Start My Wellness Blog

Explore success stories and information related to mental health, holistic wellness and self-improvement.

Have a question about a post? Need to schedule an appointment?

Call 248-514-4955

Online vs In-Person ADHD Testing: What to Choose

Jun 19, 2024 | ADHD

Deciding how to test for ADHD can be challenging, especially with the growing availability of online testing options. Many people wonder whether they should opt for online ADHD testing or stick with traditional in-person methods.

Both online and in-person ADHD testing have their unique advantages and limitations. Online testing offers convenience and accessibility, while in-person testing provides a more comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals. Understanding these differences is crucial for making an informed decision that best fits your needs.

Understanding the ADHD Testing Process

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults and is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness. Testing for ADHD is essential because it helps individuals understand their challenges and find appropriate strategies to manage their symptoms.

Typically, the testing process involves a combination of questionnaires, interviews, and sometimes observation to understand how the individual experiences symptoms and in what context. Additional testing is often done to rule out other conditions.

ADHD testing aims to identify symptoms of the disorder, including

  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Frequent forgetfulness
  • Excessive fidgeting
  • Impulsive behaviors

These assessments help determine whether an individual meets the criteria for ADHD, which can guide the development of effective treatment plans. Both online and in-person testing seek to evaluate these symptoms, although the approach and depth of evaluation will vary between the two methods.

Types of ADHD Tests

ADHD diagnosis involves several types of tests to confirm the condition and rule out other possible disorders (including physical conditions). Both online and in-person testing methods use a variety of assessments to gather information about a person’s behavior, how they interact with others, and the duration and impact of symptoms.

There is no one test for ADHD. Instead, different tests, interviews, and rating scales provide different pieces for clinicians to evaluate and understand before making a diagnosis.

Clinical Interviews

Clinical interviews involve detailed discussions with individuals and sometimes their family members, coworkers, or teachers to gather insights into their behavior and history. These interviews help clinicians understand the extent of the symptoms and their impact on daily life, as well as indicate a genetic basis for ADHD.

Rating Scales

Rating scales are standardized tools based on clinical observation and research of a condition. These help objectively assess the likelihood of whether the condition is present, which aids in diagnosis. Rating scales on their own can be limited, as they don’t always capture the whole picture, but alongside other methods, they can help provide the complete picture of what an individual is experiencing. Standard rating scales include:

  • Vanderbilt Assessment Scale: A two-part scale that tests for symptoms of ADHD and ruling out other conditions in children and adolescents. The Vanderbilt Scales have only recently been normed. For the most valid and reliable measurement of ADHD, it is important to use the most current version of the test.
  • Conners Rating Scale: A questionnaire that evaluates social, behavioral, and academic issues in children, adolescents, and adults. This is a very well researched test and found to have high levels of validity and reliability in measuring ADHD.
  • ADHD Rating Scale (ADHD-RS) and Adult Self-Report Scale (ASRS): Both the ADHD-RS and ASRS test specifically for ADHD symptoms as defined in the DSM-5. Parents and teachers typically complete the ADHD-RS, while adults self-report the ASRS.

Cognitive Tests

Cognitive tests assess various mental processes that may be affected by ADHD. These include:

  • Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs), which measure attention and impulse control
  • Intelligence Tests to evaluate overall cognitive abilities
  • Tests for specific abilities such as language, memory, executive skills, and and motor skills


Observation involves monitoring the individual in different settings, such as home, school, or work, to see how ADHD symptoms manifest in real-world scenarios. This method requires in-person testing and provides valuable context while helping to validate findings from other tests.

Testing Format: In-Person vs Online

In-person and online testing are two distinct methods for diagnosing ADHD, each with advantages and limitations. Choosing between these formats often depends on individual needs, preferences, and accessibility.

In-person testing provides a more comprehensive and interactive evaluation. It allows for direct observation, real-time feedback, and the opportunity for clinicians to conduct thorough assessments through face-to-face interactions. This method is highly beneficial for accuracy and depth, but it can be time-consuming and may be more costly.

Online testing, on the other hand, offers greater convenience and accessibility, particularly for those with busy schedules or limited access to healthcare facilities. It allows individuals to complete assessments flexibly and reliably. However, online tests may lack the depth of in-person evaluations and can sometimes miss subtle behavioral cues that a clinician can observe better during an in-person session.

Comparing Online and In-Person Testing

When deciding between online and in-person ADHD testing, it’s essential to consider each method’s key differences and benefits. Both formats offer valuable insights into diagnosing ADHD but vary in accuracy, convenience, and cost.

