Counseling and Assessment Service, P.C. 319.334.6820
Home Services Staff Policies & Fees Make an Appointment

General Services

Individual Psychotherapy/Counseling
Marital and Family Counseling
Psychological Evaluations
Psychoeducational Assessments

Specialty Services

Eye Movement Desensitization Retraining
Stress Reduction Counseling

Distinguishing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) from other childhood behavioral and emotional disorders is a very important yet challenging task. Correctly diagnosing this complex disorder reduces the risk of implementing medical or psychological treatment which may be inappropriate, overlook other disorders, and/or delay more effective treatment. A careful and systematic approach by a trained and experienced diagnostician is essential. Researchers are currently in consensus that only three to five percent of children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis and that the prevalence of boys to girls is approximately three to one.

Because ADHD has from time to time received much media attention, many parents and teachers have been provided with "lists" of signs and symptoms to look for in identifying this disorder. While these articles and programs are valuable in bringing to light ADHD, a listing of behaviors characteristic of the disorder is likely to incorrectly identify large numbers of fairly normal youngsters. Providing the usual ADHD medical and psychological treatments for all children who show only some of the symptoms of this disorder would clearly be inappropriate. Therefore, it is very important for parents, teachers and others who work with children to have access to professionals and procedures for identifying only those youngsters who are actually in need of the usually prescribed ADHD treatments.

The Counseling and Assessment Service, P.C. provides services to ADHD children and their parents through Dr. George Harper, Licensed Psychologist. In his 26 years of experience in evaluating and treating children, Dr. Harper has worked with numerous physicians, parents, teachers and others in attempting to understand the behavioral and emotional problems of children. Dr. Harper emphasizes not only the assessment of the signs of ADHD but also the severity of each of the identifying characteristics. Additionally, Dr. Harper is well aware of the difficulties in evaluating youngsters whose behavior may change from one setting to the next, and of the importance of sorting out other emotional and behavioral problems which often mimic ADHD but may lead to inappropriate diagnoses and treatment.

The diagnostic procedure consists of parent and child interviews, behavioral observations, parent and teacher rating scales, carefully selected psychological tests, and a sophisticated computer measure of attention, impulsivity and reaction time. (The computerized measure can be readministered to assist the collaborating physician in verifying the actual benefit of prescribed psychoactive medication). Available developmental, medical and educational background information is quite significant and is reviewed and considered. The length and scope of the assessment procedure varies depending upon initial findings. Typically the assessment requires about two to three hours with the parents and the child. Additional time is required for scoring and interpreting tests and, when requested, for the preparation of a formal and comprehensive written report.

The written report is usually in the format of a letter to the parents in which the results of the evaluation are carefully explained and specific recommendations are made for treatment, follow-up and further evaluation, if necessary. Every effort is made to produce a report which is understandable to all parties involved with the child, with the dissemination of this report to be at the discretion of the parents via their personal distribution or signed authorization for release. Authorization for release to the referring professional is very strongly encouraged.

Individual counseling for the child with ADHD can be effective under some circumstances. If this child also functions with another disorder, such as depression or post traumatic stress disorder, counseling for these other problems may be effective and, in some cases, may even diminish the severity of the ADHD symptoms. However, counseling specifically for impulsivity and attention span difficulties is usually not effective. On the other hand, short term counseling for the parents of the ADHD child is often indicated to assist them in understanding the disorder, structuring the environment, and in effectively parenting. Dr. Harper offers this service as well as consultation and/or workshops to school personnel.
Many insurance carriers cover the initial assessment of ADHD as well as indicated and reasonable treatment. Ironically, some third party payers will cover individual counseling with the ADHD child but not professional consultation to the parents. Parents who are concerned about third party reimbursement are encouraged to contact the Counseling and Assessment Service, P.C. regarding its experience with their payer.

The Counseling and Assessment Service , P.C. welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with referring physicians as well as other involved professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of its clientele.

*Fees for school consultations and/or workshops must be negotiated individually with Dr. Harper or with Dr. Rick Jennings, Director of the Counseling and Assessment Service.


Counseling & Assessment Service

512 2nd Street NE
Independence, IA 50644

map | driving directions