Specialized ADHD clinic opens on campus

By Chelsie Field

Maria Uminski/Collegian

A specialized clinic for children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) opened Oct.1 at the University of Massachusetts Psychological Services Center. The clinic aims to provide fast and effective ADHD assessments.

Associate professor of psychology and the clinic’s Director of Assessment Rebecca Ready views the clinic’s opening as a step forward in making the assessment process more efficient.

“There was a great need on campus and in the community for accurate services for ADHD,” Ready said. “It’s a difficult disorder to diagnose, but it’s a prevalent disorder.”

In Massachusetts, 9.8 percent of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data shows diagnoses in other parts of the United States range from a high of 15.6 percent in North Carolina to a low of 5.6 percent in Nevada.

The process of ADHD evaluation includes questionnaires, an interview and cognitive testing, Ready said. The clinic serves people 4 years of age and older. Ready said the clinic sees mostly school-age children and young adults.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are three subtypes of ADHD: hyperactive-impulsive, inattentive, and combined hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive. An ADHD diagnosis requires that a person presents six or more symptoms that fall under one of these subtypes.

Inattentiveness can make it difficult for students to focus on their school work, both in elementary school and college.

“Persons with ADHD are often eligible for accommodations in academic settings,” Ready said.

Ready estimates that half of the people visiting the clinic are UMass students, but services are available to non-students as well.

“We hope having a specialized ADHD clinic will allow us to more effectively reach out and serve the campus and the outside community,” Ready said. “It’s a community mental health center even though it’s on campus.”

This clinic will bring an increase in visibility to the center in terms of services, Ready said, adding that she expects an increase in patient traffic with the clinic’s opening.

Because of the new model of management and new procedures the clinic is using, Ready said ADHD assessment will be faster and more effective than it has ever been there.

A packet of information will be sent to the patient to fill out, Ready said. The packet is then mailed back in the provided envelope and an appointment is scheduled. The actual ADHD assessment takes three to four hours, and everything will be completed in one day.

“We hope in launching this clinic that we have streamlined the process … and that the report will be complete in two weeks,” Ready said.

Psychological services is located in suite 123 of Tobin Hall and free parking is available. For information about the center or its ADHD clinic, call 545-0041.

Chelsie Field can be reached at [email protected]. David Barnstone can be reached at [email protected]