Strengths based ADHD Assessments 

November 2022 

Alyson Hollway 
Registered Occupational Psychologist with the Health Care Professions Council and Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society: 
ADHD is a neurotype which often shows up in people as passion, creativity, energy, and intuition. ADHD also impacts attention, concentration, and ability to control impulses.  People diagnosed or who identify as ADHD can often see connections between ideas, work at great intensity, (known as hyper-focus) and read a room instinctively yet may find day to day challenges such as getting organised, being on time, following instructions and focusing much more challenging.   
There are three types of ADHD: Inattentive; Impulsive / Hyperactive or a combination of both. Each impact behaviour in different ways.  Impulsive and hyperactive behaviour may be easier to spot, yet inattentive ADHD behaviours are not so easily detected, which may be one explanation for why ADHD in women and girls has been under recognised until recently. 
This article explains more about this idea: “Rising ADHD diagnosis amongst women are not a trend. It’s healthcare playing catch up”. 

Having an ADHD assessment can be lifechanging. It can help you gain clarity over how your brain works and why there is such a difference between your strengths and challenges. It can help explain any frustrations you may have had about why you can do some things and not others, and lead to greater self-awareness and self-compassion. This can then be a foundation for further treatment or personal development, be it medication or coaching or a combination of both. 
An ADHD assessment by an Occupational Psychologist can also help you understand what support you need to thrive in education or at work. It provides the information your education provider or employer may need to support you to perform at your best and help you achieve your potential. 

Being Assessed for ADHD 

Before an assessment takes place, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire to find out about: 

  • your development in childhood  
  • your physical and mental health  
  • your experience in education
  • what is currently going well for you and what you consider your strengths 
  • what difficulties you are having and what you consider to be your personal challenges. 

You’ll also be asked about your best hopes for the assessment. 
All of this information will be reviewed so that, in the next part of the assessment, the correct tests and approach can be taken. We know that people often have traits or characteristics of overlapping neurotypes including ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. Our approach is to provide a strengths-based holistic assessment to clarify your neurotype, explain what that means for you, to highlight your strengths and to make recommendations for further assessment, support, or intervention if that is what you need. 

The main part of the assessment takes place via a confidential video meeting such as ZOOM or MS Teams. 

During the assessment, we will discuss your questionnaire in detail and then you will be guided through some structured tasks. These look at your different thinking skills, including your verbal ability, your problem-solving skills, your speed of information processing and your memory.  All this enables us to create your individual cognitive profile.  
You’ll then be guided through a detailed questionnaire asking about your attention and your energy and your impulses. 
Once all this information is gathered, your assessor will explain what your profile means, and help you to understand your unique strengths and difficulties. People often find this aspect of the assessment very powerful. Your assessor will be able to confirm whether you meet the criteria for ADHD and will explain which type you have. This could be inattentive, hyperactive / impulsive or a combination. 
You can then be referred to a psychiatrist for a consultation to medically confirm the diagnosis and to explore options for medication and treatment plans if you wish. Some people choose to work with a specialist coach to develop their coping strategies, others choose medication and coaching in combination.

How to get an assessment 

You can contact your GP and be referred to the NHS for an assessment for ADHD. This may be a medical diagnosis and may not provide a cognitive assessment of your strengths and support needs. 

You can approach an independent psychologist or psychiatrist directly. You can find a directory of chartered psychologists on the British Psychological Society’s website. Bear in mind that assessment practices may vary from that described here. 

You can also contact a range of ADHD assessment and support organisations to arrange your assessment. 

Alyson has worked with Creased Puddle assessing and coaching clients and working along side several consultancy projects.  The benefit to our clients of Partners such as Alyson means we can always bring in new expertise and a different view. 

Alyson Hollway is a Registered and Chartered Occupational Psychologist. She has worked in disability, diversity, and inclusion for over 20 years, specialising in neurodiversity over the last seven. Alyson takes a strengths-based approach to assessment. This enables clients to truly understand their personal neurodivergent profile, so that they come away from their assessment confident in the strengths they have and knowing what support they can request. 

Alyson runs her own highly successful Psychology, Coaching and Consulting practice, and we are delighted to have her working with our clients at Creased Puddle.