What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurological disorder affecting 3-7% of children in the United States. ADHD can make it difficult for children to learn in school and complete assignments. Children with ADHD may be at higher risk for behavior problems and they may have low self-esteem.


Children with ADHD may be hyperactive, inattentive or both. ADHD causes problems both at home and at school. Symptoms of ADHD can include:


  • Problems paying attention
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Losing things
  • Being easily distracted
  • Fidgeting or squirming
  • Talking too much
  • Difficulty waiting turn
  • Interrupting others
  • Impulsivity

The exact cause of ADHD is not yet known. Several studies suggest genetic factors and neurological causes. ADHD is not the result of bad parenting or low intelligence.

Most children with ADHD have a close relative with the disorder. Many parents realize they have ADHD after their child is diagnosed. There are several treatment options for families and children with ADHD. The proper treatment and supports can greatly improve the daily lives of children with ADHD.

Diagnosis and Treatment of ADHD

ADHD is diagnosed by doctors, medical professionals, psychologists, and mental health professionals. It is important to diagnose ADHD carefully because several other disorders can look like ADHD. Medication is the most common treatment for ADHD, along with individual and family counseling, school supports, social skills training, behavioral training, and parenting assistance.

Many children with ADHD feel poorly about themselves. They may feel they are not smart or they may have problems making or keeping friends. Counseling is an important part of treatment because it helps children with ADHD focus on their strengths and identify strategies for coping with inattention, school problems, and social issues. ADHD can be a lifelong condition. The sooner a child learns to manage the symptoms of his or her ADHD, the better.

ADHD Evaluation Process

Various factors, including learning styles and temperament, can play a part in a child’s academic and behavioral difficulties. For this reason, we have developed a comprehensive multi-disciplinary evaluation process for diagnosing ADHD.

We are the only pediatric office in this area to offer an ADHD evaluation that includes components from the pediatrician or nurse practitioner, a counselor, and a psychologist, all members of our staff. Our ADHD evaluation will be tailored to your child’s needs and may differ from child to child. Any recent physical, psychological, or educational reports will be considered in developing your child’s evaluation plan.


If you have concerns or your child displays symptoms of ADHD, please contact our office by calling 540-434-2821 and speak with the ECC Coordinator. The ECC coordinator will talk with you and determine whether your child needs an appointment. A packet of information may be sent to you. Completing this information will help us accurately profile your child's strengths and weaknesses.


If necessary, a classroom observation will be performed by Mrs. Litten. Through this observation, important information will be gathered about your child’s classroom performance, attention, and work completion. Recommendations will be made based on this observation.


The intake interview will be provided by our counselor. If possible, both parents and the child should be present at this appointment. The interview covers areas of concerns both at school and at home, interventions and management, developmental issues, social behaviors, emotional patterns and stressors, and family history. This visit will last 1 to 1 ½ hours.


During this appointment, Mrs. Litten, our school psychologist, will perform a psychoeducational assessment with your child to include IQ testing, educational testing, and neurodevelopmental testing. This testing session will last approximately 2 hours. A second testing session, lasting from 1 to 2 hours, will also be scheduled. The psychologist works individually with your child, without the parent present.

We are careful not to duplicate any testing performed within the past year by outside sources (other psychologists, school systems, etc). Therefore, it is important to provide us with records of your child’s previous testing or evaluations.


Your child will receive a complete physical and neurodevelopmental examination from a Harrisonburg Pediatrics provider. A parent must accompany the child to this appointment. This may include blood work, a hearing screening and a vision screening. This appointment lasts approximately 1 to 1½ hours.


The provider spends time, outside of your child’s appointment time, performing chart review and report writing.


The professionals who have worked with your child will meet together to staff your child’s case. At this meeting, the results of your child’s assessment will be discussed. Diagnoses and treatment plans will be formulated.


An appointment, with several members of the evaluation team, will be scheduled to inform you of the results of your child’s evaluation. If your child is age 12 or older, unless you are instructed otherwise, we ask that your child be present at this meeting. Children under the age of 12 years are asked not to participate in this meeting. Recommendations will be presented to help your child at school and home. This meeting will last approximately 1 to 1½ hours.


Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan will be implemented. Your child’s treatment plan may include educational counseling sessions with either our psychologist or counselor. These sessions will provide opportunities to share information on ADHD, behavior modification, and learning strategies. We will monitor your child’s progress and these sessions will allow specific tailoring of modifications to your child’s individual needs.


Regular follow-up appointments are very important to the treatment of your child. If medications are started, the first follow-up appointment with the provider will be within two to four weeks. Afterwards, as recommended by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), your child will be required to see the physician or nurse practitioner every three months and will need to have yearly physical examinations. These follow-up appointments are mandatory in order to receive medication refills.

Twice each year (October and March), brief questionnaires will be mailed to you. These are for you and your child’s teacher to complete so current information about behavior and medication efficacy can be obtained.


Due to differences in insurance coverage and individual assessment procedures, the cost of an ADHD evaluation will vary from one evaluation to another. Insurance and payment issues will be discussed before the ADHD evaluation is scheduled.

Additional ADHD Resources