What to Expect at Your Child’s ADHD Evaluation
Every child who comes to the Center for Management of ADHD at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) receives an initial evaluation. The goal of this evaluation is to develop an understanding of your child’s strengths and challenges and determine their primary treatment needs. This evaluation will include a comprehensive assessment of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and will screen for other emotional, behavioral and health conditions.
Scheduling an ADHD evaluation
When you call to schedule an evaluation with the Center for Management of ADHD, we’ll ask you a series of questions to decide the best type of appointment. Note that if you have not had an appointment with your child’s primary care provider (PCP) to discuss your concerns before calling, you will be asked to have your child first undergo an evaluation with their PCP. Many children with ADHD can be effectively diagnosed and offered support through their PCP.
If there is an appointment available at CHOP that could address your concerns, your child will be scheduled for the next available appointment. The Center for the Management of ADHD at CHOP works to support children and families in our region; however, the level of community need exceeds our capacity, which may result in appointments not being available when you call. If no appointment is available, you will be encouraged to seek other resources in your community or call back later. As of July 2023, CHOP’s Center for the Management of ADHD does not keep a waitlist for appointments.
Once your child is scheduled for an appointment at CHOP, you will receive a confirmation letter via MyCHOP that will have more information about your child’s upcoming appointment including:
- Links to complete pre-appointment questionnaires
- Information about billing
- Where to report on the day of your appointment
Please note that completion of pre-appointment paperwork — including teacher forms — is essential for us to be able to fully address your concerns at your child’s evaluation. Not completing the questionnaires before your child’s visit may delay our staff from completing your child’s evaluation.
Types of ADHD evaluations
All families calling the Center for the Management of ADHD are scheduled into one of the following appointment types based on your responses at the time of scheduling:
- A behavioral health diagnostic evaluation with a focus on ADHD symptoms
- An initial diagnostic evaluation with Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (for children up to the age of 6 with specific criteria established by CHOP’s Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics)
- A behavioral health diagnostic evaluation with medication management consultation
The evaluation with our clinician will decide if there are more services at the ADHD Center appropriate for your child.
However, most families are not seen for follow-up care at the ADHD Center and are given resources in their community and encouraged to pursue follow-up care closer to home and with their primary care provider.
What will an initial ADHD evaluation appointment include?
An ADHD diagnostic evaluation is a behavioral health assessment to decide whether your child has ADHD and/or other conditions. These evaluations include:
- A one- to two-hour, face-to-face clinical interview with a licensed professional. If there is not enough time to gather enough clinical information during this consultation appointment, the clinician may request an additional appointment.
- Completion of parent and teacher evaluations, using behavioral and academic rating scales.
- A review of previous medical, school and assessment records, if applicable.
- If a patient is scheduled for an evaluation with medication consultation, the appointment will also include a review of current or potential medications with a psychiatrist who specializes in treating children and/or adolescents.
Evaluations do not include:
- Intellectual or academic/learning testing
- Assessment by a neurologist or neuropsychologist
- School visits/observations
These procedures are not needed to diagnose ADHD.
If concerns emerge about cognitive functioning or learning, families will be given feedback and guidance about how to address these concerns.
Prepare for your child’s first visit
Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your child’s scheduled appointment time.
If your visit is at CHOP’s Center for Advanced Behavioral Health (4601 Market St.), free parking is available for patient families. If using GPS, please navigate to 4650 Haverford Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19139. If your child’s appointment is at CHOP Brandywine Specialty Care Center or CHOP Voorhees Specialty Care Center, please use the links for addresses and directions.
Please bring your child’s insurance card and pharmacy benefits card to the appointment. If you need to cancel or reschedule your child’s appointment, please let us know via MyCHOP or telephone (215-590-7555) as soon as possible. As you are aware, behavioral health appointments are very difficult to obtain. Please let us schedule another family in need if you cannot keep your appointment.
Parent and educator questionnaires are very important in diagnosing ADHD and following a child’s progress. To best evaluate children for ADHD, we ask parents and educators to complete the ADHD questionnaires via an online system that will send results directly to your child’s clinician. These parent questionnaires and instructions for sending the teacher questionnaires will be sent to you via MyCHOP. Please note that if these questionnaires are not completed by the parent and teacher by the time of your child’s visit, it may delay the clinician’s ability to complete your child’s evaluation and address your concerns.
In addition to the questionnaires above, we ask that you bring or send the following in advance via MyCHOP or email:
- Your child’s most recent report cards
- 504 plans or IEPs (if applicable)
- Any psychiatric, psychological, educational or developmental evaluations completed for your child in the past two years
Please note: This email address is not checked for correspondence beyond document submission. Do not send questions to this email address.
Preparing your child
Visiting a doctor's office or hospital for any reason may be stressful for children of all ages. These tips can help you better prepare your child for their visit, so they feel more comfortable about their upcoming outpatient appointment.
- When describing the reason for your appointment, use simple words that your child will understand. For example, “We are going together to talk to someone about home, school and what you like to do for fun. We will learn more about what you are good at and what is harder for you so we can make things better for you.”
- If your child currently takes prescribed medication, please continue it on the day of the appointment.
- If your child is coming for a psychoeducational evaluation, tell them testing is a little like being in school. You can tell your child that they will be doing many different activities. Some activities involve listening and talking, while other activities involve looking at pictures, building things and drawing. The most important thing is that your child is encouraged to try their best.
- If your child is worried about receiving shots or other medical procedures, reassure them that this is not that kind of appointment.
- If you do not know the answer to your child’s question, tell your child that you don’t know, but that you will find out.
In most cases, insurance will cover the cost of Behavioral Health appointments. CHOP has insurance specialists who can help resolve any insurance issues. Before your child’s appointment, you should ask your insurance provider about any co-pays or deductibles you will owe at the time of their visit.
You may also wish to check with your insurance provider to verify your coverage levels and benefits for the following CPT codes as they relate to ADHD assessment and testing: 96136, 96137,90791, 96130, 96131.
You are encouraged to review CHOP's Billing and Insurance resources here or call our financial counseling hotline at 1-800-664-7855.
Results of ADHD evaluation
Depending on the type of visit your child has, feedback from clinicians may be given to you on the day of your child’s evaluation or at a separate visit (normally within one to three weeks of the first appointment).
If your child is diagnosed with ADHD, we will give you information to help you learn about ADHD and ensure you are on the right path to helping your child reach their full potential. You will also be given a written summary of your child’s evaluation, which will include the clinician's diagnostic impressions and treatment recommendations that can be brought to your child’s school, pediatrician or other treatment providers.
Please read about our treatment services. Importantly, follow-up evaluations and care are offered through the ADHD Center on a very limited basis. Most families are given resources and encouraged to pursue follow-up care within their community and with their primary care provider. Please review this information about finding a treatment provider.