Psychological evaluations for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) usually depend on observations and information provided by patients and their families, caretakers, and teachers.
But when your child’s challenges suggest they have ADHD, the THINK Neurology for Kids team has a better screening tool: the QbTest®.
The QbTest is a computerized diagnostic tool that objectively measures the three core symptoms of ADHD, inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, using a simple computer-based test appropriate for children age six and older.
Here’s what you should know about what happens during your child’s QbTest and what to expect when it’s finished.
During a QbTest
The QbTest is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to measure your child’s ability to attend to a stimulus and stop impulsive movement. At the same time, it measures their activity level. Here’s how it works.
Your child wears a headband with a reflective ball in the center of their forehead. Then they sit in front of a computer monitor. During the test, the computer screen randomly displays symbols. Your child only pushes a button on a handheld device when the targeted symbol appears.
This part of the test measures their ability to attend to the task while also stopping impulsively pushing the button while the screen is blank or the targeted object isn’t present.
An infrared camera tracks the reflective ball on their headband, picking up movement while your child takes the test. The movement accurately reflects the third core symptom of ADHD, hyperactivity.
The test, which takes 20-30 minutes, doesn’t require them to use a computer keyboard. Their ability to perform also doesn’t depend on language, reading, or math skills. As a result, the QbTest accurately assesses ADHD symptoms in children of all abilities.
How is a QbTest performed? The test is performed in front of a computer screen. The test equipment consists of an infrared camera, a headband with a reflective marker attached to it and a response button. During the test many symbols are shown on the computer screen. The task is to push the responder button when a certain symbol appears on the screen.
After your child finishes the QbTest, the computer generates a report. After we have the report, discuss it with you and explain what it means for your child’s diagnosis and treatment.
One part of the report is an activity graph. The graph has one horizontal and one vertical line, creating four equal quadrants. Where the lines intersect (in the center of the four quadrants) represents your child’s head when they’re looking straight at the monitor, focusing on the test, and not moving around.
As the camera picks up head movement, it’s recorded as lines moving around the center of the graph. In children who don’t have ADHD, the graph records movement lines that stay close to the center. By comparison, the graph for children with ADHD indicates their hyperactivity with squiggly lines reaching far beyond the center of the graph.
The QbTest report also includes an attention and impulse control graph showing correct and incorrect button pushes, the number of times they didn’t respond, and their reaction time. Your child’s score is compared to other children of the same age, reflecting how different they are from their peers.
While the activity graph creates a visual you can immediately interpret, the attention and impulse control graph requires more explanation to ensure you understand your child’s results.
After the QbTest
We may use the QbTest at your child’s initial visit to help diagnose or rule out ADHD. The test also reveals the severity of their inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. This helps us better understand the challenges they face and guides treatment decisions.
Based on the results of the QbTest, we can recommend medication, behavioral therapy, or a full neurological workup. This could include additional testing, such as MRI, EEG, genetic testing, etc. We also give parents tips and guidance for dealing with ADHD challenges at home. Based on the test results, we know if your child’s treatment and home support need to focus on one, two, or all three core symptoms.
We may also periodically repeat the test to learn how much their symptoms have improved after being on treatment.
To learn more about the QbTest and how it can guide your child’s diagnosis and treatment, request an appointment online or call the nearest THINK Neurology for Kids office today. They welcome patients in three locations, The Woodlands, Katy, Sugarland, and Lakeway, Texas.