ADD/ADHD Evaluation and Diagnosis
Berkeley Parents Network >
Health & Medical >
ADD/ADHD Evaluation and Diagnosis
ADHD Eval for 5-year-old - Medi-Cal?
I am looking for a great child psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician who
accepts Medi-Cal and can do a thorough assessment of my five-year-old. Any
Hi - Unlikely that you will find a good psychiatrist or behavioral
pediatrician in private practice that accepts MediCal. However, the teaching
staff at Children's Hospital in Oakland are excellent, as well as the teaching
staff/residents at Langley Porter Institute at UCSF. Both are excellent
institutions and I believe both take MediCal - likely there will be a wait to
get an appointment.
Try the Hyperactivity, Attention, and Learning Problems (HALP) Clinic at UCSF.
Ask for HALP specifically when you call: intake and referral service at
415-476-7500 or 800-723-7140 (toll free). Their comprehensive evaluation takes
several visits, and there is often a waitlist, but they take medicare/medical.
They also develop group treatments for ADHD families, and if the waitlist is
long you may be seen faster if you want to be a part of one of these
investigations. past UCSF fellow
Our son's teacher recommended that he get evaluated for
ADD/ADHD before the start of 4th grade. (He's in 3rd grade,
8 years old, very bright, etc.) His 2nd grade teacher
suggested the same but a therapist who worked with him
recommended we wait until he is 9 or 10; and his physician
said her referral tends to over-diagnose so we waited. He
won't be 9 until after 4th grade starts so we need to get
him evaluated this summer. I've seen recommendations for
Berman, etc., and wasn't too impressed with anyone, and at
this point, I am looking for a rundown on which *type* of
professional should evaluate him...an MD versus a Psych PhD
versus a clinic versus ???. The UC Berkeley study isn't
accepting anyone until next fall and I think that might be
(It's complicated by the fact that he has amblyopia and has
been patching with and without atropine drops for the last
Ideally, it would be someone who takes Anthem Blue Cross PPO
and is in the Albany/Berkeley/Oakland area.
Any ideas/experience with this? Thanks!
Willing but not sure what course to take!
We used Dr. Lane Tanner at Oakland Children's Hospital. He
is a behavioral pediatrician and he was great. Good luck! E.
We didn't have great luck finding pediatric services that
were covered by our insurance plan. We have HealthNet, so
maybe you'll have better luck on that front. We have found
excellent, if expensive, private resources. I would start
with Marianna Eraklis in Orinda,(925)254-4000. She's both a
great doctor and an empathic human being. Ann
After years of debating we are coming to a conclusion that we need
to have a behavior evaluation for our bright, smart, imaginative
6-year-old who exhibits a lot of ADHD-
like signs. He has always been a high-energy kid, requiring what
seems like an above-average level of maintenance, but we always
saw him as being just less mature. He is in 1st grade now, and the
whole school experience has been quite miserable for him, as well
as for us. The universal feedback from teachers is that he is very
smart (there are no issues with his academic progress), but he is
either not able or not willing to follow instructions and
basically he wears them out (it has gotten to a point where he's
been asked to leave the classroom on several occasions and sit in
the hallway or in the principal's office). This has been a very
demoralizing experience for him, and we are witnessing our little
guy turning from a confident, full-of-
life, imaginative boy into an anxious child with diminishing
self-esteem. So at this point we really feel that we need a help
of an experienced professional and are looking for
recommendations. Thank you!
I recommend you get a full neuropsychological evaluation with one of
the qualified psychologists in our area. Anyone who does a
comprehensive evaluation can tell you if it's a learning disorder,
ADHD, other neuropsychological processing issues, and how this is
affecting a child's feelings and thoughts about themselves. Check
into working with Terry Doyle, Jessica Lipkind, or Caroline Johnson.
They all have great reputations for doing in-depth assessments and
working closely and supportively with families.
We contacted or saw various people for evaluation of our
daughter about a year ago when she was in a similar boat and
in 1st grade. I give thanks to G_d that someone gave us the
name of Mariah Antoniadis PhD. She's a child psychologist
and she's not only brilliant, but she cuts to the chase and
actually gives you clear answers and instructions for what
to do instead of vagueness and hand-waiving. She speaks to
the whole child ( not just one slice) and will oversee care.
She's also great working with teachers/school if you want
her to do that. Her office has moved to Leimert St in
Oakland ( from Elmwood).
PS: I know so well that sadness seeing one's open/optimistic
child start to not enjoy school, so you have my support!
