ADHD Center for Success offers rounded approach

More than 20 years of experience diagnosing and treating attention disorders has culminated in the recent launch of the ADHD Center for Success.

Located on High Bluff Drive in Carmel Valley, the ADHD Center for Success was opened in October by clinical psychologists Lori Rappaport, Ph.D., and Lewis Ribner, Ph.D. — both have more than 20 years experience in child, adolescent and adult therapy.

Rappaport and Ribner have for years been assessing and treating attention disorders. Their goal in launching the center, as Rappaport stated, was to look more comprehensively at a child’s life, and to counter a common problem parents and children are often faced with: misdiagnosis.

An important issue, Rappaport and Ribner explained, is that the behaviors traditionally associated with attention disorders — lack of focus or impulsivity, for example — often are physical manifestations of deeper psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety or learning disabilities.

“Too often, children aren’t properly evaluated,” Rappaport said. “To a teacher sitting in a classroom of 20 kids, a child may look to have an attention issue. When we assess them, we often find that behaviorally it looks the same.”

The problem is that, “If you treat it as an attention issue, it won’t go away,” Rappaport said. “Misdiagnosis causes tremendous stress on a child and their family, as it affects a child’s self-
esteem, and they can often feel stupid, while their parents and teachers see them as lazy and unfocused.”

What distinguishes the ADHD Center for Success is its comprehensive approach to assessment.

Ribner and Rappaport administer clinical interviews with the child and both parents, and use proven scales such as the Child Behavior Checklist with not only the child and his or her parents, but the classroom teacher as well.

The ADHD Center for Success also uses the IVA + Plus Psychological Test, an auditory and visual continuous performance test.

The comprehensive approach to diagnosis is aimed at pinpointing exactly what struggles the child is facing and not simply recommending medication that may not work.

“You need to find out what’s causing the issue before you jump into a treatment plan,” Ribner said.

In the service of creating a long-term plan for the health of the child, Ribner and Rappaport said the ADHD Center for Success would, after Jan. 1, 2010, begin hosting parent support groups, where parents could exchange ideas and learn from each other.

ADHD Center for Success is at 12625 High Bluff Drive, Suite 202, San Diego. For more information, or to schedule an appointment online, visit www.sandiego or call (858) 481-4988.

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