ADHD Testing in West Michigan
ADHD, once thought to only affect “naughty little boys” is now a very common diagnosis for girls – and adults. In fact, it’s one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders.
Arriving at an ADHD diagnosis requires ADHD testing.
There are many places offering ADHD assessments in Grand Rapids. Getting a diagnosis as a child can give a kid a head start in many ways, including learning how their brain works and how to create coping skills for this world.
Getting an assessment completed can be hard work – testing centers are often booked months in advance and the process is often expensive. Add working withing your insurance network to the equation, and the road to ADHD testing can be daunting.
In this Article
Why Bother With ADHD Testing?
Because sadly, the modern world is not made for ADHD minds. School, work and even play is designed for linear minds, even though millions of people don’t think that way.
People with ADHD often feel “less than” just because they can’t sit still behind a desk all day or finish a project in one sitting. This can lead to low self esteem and even anxiety and depression.
It’s time to break the stigma that comes with ADHD. It’s time to make space for the ADHD kid.
If this sounds like your child (or maybe YOU? – you don’t outgrow ADHD), check out the ADHD symptoms we list below, and consider ADHD assessment.
A diagnosis can make all the difference in understanding yourself and learning how to thrive with ADHD.
Diagnosing ADHD in Kids
“The first step of the ADHD assessment process involves having a medical exam, including hearing and vision tests, to rule out other health issues with symptoms similar to ADHD,” says University of Michigan Health-West pediatrician Douglas O’Mara, MD.
Dr. O’Mara practices in Jenison
After this, you will fill out a checklist to rate symptoms. Once these are complete, Dr. O’Mara says he typically gathers a history from parents and teachers, and talks to the child as well.
In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of behavior therapy and sometimes medication, according to Dr. O’Mara.
“For preschool-aged children (4-5 years of age) with ADHD, behavior therapy—particularly training for parents—is recommended as the first line of treatment before medication is tried.”
Psst – All Kids are Active and Impatient
But Kids With ADHD Can’t Turn it Off
Adults know that certain behaviors from children are to be expected. These behaviors are a necessary part of a child’s growth and development.
Children test limits: they test their own physical limits, and they test your limits of patience. They are hyper and seem to never stop moving.
Kids are impatient and sometimes won’t sit still. We expect all that. Impulsivity, hyperactivity and being distracted are all normal behaviors.
So how do you know when the line has been crossed from normal to excessive, and when a child could use ADHD testing and extra help understanding how their brain works?
Symptoms of ADHD in Kids
You know that kid with the energy, big ideas, risk taking guts, ability to overcome obstacles and incredible powers of observation?
For more than 16 million children in the United States, those normal behaviors cross the line into attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
“ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in childhood,” says Dr. O’Mara.
“Children with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, controlling impulsive behaviors or may be overly active.”
Dr. O’Mara tells us that according to guidelines outlined in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), which is used to help diagnose ADHD, children under 17 must exhibit six or more of the following symptoms to be officially diagnosed through ADHD testing:
ADHD doesn’t look the same for every child.
Some present as predominantly inattentive, others as hyperactive and impulsive, and some have a combination of both.
The severity of these symptoms also varies from mild to moderate to severe.
Dr. O’Mara understands that it can be difficult to know if your child’s symptoms meet the threshold for ADHD. While there’s no simple ADHD testing to diagnose, there is a clear process for getting there: start with an ADHD assessment.
What happens during ADHD testing?
ADHD assessment protocols vary from one practice to another but they are all trying to measure attention-capacity and determine how much impact ADHD is having on a person’s life.
Assessments for kids look different than adult assessments but all involve input from sources other than the person being assessed.
Teachers or spouses may be asked to fill out questionnaires.
Computer or IQ-type questions may be administered to help measure attention-related details, as well as rule out other possible diagnosis.
The practitioner will spend time asking their client a lot of life questions or otherwise spend time getting historical information related to their evaluation.
Testing is often completed in several phases and can be done in person or virtually.