Ugh, I am so sorry to hear about your experience and I feel
your pain, having experienced exactly the same thing. First
of all hang in there, it'll get better. You are doing the
right thing with having him evaluated. It was an eye
opening & empowering experience for us, albeit emotional.
The hardest part was waiting not only for the evaluation
itself, but also for the results. In the meantime, be
supportive of your son.
* Dr Renee Wachtel http://www.reneecwachtelmd.com/ - I
really liked her, but for insurance reasons, we went with
* Dr. Lori Wensley, Clinical Psychologist (510)
276-6121. Dr Wensley is wonderful & really helped us to
understand our boy. After our evaluation she referred us to:
* MarRem Remington, LFMC (510) 835-4357. MarRem is
great! She treats the whole family, not just the child.
In the end we ended up with a diagnosis of Sensory
Integration/Processing Disorder & Anxiety. Check out the
Sensory Integration website
(http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/) & go through
the check list.
Also read, WHY GENDER MATTERS
http://www.whygendermatters.com/ by Dr Leonard Sax and Mel
Levine's books (http://www.allkindsofminds.org/). In
combination with the diagnosis they have really helped us
champion our son.
Right there with you....
Does anyone know of a good therapist that can provide testing for ADHD
and possible dyslexia? I don't have a lot of money, but can pay over
time/installments. How much does such testing cost? I understand that
UCB provides testing - the cost is $700 to $2,000; Clearwater Clinic
is at upper ned of that range...is that reasonable?
We were recently referred to Marianna Eraklis,MD, a behavioral
pediatrician. She came highly recommended, kids and parents both give
her good reviews (check online), and she charges $1,800 for an
evaluation - questionnaire, parent meeting, child meeting (2 hrs), and
follow up parent meeting with recommendations. We haven't met with
her yet but have talked by phone, and I felt like she addressed our
Have a very young 9th grader struggling academically and socially in public high
school. Currently being tested for suspected ADHD, and may be twice
exceptional, which masked his ADHD symptoms all these years. He is a bit nerdy,
and underweight. Waiting for puberty to kick in. The previous postings on
Berk Parents are dated. Would like to hear from other parents about what has
worked to help newly diagnosed teens thrive? Most ADHD help classes are geared
for elementary school children. (If only he had been so lucky to have been
properly diagnosed early on). Would love to hear from others what worked and
what didn't work.
- Prescription meds, if so, which, and how were the side effects?
- Alternative treatment?
- Counseling for teen? for parents?
- Skills class?
- Do you have a great doctor (psychiatrist) who ''gets'' 2e kids, if so, feel free
to share his/her name.
Thank you one and all.
Signed, New to world of ADHD teens
We had our son diagnosed with ADHD at the end of 8th grade, and are also
regretful that we waited so long. Although the school was willing to test him,
they would not (cannot) make the diagnosis. We got recommendations from our
pediatrician for a developmental pediatrician to handle the diagnosis and
treatment. We selected Marianna Eraklis, MD, in Orinda, to work with our son and
we couldn't be happier. She is really a wonderful person and doctor;
compassionate, patient, great communicator, accessible and humorous. (She even
gives out her cellphone # if you really need to speak with her.) We decided to
try medication and our son responded really well. We see her every 3 months so
he can talk with her and we have tweaked his dosage and even the actual meds. He
is so happy and grateful to be dealing with his ADHD. I know he feels a huge
relief to be feeling more alert and really able to block out outside stimulation
and focus in class. He is also more functional at home, which has really
improved our home life and decreased tensions. We all pitched in to make his
room more well organized; everything from hooks for his clothes, boards for
writing down memos, to changing and clearing his study area. He has pulled up
his grades really significantly this fall, learned to approach his teachers, and
he feels so much better about himself. We have lowered his dose recently because
he had lost quite a bit of weight. That was ok, since he was slightly pudgy
before,(he is thrilled), but Dr. Eraklis thought he could be less stimulated, so
we are now working with another, non-stimulating med, which seems really good. I
only wish we had done this sooner! We are all much happier.
P.S. We all read a couple different books, one by a kid with ADHD, and my
husband and I read a couple for parents, which were helpful. (Browse the
bookstore or Amazon.)
Her contact info: Dr. Marianna Eraklis db pediatrics 925-254-4000
Happier mom and kid
As the mother of a child with ADHD, I suggest you contact
Dr. Mariana Eraklis
(Orinda). She will be able to diagnose your child and recommend a course of
action - including services that need to be provided by the school, outside
services that may be helpful, and medication, if appropriate. I see you have
asked for specific recommendations regarding medication. I would urge you to
disregard any specific recommendations you receive. There is no magic bullet
that works for each kid. Dr. Eraklis can explain to you how each of the drugs
out there works. Unfortunately, medication is a trial and error process. It
took us a long time to figure out what works for our kid - but some people
have success right away.
