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Psychological Assessment Services

The University Counseling Center (UCC) has professionals available to provide assessment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disorders (LD), and other concerns affecting cognition and academic performance. We offer a weekly group workshop series and individual psychotherapy to address issues related to learning and attention problems. The UCC also offers ongoing management of pharmacological treatment of ADHD, for students with a diagnosis confirmed by previous psychological evaluation report. If you are interested in receiving a psychological evaluation at the UCC, you must first contact the Office of Student Care Coordination (OSCC) to facilitate the referral. For students with an established UCC provider, please discuss a referral with your provider. If you would prefer to work with a community provider who does psychological assessments and is familiar with UCC documentation requirements, please contact the OSCC for assistance with a referral.

COVID 19 Statement:  Our ongoing commitment to Anchor Down and Mask Up to protect your health

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated that assessment protocols at the University Counseling Center (UCC) be revised to ensure the safety of students, providers, and the campus community. While physical distancing and limiting time together in enclosed spaces are primary recommendations in preventing the spread of COVID-19, these practices pose some unique challenges in the case of psychological assessments. These assessments can require 2 to 8 or more hours for completion, and due to professional ethics guidelines, certain components are not well-suited for a remote administration format. (See American Psychological Association statement for further details.) The UCC Assessment team has worked diligently to research ever-evolving best practices and has resumed offering limited assessment services for Vanderbilt students.

Comprehensive Psychological Evaluation

Students concerned about a possible learning disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or other cognitive impairment, are encouraged to contact OSCC to schedule a consultation meeting with Dr. Bell or Dr. Niarhos.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Evaluation

The ADHD evaluation protocol at the UCC includes both remote and in-clinic assessment components. The evaluation process is described in detail below:

Before your first appointment

  • Once a student referral is received, the student will be contacted by the UCC assessment coordinator via email and assessment fees and procedures will be outlined.
  • Students with concerns about ability to pay the assessment fee can contact the Office of Student Care Coordination (OSCC) and apply for a fee waiver.
  • After the assessment fee has been paid (or UCC receives notification of fee-waiver approval), you will need to sign two Consent for Release of Information forms granting permission to allow other informants to participate in your assessment process. A persistent pattern of signs and symptoms as a child is essential for a diagnosis of adult ADHD. Therefore, evaluations for ADHD include collecting information from a parent or other adult who has known you well since early childhood. Parent report is helpful in providing important evidence of early impairment from symptoms. ADHD evaluations at the UCC also include collecting information from an adult who knows you currently (roommate, partner, family member, or close friend) to provide evidence of current impairment from symptoms.
  • Once Release of Information consent forms have been received, three questionnaires will be sent electronically to the designated recipients via the RedCap system.

Remote Clinical Interview Appointment 

When all questionnaires have been completed and returned, you will be scheduled for a one-hour teleconferencing session (i.e., Zoom). A comprehensive diagnostic interview will be performed to review the evidence for ADHD and consider whether your symptoms may be caused or worsened by something other than ADHD. Several mental and physical health conditions can mimic or coexist with ADHD, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, adjustment disorders, and learning disorders. Alcohol and other drug use can also cause ADHD-like symptoms and/or coexist with ADHD. Evidence for these other disorders is also assessed during the ADHD Evaluation.

Testing Appointment at the UCC

  • After your interview, you will be scheduled to come into the UCC for completion of two computer-based tasks. Both the student and clinician must wear masks and/or other face coverings during the assessment.  The computer will be set up prior to the student’s arrival to minimize face-to-face contact during this interaction.  Detailed instructions are provided during the computer-based administration of these tasks, and the clinician will remotely monitor the student during test administration via in-room cameras.  This session will last approximately one hour.  Once completed, the clinician will briefly review the resulting data to ensure adequate, valid data was collected.  If not, alternative testing measures may then be administered.  This may require an additional 30 minutes for completion.  In total, the student can expect to spend 60-90 minutes in the clinic, with only minimal contact with the clinician.  Again, both the student and the clinician will wear masks and/or other face coverings.  Computer and table surfaces will be sanitized prior to and after use.

Remote Follow-Up Appointment

  • A teleconferencing session to discuss testing results and recommendations will be scheduled approximately two weeks after all assessment data has been collected. A copy of the interpretive report will be provided to you electronically via OneDrive or you can opt to return to the UCC to obtain a hardcopy of the report.

Medication Management of ADHD at the UCC

If a diagnosis of ADHD is made or confirmed, you will be referred to a UCC medical provider. The decision of whether or not to medicate and what kind of medication to use will be made by you and your treating provider. Once a decision is made for treatment with stimulant medication, students will receive prescriptions in no more than 30 day amounts. In order to receive a refill, the student must return for a medication assessment every 30 days unless otherwise indicated. Note that not all students respond to stimulant medication and that for some students, other medications for ADHD are more appropriate and effective.

Incoming Students with Previous Diagnosis

  • If you are currently receiving stimulant medication for ADHD and plan to have the medical providers at the UCC prescribe, you must provide the complete test report documenting the diagnosis of ADHD. This should include educational or psychological testing results. In addition to the complete test report, you should provide a summary of treatment recommendations.
  • If your educational or psychological test report is not immediately available, UCC providers may prescribe one month of stimulant medication pending receipt of the test report.  In these instances, the UCC will request your consent to speak with a parent/guardian and the provider who made the initial diagnosis to confirm the following:
    • Developmental history consistent with ADHD
    • Confirmation that testing has been done and is consistent with ADHD

What if I have not undergone psychological or educational testing?

In the absence of previous psychological or educational testing there are the following options:

  • If a diagnosis was made by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist prior to 18 years of age:
    • You should provide a summary of treatment recommendations from the provider who made the initial diagnosis. All records should be provided to the Office of Student Care Coordination (OSCC).
    • Written consent should be provided for the UCC provider to talk with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis.
    • Written consent should be provided for the UCC provider to obtain developmental history from parent/ guardian.
  • If you were not assessed/treated by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, you may need to undergo an ADHD diagnostic evaluation the UCC.