Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers rolls out new ADHD testing method

Uses visual, auditory tests to measure attention and self-control

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Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers rolled out a new testing method to diagnose Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, in patients at its Waukesha location last week.

The organization received a grant from the Waukesha Community Foundation to begin testing adults and children for ADHD using a method called Test of Variables of Attention, TOVA, which measures attention and self-control in patients using visual and auditory tests.

“Before TOVA, we had to refer patients (and) clients off site, and their wait could be up to six months,” said clinic manager Kerri Ackerman. “On several occasions, we also had adults who’d been on ADHD medication for years, yet were never officially tested. Our providers wanted to verify the clients were still in need of the same medication or the same dosage, but were faced with the delay of getting test results.”

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Other testing methods in the past relied heavily on self-reported symptoms and anecdotal evidence, according to a statement released by Sixteenth Street. TOVA uses its tests to measure response times, impulse control, focus and vigilance in patients.

The health center system is hoping the new testing method will reduce wait times for patients who are tested and reduce reliance on medication.

“We’re very excited to offer this service because we’ve discovered there’s a real scarcity of resources in Waukesha County to assess for and treat ADHD,” Ackerman said.

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