Lastly - don't beat yourself up about not having an accurate diagnosis in
years gone by. Many people are not diagnosed with ADHD until they are
adults! You are ahead of the curve.
My son is suddenly undone by lack of ability to manage his attention as the
work load has increased in HIgh School. Who do you recommend to diagnose
and help decide whether medication is the answer? Who can oversee managing
this with alternatives to medication?
My son had a similar situation when he hit high school.
He is smart and articulate and did very well when he had
teachers who knew him. But, once in high school with a
new teacher for each subject, his inability to manage time
and concentrate became very evident.
We saw Dr. Alan Siegel on Alcatraz in Oakland, phone 510-
527-7929. He was wonderful with my son and utterly
professional. The full battery of tests were completed
and he gave a very detailed report on specific issues and
recommendations for treatment. It was well worth the time
(several sessions of testing) and expense to have a full
report with recommendations on how to address the issues.
Through trial and error we tried several medicines and
enrolled him in organizational and time management
programs. It took us years to realize that my son was
integral to becoming successful. With all we could offer,
he still had to stop denying the situation and take charge
to find the work-arounds that fit for him and could make
his life easier. (Really, we all do this whether we have
ADD or not.)
As parents we tried our darndest to hand him the help. I
think one of our mistakes was to try too hard to do for
him and not share the issues in the report. Once he saw
the report (at age 20 when new testing was needed to keep
him covered by the Disabled Students Services at college),
so many things fell into place for him.
I hope your son's road is easier and with fewer bumps for
all of you. My son is now 24 and is truly enjoying his
life -- without meds.
This is for the person who wrote some time back wanting advice about her
ADD teen and also a recommendation for an occupational therapist. For an
occupational therapist, I highly recommend Kristine Hubner-Levin at 510-
331-3401 or 925-254-1137. We used her several years ago and she was
phenomenal. As for the ADD teen, this is such a gigantic topic with so many
subtopics, I don't know where to begin and don't have any magic answers,
but just know you are absolutely not alone and this is hard and super
frustrating for many many parents, not to mention the kids. I recommend
reading Driven to Distraction by Hallowell and Ratey, if you haven't yet.
We're looking for a local child psychologist/psychiatrist with
experience in diagnosing ADD. Our 6th grade daughter has seen 4
therapists in other cities for a variety of ''symptoms'' but no
one has suggested ADD. After doing my own research I think it
highly likely she has ADD. Now in 6th grade her self esteem is
suffering from her forgetfulness, distractedness, day-dreaming
and mental confusion. It's been so many years of watching her
symptoms with no relief from talk therapy- one therapist said
''oh no it could not be ADD and anyway that's too hard to
accurately diagnose with most kids unless the teacher makes
enough negative comments. But your daughter behaves well in class
so it could not be ADD.''
Help! We just want to discuss her symptoms with someone who
really knows ADD in girls.
Wow, I am surprised to hear this. Girls can have a subtype of ADD
called ''ADHD-inattentive type'' - and it is exactly what you are
describing - the daydreaming - but since they are generally cooperative
and not hyperactive they don't fit the mold. If I were in your shoes,
I would go the Dr. Ned Hallowell's clinic in San Diego. They are the
best, the kindest people. Read Hallowell's books. The important thing
is that he looks upon ADD as a gift, and wants the kids and parents to
consider their job to 'unwrap' the gift. Much better than
pathologizing the child and listing all the ways they don't fit it.
You can also listen to some excellent short podcasts of his at
So I would follow Hallowell's whole approach if I were in your shoes.
The other thing you need to research and consider: your daughter might
also have ''executive functioning'' impairment of some sort - the
ability to plan, prioritize, problems with the passage of time, messy,
does homework but doesn't turn it in, etc. Start attending lectures
and doing some internet reading. They need help in their metacognition
(thinking about thinking) and often need explicit instruction in social
cues. Try speech and language therapist Kris Neugebauer in Alameda.
The main thing for you to know is that this is NOT willful behavior on
her part and she can't just ''TRY'' harder. Try to change the way she
is perceived - like she is the problem. No matter how tempting don't
buy into that. Be her champion. Be open to medication (it is very low
risk and you can just do a trial to see if it helps) and other
therapies which are looking good - eg neurofeedback. Good luck and be
Dr. Steven Sturges MD is an expert on ADD, besides specializing in the
prescription of drugs for ADD as a psycho pharmacologist, he is also a
caring and sensitive therapist with an in depth knowledge of the field.