In-person testing is often considered the gold standard due to its comprehensive nature and the ability to conduct thorough evaluations through direct interaction with healthcare professionals. Online testing, however, has gained popularity for its convenience and accessibility, making it a valuable option for many people who may not have easy access to in-person services.

Accuracy and Reliability

In-person testing tends to be more accurate and reliable due to the hands-on approach of healthcare professionals who can directly observe and interact with the patient. Online tests may lack some of the nuanced assessments that in-person evaluations provide.

Convenience and Accessibility

Online testing offers significant convenience, allowing individuals to complete assessments from home without the need for travel or scheduling conflicts. In-person testing requires appointments and visits to a clinic, which can be challenging for some individuals.

Cost Comparison

In general, online ADHD testing can be more cost-effective, with lower fees and no travel expenses. In-person testing may involve higher costs due to the possibility of multiple appointments, traveling, and additional testing with specialized professionals. However, the thoroughness of in-person evaluations often justifies the additional expense for individuals.

Can All ADHD Testing Be Done Online?

While online ADHD testing offers a convenient and accessible option for many individuals, it is not always the most appropriate choice for everyone. Online assessments can effectively identify symptoms of inattention and impulsivity through questionnaires and self-reports. However, they lack the direct observation and interactive components that in-person evaluations provide.

Despite these limitations, online testing remains a valuable option for many. It offers a flexible and often more affordable way to begin the diagnostic process, especially for those facing barriers to in-person healthcare.

How to Choose the Right Option

Choosing between online and in-person ADHD testing can be challenging, as the best option depends on your unique goals and potential barriers. It’s essential to consider your specific needs, access to healthcare resources, and the complexity of your symptoms when making this decision.

When choosing between options, it’s helpful to consider these factors, which can help determine the best choice for you. Consider online testing if:

  • You have limited access to healthcare providers or live in a remote area
  • Your primary concern is convenience and flexibility
  • You prefer a cost-effective initial assessment
  • Your symptoms are primarily related to inattention difficulties

Consider in-person testing if:

  • You need a comprehensive evaluation that includes direct observation
  • You have complex symptoms or other health conditions that need to be ruled out
  • You want a thorough diagnostic process involving multiple professionals
  • You require an accurate assessment of hyperactivity and impulsivity

Start My Wellness recommends a hybrid model of testing for ADHD. This model considers the individual needs of the person and designs an evaluation consistent with those needs. Sometimes a comprehensive online evaluation is appropriate. At other times, in-person testing is a necessary addition. Online and in-person testing can be combined into a hybrid evaluation model. The important thing to consider is that a knowledgeable licensed healthcare professional makes a decision based on the person’s individual needs, and does not use a “one size fits all” approach. There are very few times that approach works in healthcare, and certainly the evaluation of ADHD requires a skilled professional making judgments based on the individual needs of the patient.

Get the Support You Need With Start My Wellness

Deciding between online and in-person ADHD testing involves weighing the benefits and limitations of each method. Online testing offers flexibility and convenience, making it a viable option for those with busy schedules or limited access to healthcare. However, in-person testing provides a more comprehensive evaluation.

At Start My Wellness, we understand the challenges of choosing the right testing method. Our team is equipped to offer both online and in-person ADHD assessments, ensuring you receive a thorough and personalized evaluation tailored to your needs.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your journey to mental health, contact Start My Wellness at (248)-514-4955 and meet our therapists today. Our experienced professionals are here to support you every step of the way.


  1. Start My Wellness: How do I know if I have ADHD? What if I also have symptoms of anxiety and/or depression?
  2. Start My Wellness: Different Methods of Diagnosing ADHD
  3. Healthline: ADHD Rating Scales: What You Need to Know
  4. Start My Wellness: How Does ADHD Testing Help Answer Questions For Adults?
  5. Start My Wellness: ADHD Testing Options at Start My Wellness: Traditional vs. Modern
Dr. Anton Babushkin

Author: Anton Babushkin, PhD

Looking for a Therapist? Start My Wellness has highly experienced Licensed Therapists that are currently accepting new patients.


Blog Posts Tags: ADHD | ADHD Testing
woman sending a message on her phone

Request an Appointment

To get started with Start My Wellness, request an appointment with the provided form or call 248-514-4955. During the scheduling process, we will ask questions to match you with the therapist who will best meet your needs including service type, emotional symptoms and availability.

(248) 514-4955