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Steps to Take for an Adult ADHD Diagnosis in Canada

Updated: Jul 13

Discover more about ADHD, ADHD traits, who can diagnose ADHD in adults, how ADHD is diagnosed, and how you can get diagnosed with ADHD in Canada.

ADHD is a fairly common neurodevelopmental disorder and form of neurodivergence. 

Even though many people experience ADHD, many individuals don’t get an ADHD diagnosis until adulthood. 

People may not be diagnosed with ADHD in childhood because they don’t present with the stereotypical signs of ADHD. 

Usually, a child is referred for an ADHD assessment if they are showing stereotypical signs, such as disruption in the classroom or problems with school work. This is common in young boys, who are more likely to show hyperactive traits than girls. 

Girls, especially BIPOC and LGBTQ+ neurodivergent individuals, are more likely to be diagnosed in adulthood and misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed in childhood. 

It is also common for an ADHD diagnosis to be missed in kids due to a lack of access to care or the masking of ADHD traits. 

Adults often explore an adult ADHD diagnosis as they learn more about themselves and their challenges and start to explore whether ADHD could be a key factor in these challenges. 

There are benefits to seeking out a diagnosis because untreated ADHD can lead to challenges in school, work, relationships, and everyday life activities.

Getting diagnosed may help to support an individual with the accommodations they need to succeed. 

Whether or not you seek out an adult diagnosis for ADHD is totally up to you and what you feel is best for your needs!

Let’s dive into what ADHD is, the traits of ADHD, the types of ADHD, the professionals who can diagnose ADHD, and how you can get diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. 

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a neurological disorder and form of neurodivergence that presents with traits that include ADHD waiting mode, an inability to focus to impulsive acts that happen without thinking.

The brains of ADHDers develop and work differently for some reason. ADHDers will have different strengths and challenges from those whose brains develop in a typical way. 

Classified as a chronic condition, ADHD may impact how a person functions on a day-to-day basis and cause challenges with work, school, interpersonal relationships, or home life. 

Adults with ADHD may struggle with challenges in the workplace due to traits of sensitivity to criticism or rejection-sensitive dysphoria.

What Are the Traits of ADHD?

Many ADHDers have challenges with hyperactivity, inattention, or impulsivity that may benefit from ADHD coaching.

How these traits present in combination with one another varies from person to person. 

Some common traits that may be present in ADHDers include:

  • Time management and organization issues (difficulty managing tasks): Difficulty with telling what time it is or how much time has passed on a task or organization issues could make getting tasks done on time difficult. Frequent lateness could occur with ADHD.

  • Restlessness: feeling uneasy and consistently moving or having to be active. 

  • Impulsiveness and forgetfulness: you are more likely to impulse buy, or you are likely to buy something and then not remember the cancellation date. This makes debt quite common.

  • Consistently losing or misplacing things.

  • Rejection-sensitive dysphoria: strong emotional reactions to real or perceived rejection.

  • Hyperfixation: the tendency to focus on one task for an extended period can make task switching difficult, especially when it is needed to get more than one task done.

  • Inattentiveness or trouble focusing: ADHDers can struggle with paying attention, or they may fidget and get distracted from a task.

  • Sensory overload: one may become easily overwhelmed and experience strong reactions to too much sensory input coming over the senses. You may feel overwhelmed and frustrated with everyday tasks. 

  • Emotional dysregulation: you may experience strong emotional reactions to minor problems. 

  • Job and relationship issues: this could be due to forgetfulness, hyperfocus, disorganization, or other ADHD traits. 

Types of ADHD

Three different types of ADHD vary in the traits that a person presents. These types are inattentive ADHD, hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, and combined-type ADHD. 

An ADHD diagnosis is based on the presentation of several of these traits over six months.

Inattentive ADHD

ADHDers with inattentive ADHD primarily struggle with inattentive traits, not hyperactive-impulsive traits.

Traits of the inattentive type include: 

  • Not paying attention to fine details or making careless mistakes

  • Struggling to stay focused on the tasks at hand

  • Daydreaming when someone is speaking to you

  • Challenges with following through on instructions

  • Trouble organizing tasks and work

  • May dislike sustained mental effort

  • Easily distracted

  • Forgets daily tasks

Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

ADHDers with hyperactive-impulsive primarily struggle with hyperactive and impulsive traits, not inattentive traits.

Traits of this type include:

  • Fidgets with or taps things excessively

  • Struggling to sit still

  • Challenges with staying quiet or talking excessively

  • Always “on the go” and needing to move around

  • You may interrupt people while they are speaking or struggle with waiting your turn.

Combined type adhd

Combined type ADHD involves individuals presenting with a mix of hyperactive-impulsive traits and inattentive traits.

Getting Diagnosed with ADHD as an Adult

For an ADHD diagnosis, there should have been some of these ADHD traits present before the age of 12. 

You may have experienced these ADHD traits as a child, but they went undiagnosed. This may make it so you are getting your first diagnosis in adulthood. 

First, you will need to know: who can diagnose ADHD in adults in Canada?

An official diagnosis is made by a healthcare provider who has experience diagnosing ADHD. 

Psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, nurse practitioners, and physicians can diagnose ADHD in adults. 

You cannot be diagnosed with ADHD by a registered psychotherapist or social worker, but these mental health professionals can encourage you to seek a diagnosis and provide neurodiversity-affirming therapy.