He is particularly experienced with adolescent patients and would be
well suited for this type of diagnosis. He practices in Berkeley.
Clearwater, in Oakland, specializes in psychological assessment for
children, and our rates are very competitive. ADD assessments can
include a school observation as well. We also have an educational
therapist on staff. Call 596-8137 or visit our website:
www.clearwaterclinic.com for more information.
Sally Francis, Ph.D.
Regarding Honors student can't stay focused on homework, Woud you please help with these questions:
- How can I get son tested for ADHD? He also has difficulty
retaining the information that he learned/studied for,
especially in Math and Science.
- We live in Cupertino, CA, is there a similiar organization
as http://www.sos4students.com/ in our area?
Thank you for your help in advance
Your physician is the only one who can diagnose ADHD
because it is considered a medical condition. Your son
should also be tested for learning capabilities by your
school district. If you make a request to the district
testing office, they MUST (by law) test your child per
your instructions. Good Luck!
Two routes. To privately evaluate your son there is Plus Four Solutions
in Los Altos with Dr. Steve Newton. Or, you could talk to your school
counselor about having your son evaluated by the school. (I believe the Cupertino
school district does this free of charge but talk to your son first about whether he's
comfortable being evaluated while at school.)
Mom of ADD kid
I have read most of the posts and recommendations for
pediatric psychiatrists and evaluators for ADD. It looks like
most of the psychiatrists and evaluators for ADD are private -
out of pocket pay (not under HMO's or insurance) AND they are
expensive and they have long waiting lists. The HMO's and MD's
covered by insurances tend to have to whip through diagnosing
and testing and may miss a lot of significant information.
My question is this:
Once you have seen a private physician and if his diagnosis
seems correct and his recommended treatment - whether it is
medication or not, is indeed helping the child - do you have
any problems taking this diagnosis from the private physician
to you child's primary care physician or a doctor within your
HMO or insurance and saying - look here's what this MD did and
this is what he prescribed and it works, we want to continue it.
Or do they now send you again through their merry-go-round of
lightning speed testing and make you live with their
diagnosis or continue to pay high out of pocket fees to the
I think Kaiser
does a nice job of handling ADHD once you find a primary
care pediatrician who specializes in the medications.
There's usually one pediatrician at each facility who sees the ADD kids
and knows about the meds. I don't see why they'd want to re-diagnose
your child. If you come in with diabetes they don't do that.
I have Kaiser and an EPO plan and we go to non-Kaiser doctors for the
rare diseases we seem to have in our family but we use Kaiser for all
our ADHD needs with great success.
I'd like advice from parents who have had their child worked up
for ADD by a practitioner who specializes in ADD diagnosis and
treatment. Has anyone had a good experience? Also does anyone
have any recommendations regarding Children's Hospital ADD
clinic, The Amen clinic or Dr.Josephine Lindt? I've checked the
archives and need more specific information. Also,ADD runs in
our family and I think I may be affected. Any experience with
specialists for adults? I checked with CHADD and they weren't
very helpful. Thanks!
ADD mom and child
ADD evaluation: Dr. Brad Berman in Walnut Creek.
Excellent, expensive, takes a while to get in his office.
mom with son with ADHD
My advice (of course based on past experience) is NOT to go
directly to the pediatrician (or in Berman's case, developmental
pediatrician). Educational testers like the Ann Martin Center
and A Learning Place, both in Oakland, cast a wide net and look
for much broader possibilities than just ADD. After my son's
teacher told us to get him tested for ADD we almost went the
medical route. The broader testing really suggested to us that
his issues were much more subtle, and the tutoring he's gotten
since has been invaluable.
I just had a conversation with my son's teacher which has led me to seek
testing for ADD for him. My insurance (Health Net with Insight as their
mental health providers) has given me four names of Drs. he can go to
and have told me there are additional names and I should start with
those. I've looked on the parent's site and one of the Dr.s that comes
highly recommended, Dr. Brad Berman, is not one of their providers. Can
anyone give me an opinion on any of the following doctors - past
experiences, hearsay, whatever and/or recommend other Drs that are
providers for Health Net and Inshight? Specifically my son presents
symptoms more often associated with girls - such as distractability and
innatentiveness among other things. He does not present hyperactivity in
it's more traditional forms. Also, can anyone recommend what questions I
should ask and what tests should be done? Thanks.
