AUSTIN -- Roughly one in 10 children under the age of 17 suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD can also affect adults. However, there's been no objective way to measure the disorder until now.
Kyle is 10 years old now, but at 3, he started exhibiting some symptoms his mom, Erika Van Mastright, had already seen play out in her oldest son.
“He was very inattentive. [There was] hyperactivity,” she said. “Of course, children are active, but to a point.”
Van Mastright said Kyle exhibited all the symptoms of ADHD.
“Can you stay focused on coloring for a little while, not two minutes?” said Van Mastright. “Can you watch a movie and just sit down and not be bouncing off the walls? Forget it. Forget it, because they’re just so busy with other stuff that they forget what you told them. [They'll ask,] ‘What did you tell me again?’ because their mind is going everywhere.”
Brain scans have shown the frontal and temporal lobes in the cortex, important for memory and controlling behavior, generally develop more slowly in children with ADHD. Furthermore, the networks that allow for certain tasks are often disrupted.
Dr. Arti Lal a pediatrician at the Scott and White Cedar Park West Clinic in North Austin has begun using the Quotient ADHD Test. It provides computerized, documented measurement of hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention by requiring patients to respond only to certain shapes.
“This helps us close the loop on the diagnosis of ADHD,” said Lal.
Lal said it’s the first objective form of measurement. She said it meshes perfectly with the subjective information gathered in clinical visits and questionnaires. The test's computer readouts give doctors and parents a better idea of what areas to focus on in ADHD.
"It’s so easy to understand,” said Mastright. “Wow. I did not know this about him. I knew he was impulsive, because all ADHD children are impulsive, but to what degree?”
Even Kyle said he is excited about the possibility of living life less distracted.
“Maybe I could focus better and be more still and not get off track a lot,” he said.
The Quotient Test is FDA approved and covered by most insurance. Go here to learn more about the Quotient Test.