The Assessment Process

What happens during the clinic consultation with the psychiatrist or psychologist?

During the consultation, we spend about 1 hour speaking to the child and parents to gather more information and observe the child’s behaviour. In Singapore, we use the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) to assess for and diagnose ADHD.
Parents may be asked to complete rating scales and questionnaires. If feasible, some of the rating scales may be passed to schoolteachers to complete.
We will also look through the child’s report books. Comments by teachers may highlight classroom behaviours and learning issues which are suggestive of ADHD. Previous medical reports or hospitalization reports concerning the child’s health status will also be helpful.
In addition, we utilize clinical tools such as the Connor’s Continuous Performance Test (CPT). This is a continuous, execution-based, computerized assessment to identify attention-related difficulties.

What is Connors’ Continuous Performance Test (CPT)? Is it available at Private Space Medical?

Yes, the CPT is available at our clinics. It is widely used in large children’s hospitals in many countries as an adjunctive tool to support the diagnosis of ADHD. It comes in the form of a computerized game which flashes a series of numbers or letters on screen. The child will be given instructions to respond to certain cues and not respond to other cues. It attempts to measure the child’s ability to exercise vigilance, sustained attention and impulse control. The findings will be taken together to calculate an overall likelihood and severity of attention-related difficulties.

Can the Connor’s Continuous Performance Test alone diagnose ADHD?

No, the CPT should not be used as a standalone diagnostic test for ADHD. Instead, it plays a supporting role as a secondary tool in the diagnostic process. The clinical interview and observation by our psychiatrist or psychologist are key components of the assessment process and are most important for the diagnosis.

Are there blood tests to diagnose ADHD?

Currently, there are no blood tests that can diagnose ADHD.
Some parents may be worried about lead levels and thyroid hormones. But there is generally no need for blood tests or brain scans unless there is a strong suspicion of an underlying physical abnormality.

What other conditions may be associated with ADHD?

If left undiagnosed and untreated, a child with ADHD may develop low self-esteem and anxiety. Children with hyperactivity and/or impulsive symptoms may have difficulty following school rules and be labelled with conduct problems or oppositional defiant disorder.
ADHD with poor impulse control can lead to excessive screen time, excessive computer games, poor sleep habits and strained family relationships, all of which can be addressed by our psychiatrists or psychologists.

Besides ADHD, are there other conditions that can give rise to poor focus or hyperactivity?

Besides ADHD, our psychiatrist or psychologist will screen for other conditions such as anxiety, emotional problems, sleep difficulties, school stress, or family problems. These conditions can also affect attention and behaviour. If these issues are identified, our psychiatrist or psychologist can address them as well.
If parents need support, we may involve our family therapist to provide parental coaching and family therapy. We will work with what you are comfortable with, towards goals which we jointly set with your child.

Seek Help Today

Thank you for taking the time to read about ADHD. If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms like those mentioned, don't hesitate to reach out to our expert clinicians. Understanding, support, and proper treatment can make a significant difference in managing ADHD and improving quality of life.

Your well-being matters, and we're here to help every step of the way.

Dr Victor Kwok
Senior Consultant Psychiatrist
Private Space Medical
Dr Tay Kai Hong
Senior Consultant Psychiatrist
Private Space Medical