized Adult Self Report Scale (ASRS). We suggest taking a screenshot of your final results to share with your health care provider’s.

OTHER SCREENERS: ALL ADULTS AND YOUTH
Did you know?

ADHD presents differently in girls & women.

Screeners for girls & women

The primarily inattentive presentation of ADHD more frequently found in females, although not exclusively, can often go undiagnosed resulting in later coexisting disorders of anxiety and depression. ADHD can also be misdiagnosed as one of these disorders. Unfortunately, even today many females with ADHD may be treated for depression and anxiety, often unsuccessfully, while their underlying ADHD remains undiagnosed and untreated.

Download report clicking the image above

Interested in advocacy?

​CADDRA’s 2022 call for more equitable access to care for ADHD, includes:

  • Access to timely assessments. People with ADHD need access to trained Mental Health Professionals who can conduct affordable ADHD assessments, whether they live in urban centres, or more remote regions.
  • Accessible and affordable ADHD treatment for all Canadians. This should include not just medication, but also evidence-based psychosocial support such as coaching, behavioural management and parent training.​

 

A note for our American friends

Many of our inquiries are from our friends south of the border.  While we can support you with ADHD Coaching, we cannot work as psychotherapists outside of our licensed jurisdictions.  

​Our 2 recommendations to locate the right supports, closest to where you live are CHADD.org and 
​from ADDitude: ADDitude’s Top ADHD Clinics

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