Financial & Logistical Aspects of ADHD Testing
Insurance companies vary greatly in their coverage of ADHD testing. Because testing can be anywhere from $700-$2000+, it is often important to see if your assessment center will work with your insurance.
Another consideration: testing availability.
Testing centers are experiencing high demand for their services , leaving many clinics no choice but to schedule 6-12 months down the road.
Where to Access ADHD Testing in Grand Rapids
Wondering if your child has ADHD? Check out one of the following top-rated ADHD testing places in Grand Rapids.
When we were certain our son had ADHD, we booked an ADHD assessment with one of the providers below.
Turns out he does NOT have ADHD but a different diagnosis. Their super through testing process really helped us to understand our son and make sure we were getting him the support he needs.
If you’re curious about ADHD testing for your child, contact one of these specialists.
Dr. Jennifer Maurer at Pediatric Mindworks Center at HRA
3940 Peninsular Dr SE suite 230, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
At Pediatric Mindworks Center at HRA, each ADHD assessment is tailored to address the concerns discussed during the intake.
They select your child’s testing battery to examine areas of functioning which lead to understanding your child’s emotions and behaviors. Some parents have specific questions about a diagnosis (“Does my child have ADHD?”) while other parents have questions about behaviors (“Why does she seem to struggle with change more than other children?”).
ADHD Assessment is more complicated than taking a test and doing well or not. This team wants to get a good picture of your child’s abilities while also understanding their development and successes over time.
2 – Dr. Crystal Young at Center for Neuropsychology and Behavioral Health
1550 E Beltline Ave SE #250, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 – web
Providing both ADHD assessment and intervention services, Dr. Crystal Young helps children and families to address concerns related to learning, development, mood, behavior, and other factors.
Dr. Young believes in the importance of collaborating with other providers including schools, physicians, and other therapists to help you effectively advocate for your child’s needs.
She will also work closely with your child’s physicians to provide guidance in treatment planning.
3 – Dr. Shana Rush at Rush Pediatric Neuropsychology
412 Plymouth Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505 – web
Shana Rush, PhD, CCC-SLP is a Speech Language Pathologist with a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
She has twenty-five years of clinical experience with cognitive, behavioral, and communications disorders.
And bonus: Dr. Rush has a black lab facility dog to help patients feel safe an confident.
4 – Dr. Christina Warholic at Pediatric Mindworks Center at HRA
3940 Peninsular Dr SE suite 230, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 – web
Dr. Warholic’s clinical expertise includes neuropsychological assessment of toddlers through adolescents presenting with a wide variety of neurological, neurodevelopmental, and neuropsychiatric conditions.
She specializes in complex/developmental trauma, prenatal drug exposure, prematurity, autism, ADHD, medical/genetic conditions, and learning differences.
7 – Pine Rest Psychological Consultation Center
6500 Byron Center Ave SW # 300, Byron Center, MI 49315
Pine Rest is one of the big names in mental health in West Michigan.
ADHD testing services are included in their offerings, as are assessments for autism, learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.
8 – Attention MD
2213 Wealthy St SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506 – web
Attention MD is a fully virtual office but the practitioners are local.
Dr. Oren Mason only sees patients that he assesses, so if you’d like to work with this revered doctor be sure to schedule an ADHD testing appointment to secure a slot on his crowded schedule.
Dr. Mason has first-hand experience with ADHD and understands what it means to live with the disability and you can see that in his interactions with his clients. He’s very knowledgeable about the different medications available for treatment, too.
Best ADHD Therapists in Grand Rapids
Your kid scored high on their ADHD assessment. Now what?
You might want to find an ADHD therapist or coach to help build your kid’s confidence and teach them techniques for coping with ADHD. They can also help you learn how to best support your child.
(Does your kid have ADHD plus another condition? Find more therapy providers in the therapy and disability resources guide.)
To get started, look through this list of top-voted ADHD therapists in GR (honors were earned in our annual Top doctors awards contest.)