I have not heard of the doctors you have listed (and I work in the field).
is very good. I have heard that Dr. Landman may be too quick to give the
Diller in W.C. wrote a very interesting book called Running with Ritalin.
He is more
cautious about medication, even though he speaks of the value for some
Parker is very good (if she still takes new patients). It's important that any
evaluation be done by gathering information from teachers and parents. Also
a complete history with the parents is essential. It is often difficult to
ADHD (inattentive type) from Learning Disabilities. The school can do
testing to help
with that.(Put your request in writing). There are no tests that are done
to make the
diagnosis of ADHD, so it takes someone with experience who knows how to
talk with parents
(and listen), and who will do some simple educational screening tests with
people will use a CBCL form for the adults to fill out to gather
are various types of reporting forms.
I have seen many children have a great deal of success on
medication,(including inattentive type)
often after they have tried other things. When the diagnosis is made with
attention and care, and
the situation is evaluated, medication can mean the difference between
functioning well or failing
and feeling dumb, different, or not liked. I was resistant to medications
until recently, and it
has made a big difference in my ability to start a task and actually finish
it. It's like getting
glasses and being able to focus in a new way.
I suggest you do as much reading as you can (go on-line an type in ADHD),
and talk with other
parents. Children with ADHD need to be understood, coached, and guided.
Kaiser Richmond does free classes for parents, and I hear that they are
open to anyone.
We are looking into having our son evaluated---for possible ADHD,
and any other learning disabilities or whatever. Is there anyone
out there who has traveled this path and can help me find the
right resources? Our son will be 5 next week, and will start
Kindergarten in Berkeley in the fall.
We saw Dr. Brad Berman (a developmental/behavioral pediatrician)
last year, and we are scheduled to see him again in February. But
I am interested in learning more about what's out there, and what
sorts of testing we ought to be doing. We will probably need a
Can anyone help?
For people concerned about learning disorders, hopefully they
have had their child's vision checked out. Our binocular vision clinic at
UC deals with lots and lots of children who have trouble learning because
they are not able to see correctly.
Barbara, School of Optometry
I too have been through the ADHD testing and diagnosis. I'll tell my story as an example of a child who needed something
My son, Matt, was diagnosed with ADD and prescribed Ritalin in the 3rd
grade. His behavior had become so impulsive and dangerous that my husband
and I were scared of what he might do next. I was advised to have him
tested for learning disabilities because of his reluctance to read and do
homework even with our help. So the first thing I did was request testing
from the School District Psychologist. Matt was put on a waiting list and
tested four months later. The psychologist defined the problem as a
short-term auditory memory disability combined with an anxious personality.
Matt qualified for the Resource Specialist Program and Title I funding
which requires the district to provide him with an individualized educ
program geared toward his needs. Since January of 1996 he has been going
to a special "quiet" classroom every afternoon with a group of five other
children to practice reading, spelling and writing.
I am so happy and proud to say that he has improved incredibly this year.
Not only academically but emotionally and socially as well. He is on the
honor roll. He can read and chooses to do it. He does his homework. He
cries less than he used to. He is managing his insomnia. He stopped
fighting. He has made friends and has a stronger sense of self than ever
I think the key is finding what is at the root of the individual's problem.
If you find the cause it may be possible to change the behavior that is a
result of the problem. Resources I used in my quest for answers were: the
web ADD site, the library (books on ADHD, learning disabilities,
personality traits, child development, stress, discipline, etc.), other
people who have experienced similar problems with their children or
themselves, tutoring, family counseling, support groups, the UCB vision
clinic, you name it. It took time, energy and patience to figure it out
but it was worth it.
I joined a local chapter of CHAD when my son first diagnosed with
ADD. My husband and I attended several CHAD meetings, seminars and the
like and found them very informative and helpful.
Please note however that there was a huge 20/20 type TV show that
addressed the fact that CHAD is primarily funded by the pharmaceutical
company that makes Ritalin. Ouch !! Many local chapters including ours
pulled out from National Headquarters because of it.
I tend think that any "active" kid has a good chance of being labeled
ADD/ADHD, even with the consensus of both a pediatrician and
psychologist, as was the case with our son. (Of course we all know of
"extreme situations, that are truly valid and must be horrible). We
were warned that when the harmones start to kick in, esp. with boys
and a bit of maturity develops, the activitity level lessens
considerably; as is the case with our son.
Good luck to the Digest Member
this page was last updated: May 17, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network