What are Child and Family Evaluations?
Child and family evaluations, also known as Psychological Assessment, refer to the battery of tests administered to evaluate your child’s intellectual, learning, emotional and/or behavioral functioning. The test battery varies depending upon the referral question(s), and can include a structured interview, assessment of intellectual capability, learning/processing measures, measures of attention and memory, academic achievement measures, projective measures, self-report surveys, parent and teacher checklists, and a school observation. Testing sessions are typically scheduled during the morning when most children function at their best. One or two testing sessions may be scheduled, depending on your child’s age and number of tests/measures being given. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding specific names of tests that will be administered to your child during testing. Children are typically referred for an assessment by their parents, pediatrician, or school for evaluation of:
- Academic Readiness
• Attention Deficit Disorder
• With or Without Hyperactivity
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Disruptive Behavior Disorders
• Emotional Disturbances
• Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders
• Learning Disabilities
• Learning/Processing Problems
• Parent-Child Relational Problems
• Psychological Factors Associated with Medical Conditions
• Social Problems
What should I tell my child about the appointment?
Preparing your child for testing will minimize anxiety and stress. Before the day of testing, it is helpful to remind the child what the day will be like. Try to avoid calling it “testing,” as this word itself can often make a child unnecessarily anxious. Make sure your child knows they will be meeting alone with the psychologist. Explain that children learn in different ways and that the tasks will help parents and teachers understand how he/she learns best. The day will include a variety of questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories as well as some school-like tasks like reading and math. While your child will be challenged, he or she will probably have fun with some of the tasks. On the day of the assessment, make sure your child is well rested and has eaten a good breakfast. Feel free to bring any healthy snacks and drinks you think your child may like. You may also like a lunch break with your child; there are several nearby restaurants. Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled time to allow your child to become familiar with the psychologist and to get settled before starting. To avoid fatigue, breaks will be taken during the tasks to allow your child to use the restroom and have a drink or snack. Children also often like to talk with their parent(s) during the breaks. For children under 12, we require parents to remain in our lobby for the duration of the testing. It is at your discretion to remain or run errands if your child age 12 or older, but please make sure that the office has a number at which you can be reached immediately in case of illness or other difficulty.
What happens after the testing?
Approximately two weeks after the testing, you will return to the office without your child for a results review and discussion. If your child is coming with you, we ask that you let us know in advance; although teenagers are usually expected to come. The follow-up appointment generally takes between 45 and 90 minutes. At the follow-up appointment, the Psychologist will review the testing results, discuss recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. You will be provided with a written report during the follow-up session or within one week of the appointment. The report provides a written record of the testing that was completed, along with some specific recommendations so that parents, educational staff, physicians, and other professionals working with your child can coordinate a treatment plan that will enable your child to succeed. You may be asked to sign a release so that the report can be sent directly to specific professionals working with your child.
The following represents the types of assessments that are available:
Targeted ADHD Assessment
This assessment includes a clinical interview, review of medical and educational records as necessary, comprehensive IQ test, test of sustained attention, structured interview of ADHD symptoms and screening measures related to mood factors that impact attention (as needed). The final report includes a full explanation of the results, an accurate diagnosis, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and referral information.
ADHD Screening/Diagnostic update
If test scores are available from the WISC-IV or WAIS-IV, or any other standardized measure that includes a cognitive working memory index, an ADHD diagnostic update may be appropriate. This evaluation includes a review of educational history and prior testing results, a test of sustained attention, and structured interview of ADHD symptoms. Report includes explanation of test results, an accurate diagnosis, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and referral information.
Learning Disabilities Evaluation
This evaluation provides comprehensive documentation and diagnosis of a learning disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although testing is individualized, usually the first step is administering measures of cognitive ability to determine an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, and screen for any deficiencies. This assessment provides an indication of what an individual is capable of. Second, achievement tests are administered to ascertain an individual’s level of mastery in major academic areas. These achievement tests are constructed, administered, and scored very differently than the standardized tests given in school. Consequently, they provide different and often invaluable information that may not otherwise be attained. Finally, tests of information processing are administered to assess cognitive processing, attention, learning, and memory. Results from these, and other, instruments are integrated and if defined criteria are met, a diagnosis is made.
