Though specific amounts will differ, many people need an idea as to what to expect when it comes to the cost of an ADHD evaluation for themselves or another person in their care, such as a child.
So, how much does an ADHD evaluation cost? The minimal average price is $295-$375 and a comprehensive evaluation could run you $3,700-$4,500. In this article, we will go over the cost of an ADHD evaluation, factors that can influence the cost, and what to expect during an ADHD evaluation.
Lastly, we will address who can give an ADHD evaluation and how to find an ADHD evaluation at a lower cost.
What Goes Into The ADHD Evaluation Cost?
The cost of an ADHD evaluation depends largely on who provides it, your location, and how long it takes. For example, if you get a diagnosis at an office where a provider accepts your insurance, it is likely going to cost a lot less than a thorough evaluation at an ADHD center or clinic without insurance will.
ADHD care is costly for individuals and families both pre and post-diagnosis; testing, medications, therapy, and other costs all factor into this. Even ADHD symptoms themselves can lead a family to a place where they have additional costs to cover - e.g., impulsivity symptoms that can lead to high-risk behavior. Impulsivity and other ADHD symptoms in children could be especially expensive in the long run.
Here is a table comparing the cost of an ADHD evaluation based on location* from a survey of providers in the area.
*Note: These costs are based on a source published in 2010 and reflect only the costs of the providers who were surveyed.
Take testing at the University of Washington as another example. Without insurance, a comprehensive evaluation (e.g., one that tests academic and cognitive functioning) may cost up to around $3,700.00-$4,500.00, whereas a brief ADHD evaluation might be around $650.00. Many individuals and families can’t afford this, and understandably so. Thankfully, there are resources that can help people who need to find a low-cost evaluation or who need help covering the cost.
What Does an ADHD Evaluation Entail?
If you or your child is going in for an ADHD evaluation, you may wonder what to expect. There are a number of different steps that a professional will take during the diagnostic process.
First, an initial interview will take place. Then, there will be a one-on-one evaluation, often including tests, surveys, and rating scales. Finally, there will be a full review of all of the information that a provider found when working with and evaluating the client. Here are some things to expect:
- In addition to the client themselves, a professional may talk with parents, school professionals, or anyone else able to give helpful information about a client, their functioning, and their symptoms.
- The use of rating scales and assessments. As mentioned, a number of different rating scales and assessments might be used during an ADHD evaluation. These will differ depending on whether the client is a child or an adult. For children, rating scales such as the Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC) might be used to assess behavior. For adults, the Adult ADHD Clinical Diagnostic Scale (or ACDS) will often be used to assess ADHD symptoms. The Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Symptom Assessment Scale (or BADDS) for adults might also be used in assessing symptoms of ADD and ADHD. If you have questions as to why a provider uses a particular assessment or why they need to ask a specific question, don't hesitate to bring it up.
- An extensive overview of personal history. Personal history is incredibly important for an ADHD diagnosis. Since symptoms must have started by the age of 12, a qualified professional who is assessing someone for a potential diagnosis of ADHD will ask when a person's symptoms began. Behavioral history, social history, and emotional trauma will almost always be part of the process and discussion. A professional will also want to check for other potential causes of a person's symptoms, such as other mental health conditions, substance use (if applicable), and physical health problems.
Often, professionals will want as much relevant information as possible. To support a potential diagnosis, you may bring self-assessments or parent assessments, medical documentation, and any relevant documentation from your or your child's school to a professional.
You may need to sign an ROI so that another professional (e.g., a child therapist or your kid works with or has worked with in the past) can communicate with the provider who is set to give ADHD evaluation.
Who Can Give an ADHD Evaluation?
Professionals who can give an ADHD evaluation include psychologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, and neurologists. You may find these professionals at hospital-based clinics, private practice settings, or in other settings, such as universities.
How to Find a Low-Cost ADHD Evaluation
Here are some ways to find a low-cost ADHD evaluation:
- Insurance coverage. If you have insurance, there may be a way to get your health insurance company to cover the cost of an ADHD evaluation. Check with your insurance company to see what they can do; they may be able to provide a list of locations or providers in your area who take your insurance, or they might be able to give you specific steps to take to help yourself get an assessment covered (e.g., "ask your doctor for a referral.”) If you qualify for Medicaid, this is certainly something to look into.
- Sliding scale or pro bono assessments. Some providers offer a limited number of sliding scale or pro bono ADHD assessments. These are based on a client's income level. You may look for someone who offers sliding scale rates through a web search, or you may ask your doctor if they can give you a referral or recommendation.
- University testing centers. Those in college may have an on-campus testing center. These services may be lower in cost, or there may be resources for students who cannot cover the cost. Some universities also offer these services for people who aren't students, including both children and adults.
- K-12 school resources. If your child is in school, consult with staff to ask about your options. They may have resources that can help, or they may be able to point you in the right direction.
Often, you will also be allowed to pay for an ADHD evaluation in installments. This is an option for people who can cover the cost but not upfront. If you are seeking an evaluation for yourself or someone else, don't hesitate to express a need for financial help.