Carrie Zinser at BRAINS
3292 N Evergreen Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525 – web
Carrie Zinser uses direct teaching, play, behavioral, and supportive therapy techniques to help address client-identified concern areas.
She loves working with children and their parents and believes therapy is not just about the child; it is about everyone in the family finding a more useful and functional process.
Carrie believes in empowering parents to be the best support and advocate for their child that they can be.
3 – Annalise Hammerlund at Expressive Explorations
1845 R W Berends Drive Southwest, Wyoming, MI 49519 – web
Expressive Arts Therapy loves to work outside the typical patterns, to approach creatively, to process feelings outside of the constraints of verbal language.
Annalise offers individual and group support, as well as caregiver support. She has a special place in her heart for neurodivergent people, like those with ADHD.
3 – Amy Piscopink Taylor at Pine Rest Zeeland
8333 Felch St suite 201, Zeeland, MI 49464 – web
Amy is a Licensed Professional Counselor at the Pine Rest Zeeland Clinic where she works with all ages.
Her specialties include Adoption/Foster Care issues, anxiety disorders, childhood behavior problems, PTSD and more.
5 – Kendra Kerbs at Paper Plane Therapies
710 Kenmoor Ave SE Suite 110, Grand Rapids Charter Township, MI 49546 – web
Kendra is an Occupational Therapist familiar with a range of pediatric diagnoses including autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorders, developmental delays and neuromuscular disorders.
Kendra has a passion for kids and helping all children lead happy and functional lives.
ADHD Support in Grand Rapids
ADHD support comes in many forms. Doctors and specialists can give understanding of the condition. Therapists can teach tools for success. Area organizations can offer enrichment opportunities that are afforming of these thildren and give them space ot be themselves.
The following organizations and individuals are dedicated to helping kids with ADHD around Grand Rapids.
Counseling, Dance / Movement Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Sensory Therapy, Speech Therapy in Grand Rapids
2505 Ardmore St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506-4915
We work with individuals with ADHD who are in need of speech, sensory, occupational, or social-emotional therapeutic services.
School, Tutoring in Grand Rapids
2428 Burton St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Lake Michigan Academy specializes in meeting the needs of students with ADHD.
Educators are equipped with strategies that address executive functioning and other symptoms including attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Educators are equipped with strategies that address executive functioning and other symptoms including attention, impulsivity and hyperactivity.
Occupational Therapy, Parental Support, Sensory Therapy in Grand Rapids
CAYA Therapies looks beneath the inattention, wondering what might be causing the functional difficulties. We aim to organize the body, so it can support the brain and behaviors better.
Life with ADHD – Both Kids and Adults Have It
ADHD in children can last into adulthood for at least one-third of children.
Finding out as an adult that you still have ADHD can be quite a shock, since it’s commonly assumed that you’ll outgrow it.
Getting an ADHD assessment for your child is one of the most important steps to helping them, especially if this is a lifelong diagnosis.
If they can learn how their brain works differently, and that they are not broken, they can start learning how to live a healthy life with ADHD.
Kids with ADHD who are never treated often struggle.
“Children with untreated ADHD may face problems at home and at school,” Dr. O’Mara explains.
“The child may not learn everything they’re taught and fall behind and get poor grades.
“They may struggle to control their emotions, which can lead to social problems and low self-esteem or even depression. The problems may only get worse as the child enters his or her teens.”
Dr. O’Mara encourages families to work with a team to help their child once you have an ADHD assessment. This team includes health care providers, teachers, behavioral therapists and other adults who care for your kid.
“Your role as a parent is critical,” Dr. O’Mara emphasizes.
“You are an important part of the team that will monitor your child’s response to medications and behavior therapy.”
Dr. O’Mara encourages any parents who wonder if their child’s behavior is just a part of normal growing up, or if it could be ADHD, to discuss it further with their child’s healthcare provider.
He also points to the Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) organization as a great place for parents to go for information, resources, advice and support.
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