The followings question came to me regarding the pros and cons of having a child on medication while being tested:

“Please address whether a child should be on medication while assessing a child with executive function issues. Some of the specialists we refer to around the country say to lower the medication when testing so you see the real child. Others say give the meds so you can see the potential. What do you think?”

This question comes up a lot for me. Before bringing their child in for an assessment, parents will often ask, “Should I keep him/her on medication for the testing.”

Like most things in this business, there isn’t a clear-cut answer. (That’s why my hair turns progressively gray with each passing day.)

To me the question is answered by another question, “What’s your purpose of doing the assessment?”

For example, let’s say your child has had a year of tutoring (while on medication) and you want to know how the child is progressing. In that scenario I think having him on medication during the assessment makes sense.

In a different example, if your purpose is to get a second opinion as to whether the child still needs to be on medication, then it probably makes sense for the psychologist to see the child off of his medication, so he can get a better feel for the child. You child could also need medication for a number of other reasons, you may find yourself looking to an online pharmacy to assistance with permission from your doctor.

(Mind you, with this question I am only making reference to stimulant type medication here (e.g., Adderall, Concerta, etc.), as stimulants are very short-acting and are in and out of the system very quickly.)

Bottom line, get clear on your purpose for doing the assessment and this will help to resolve the question of medicating or not during the evaluation.