Your experience in seeking a diagnosis for ADHD may vary depending on the healthcare provider. 

Here is a step-by-step guide to some of the steps you can take to get a diagnosis Of ADHD as an adult.

Step 1: Seek Out a Healthcare Professional: 

Your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or general practitioner should be your first point of contact to help and support you in seeking out a diagnosis. 

If they have training in diagnosing ADHD, they may be able to provide you with a diagnosis that would be covered by your provincial health insurance plans. 

However, some family physicians and nurse practitioners may feel they do not have enough experience diagnosing ADHD and may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist to get diagnosed with ADHD. 

Who they refer you to will likely depend on your specific needs for an assessment and your financial means. 

Psychological assessments completed by a psychologist can be costly. They are not covered by provincial health insurance plans, but they may be covered by private insurance plans or by disability grants, such as the Bursary for Students with Disabilities

Psychologists also cannot prescribe medications for ADHD in Canada, so this is one limitation of the treatment they can provide after an assessment. They can, however, provide counselling to support you along your ADHD journey. 

On the other hand, an adult ADHD diagnosis by a psychiatrist is usually covered by provincial health insurance plans in Canada. Psychiatrists can also prescribe medications and provide counselling. 

Once you have an idea of what healthcare professional you want to see, you can then seek further steps to getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult. 

Step 2: Determine Cost:

If you are seeking a diagnosis for ADHD from a psychiatrist or your general practitioner in Canada, you can generally skip this step as it will likely be covered by your provincial health insurance plan. 

You are going to want to verify this with the healthcare provider at the very least, though, but you can mostly skip to step three in this case. 

If you can afford out-of-pocket costs, you could look into the cost of a complete psychological assessment. The cost can typically range from as little as $300 to as much as $3500. 

The cost depends on several factors, including where you are receiving an ADHD diagnosis, the length of the assessment, and how extensive the assessment is. 

We recommend you book a free consultation with a few places to see what would be the best fit for you. 

Step 3: Book an Appointment:

Once you have determined the cost and the practitioner, you are going to want to book an appointment with them. 

An appointment can usually be booked by phone, email, or through an online booking system. 

Where you can book an appointment will depend on the healthcare professional and what booking systems they use. 

Step 4: Gather All Relevant Information:

Now that your appointment is booked, you are going to want to prepare for the appointment itself. 

To diagnose you, the healthcare provider is going to want the following information: 

  • Current concerns and the impact on your functioning

  • Medical history

  • Any report cards

  • Family reports

  • Past questionnaires and scales.

  • Past mental health or other diagnosis

  • History of your development and lifestyle

  • Any past cognitive tests

  • Any pharmacy records

You are going to want to gather as much of this information as possible and bring it to your appointment.

Blue Sky Learning’s Partners

Blue Sky Learning has partnered up with three neuro-affirming clinics that can provide ADHD assessments

Discover more about the clinics and how to get an ADHD assessment below. 

Finding Focus 

This clinic charges $399 CAD as a one-time fee for a diagnosis and treatment plan. They also have a payment plan to increase accessibility for those facing financial barriers. This includes a fee of $99 for 5 months. 

At Finding Focus, there are no labels or stigmas. Their team of licensed, expert clinicians will take your diagnostic appointment on the same or the next day, and follow best practices of care so you can move forward with clarity.

Blue Sky Learning offers you a chance to book a free consultation with ADHD Coach Maddy to secure a $25 rebate towards your total assessment price.

Adult ADHD Centre 

The Adult ADHD Centre provides an adult ADHD assessment for $300 CAD. ​

This clinic is a neuro-affirming clinic led by Dr. Parhar, who actively treats individuals with ADHD. 

They will provide you with:

This assessment may be refundable through private health insurance plans. 

Blue Sky Learning is a listed AuDHD coaching service provider recognized by the Adult ADHD Centre.

Blue Sky Learning offers you a chance to book a free consultation to see if coaching would be a fit alongside your assessment journey.

Psychotherapy Matters 

Psychotherapy Matters will connect you and your therapist with a psychiatrist and get you on the path to feeling your best. This psychiatrist could provide you with a diagnosis that is covered by provincial health insurance plans.  

With your consent, psychotherapy providers can request a referral from your family physician and book a psychiatric consultation.  Psychotherapy providers attend all consultations to remain updated on the client’s care. 

Blue Sky Learning offers a chance to book a free consultation with Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) Rebecca (she/her), a member of PMVC (Psychotherapy Matters Virtual Clinic/Collaboration), to learn more about this exciting and affordable opportunity.

Book a Free Consultation With Blue Sky Learning

Are you a neurodivergent individual seeking an ADHD assessment from one of the Blue Sky Learning partner clinics or are you seeking ADHD support from an ADHD coach or ADHD therapist on the Blue Sky Learning team? 

Book a free 20-minute consultation with one of the Blue Sky Learning team members by emailing or head on over to the Blue Sky Learning website.

Blue Sky Learning team members embody values of compassion, empathy, and person-centered approaches. 

Blue Sky Learning provides the opportunity for students, professionals, parental guardians, and educators to connect with them regarding individual concerns and areas of growth. 

Blue Sky Learning strives to provide a service where clients feel safe, supported, and intersectionality understood. 

Blue Sky Learning aims to reduce stigma and shame cycles, deepen client understanding of internalized ableism, and empower areas of avoidance to increase your personal value of motivation.


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