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SCALES: Scales for Diagnosing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Ages: 5 through 18
Testing Time: 15 to 20 minutes
Administration: Individual

The Scales for Diagnosing Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder(SCALES) is an exciting new assessment tool that accurately identifies and evaluates Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder in children ages 5 through 18. The SCALES breaks new ground in the assessment of ADHD by combining several notable features:
  • the flexibility to evaluate a child's behavior using either normative benchmarks or DSM-IV-TR criteria
  • the inclusion of four separate normative samples
  • the inclusion of items that immediately address the child's ability to function within both school and home environments
The SCALES is modeled after the guidelines for ADHD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) . Maintaining the internal coherency of those criteria, it evaluates the child's behavior using three subtests to measure inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 2000 Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Evaluation of ADHD were heavily consulted.

The SCALES is designed with two separate forms, one for the home environment and the other for the school setting. Generally, teachers and parents engage in the most interaction with the children and should therefore be best acquainted with the nuances of the child's behavior and the extent to which that behavior may or may not interfere with the child's ability to function within home and school environments. For this reason, the SCALES aims at gathering in-depth information from both parents and teachers using the two forms, rather than behavioral data from isolated clinical examinations. As well, the SCALES was standardized using more than 3,000 children and is designed with two sets of norms: persons not identified with or not suspected of having ADHD and individuals already diagnosed with ADHD. The SCALES employs a 4-point Lickert Scale to measure the extent to which the child's behavior interferes with his or her functioning within the school and home settings (0 indicating no interference and 4 representing consistent interference).

Reliability and validity for the SCALES are strong. The average internal consistency coefficients, across all ages, ranged from .88 to .96. Criterion-prediction validity studies were conducted using both the Conners' Rating Scales and the Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder Test. Exploratory factor analysis confirms that the items on the rating scales do, in fact, accurately measure inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity. The results of these studies attest to the SCALES's utility and effectiveness in the identification and evaluation of ADHD.