Format for ADD screening?

The disclaimer - this is my first post to this site, so if I'm not doing this the right way or in the right place please steer me to the proper forum/format.

The short version: my husband was given a screening test for ADD that came back negative. I have not been able to find this testing method listed anywhere and would really like more information about it and its accuracy.

The long version: my husband was encouraged to investigate the possibility of having ADD by his counselor. It had been suggested years previously by a friend who is also a clinician, and by me, (not a clinician!) but he was not receptive to the idea until his current counselor suggested it and I pushed for it. His family, friends and co-workers filled out assessment forms and he completed his own. They supported a diagnosis of ADD. When my husband went to his primary care physician with this information the doctor (an internist) wanted to do more screening. My husband went somewhere, he was pretty vague about the particulars, and was tested by typing series of numbers he was shown. I can't be more specific because that's all the information I have from him about the process.

Much to his relief, he passed with flying colors! If they had asked him to find his keys, wallet, glasses, or phone, the results would have been very different. But he was a computer programmer for years and he loves working with strings of characters. Of course he did well. In my experience, this test hardly addresses the challenges and obstacles he and I deal with on a daily basis.

As much as my husband was relieved, I was disappointed. It's a touchy subject so I don't want to try and discuss other testing options with him if this is in fact a valid assessment. Are any of you familiar with this assessment, and more importantly, do you have confidence in its ability to screen for ADD?

ADD screening comment

I have never heard of the test you describe.  When my BFwADD was diagnosed he was asked to fill out a long questionnaire and give his personal history.  It seemed to go exactly what they described in the ADD books.  He had symptoms as a kid and the therapist specifically asked about that. 

It sounds like your husband had a bogus test.  It's maddening, isn't it?

Since your H was vague about

Since your H was vague about the test and it sounds like he went somewhere other than who he saw that gave himt he forms I'm wondering if he shared that information with the person who did the 'screening test'.  My son goes to a center and they did a test which may be the one he had, sorry i don't recall what it was called,  they don't use this test to determine ADD or not but its just another piece to the diagnoses. Since my son was diagnosed many years ago and is taking meds when I said i think they weren't as effective as they used to be they had him take this test. basically it measures your ability to focus. something (a number) is flashed on the screen for a split second and you type what you saw, over and over, and then it measure how many you got right/wrong, and compares it to what the 'average' persons response is.  For my son it clearly showed his focus was well below the 'norm'.  If this is the same screening test your husband had and he is goog with numbers, focusing, quick response it may very well have shown a normal range, but that test in and of itself should not be used as a measure for ADD alone. 

Thanks for the input

I appreciate the comments and the confirmation that this was a nonstandard assessment. I've encouraged my husband to check into some of the resources on this site with hopes that he will be willing to pursue further testing and treatment.

I find it hard to believe

I find it hard to believe that anyone can be diagnosed through a series of responses based on numbers or calculations... it might have been a test for his intelligence quotient (I.Q.)? That would certainly not evaluate ADD. When my child was diagnosed with autism however, many medical professionals would ask, "what does his father do for a living? Is it in computers?" Take that for what it's worth... I had the feeling the professionals were already in the know looking at correlations between the different levels of spectrum disorders and the type of prevalent interest (computers, engineering, mathematics, etc) among family members.

I think a reliable test would involve an extended behavioral/psychological questionnaire involving reaction to scenarios that will invite a honest response in the patient and not rely on answers that a patient might make up to appear neuro-typical. Better yet, followed with a questionnaire for each family member and/or counselor so that there is a more comprehensive interpretation of where one person stands in relation to the rest. I do not know if a system like this exists, other than the ones I participate in for our child's individualized education program.

When my husband was evaluated

When my husband was evaluated for ADHD, he filled out a questionnaire asking about typical behaviors and feelings, and he brought one home for me to fill out, too (I was evaluating his behaviors, not my own).

That is good to know, thank

That is good to know, thank you. DH's appt, after a few postponements, is set to happen in three weeks. I will keep an ear open to what dh will be introduced to. I want so much to be in the room but I won't be, just in the waiting room to lend support. I think it would be important to have a discussion with the doctor myself but I will wait until the tests and evaluation results for dh are back.

"Typical elements in a

"Typical elements in a diagnostic evaluation," from the book Taking Charge of Adult ADHD:

Collection of rating scales and referral information before or during the evaluation; an interview with the patient or client; a review of previous records that might document the impairments; psychological testing to rule out general cognitive delay or learning disabilities; interviews with other people who know the patient well to corroborate the patient's reports; a general medical examination when medication might be part of treatment or coexisting medical conditions need to be evaluated


My X once told me he needed me in the room with his therapist to "keep him honest." When he went to the dr. for ADHD meds, I went in with him, and the dr. frequently looked to me to answer some of his questions when X would just stare at him like he didn't know the answer. After meds, the dr. needed me to evaluate how they were working. X didn't realize how mean and aggressive he became on one med.

If you are not there, I would bet the interview will be totally different than what you are expecting. I'd do everything possible to be included -- after all, you are his wife and this DOES affect you tremendously. You could still be quiet and supportive, but ADHDers frequently don't see their own shortcomings -- they are not always known for introspection or a clear sense of what is going on in their heads.

Great Information

Thanks for the additional information. It really confirms my suspicion that whatever my husband was evaluated for, it didn't have much validity screening ADD.

The test

I'll just follow up to say the tests turned out to be Conners Continuous Performance Test II and the Vigil. I've found a variety of opinions regarding their effectiveness for diagnosis.