This assessment provides an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis regarding cognitive and learning processes. It provides documentation of learning disabilities, developmental delays, processing disorders, the eligibility/ need for accommodations (IEP, 504, university, work, standardized testing such as SAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.), and for differentiating between possible diagnoses. Evaluation includes a comprehensive clinical interview, behavioral observations, review of educational/ medical records as needed, cognitive, neurocognitive, and achievement testing. The written report includes a full explanation of test results, an accurate diagnoses, documentation of appropriate accommodations, treatment recommendations, and feedback. Test battery includes a measure of Full Scale IQ (working memory, processing speed, verbal, and non-verbal Indexes), measures of academic achievement, and tests evaluating attention, executive processing measures, and other cognitive processes (auditory processing, visual-motor integration, etc.) as necessary.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment
This assessment includes in-depth cognitive and language testing to establish IQ and evaluate psychomotor function, verbal and nonverbal strengths and weaknesses, style of learning, and skills for independent living. An assessment of communication strengths and weaknesses includes the evaluation of nonverbal forms of communication (gaze and gestures); the use of non-literal language (metaphor, irony, absurdities and humor); patterns of speech inflection, stress and volume; pragmatics (turn-taking and sensitivity to verbal cues); and the content, clarity and coherence of conversation. Testing may include an audiological referral to exclude hearing impairment. Because multiple domains of functioning can be involved, we may use a multidisciplinary team approach. An accurate assessment of the child’s strengths and weaknesses is more useful than a diagnostic label.
Comprehensive Psychological Assessment
This assessment evaluates both cognitive and personality factors and includes a comprehensive clinical interview, review of all relevant medical and educational records, a full assessment of cognitive and learning abilities (see Psych-Ed Assessment for description) plus a full evaluation of personality characteristics, mood states, behavioral functioning, and social-emotional functioning. A written report details all areas tested and provides an accurate diagnoses. Appropriate accommodations are documented and treatment recommendations and referral information are provided. A feedback session is also included, in-office, over the phone, or over email, depending on the client’s preference.
This assessment evaluates both cognitive and personality factors and includes a comprehensive clinical interview, review of all relevant medical and educational records, plus an evaluation of personality characteristics, mood states, behavioral functioning, and social-emotional functioning. A written report details all areas tested and provides an accurate diagnoses. Appropriate accommodations are documented and treatment recommendations and referral information are provided. A feedback session is also included, in-office, over the phone, or over email, depending on the client’s preference.
Cognitive Abilities & Goodness of Fit Assessment
To better understand areas of intellectual strength and weakness for educational decisions regarding GT and APP programs, private school/ Montessori school or public school choices, areas of academic focus that would be most beneficial, and recommendations and resources. Includes clinical interview, review of educational records/ medical history, full scale (WPPSI-IV, WISC-IV, WAIS-IV) IQ test, non-verbal IQ test (if appropriate), measure of educational/ occupational interest (if appropriate), written report with explanation of test results, diagnosis (if applicable), and educational recommendations.
APP/ Private School Admission Testing
Depending on age of individual and the admission criteria, one of the following tests will be administered: WPPSI-IV or WPPSI-IV, WISC-IV, WAIS-IV or Stanford-Binet. Testing is done in a quiet and calm environment. Report includes brief developmental history and a detailed explanation of test results, areas of particular strength, and overall current and projected academic ability.
Mensa Admission Testing
Depending on age of individual and the admission criteria, one of the following tests will be administered: WPPSI-IV, WISC-IV, WAIS-IV, Stanford-Binet, WJ-III Cognitive, or the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence. Testing is done in a quiet and calm environment. Letter of eligibility includes a description of test measure(s) used, and summary of full scale and index scores (including percentile rank and age equivalence where appropriate).
Individually Administered Personality Tests
MMPI with written interpretation
Occupational Inventory and related measure of areas of interpersonal strength with written feedback