EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT
A psychological evaluation can be a helpful starting place if you aren’t sure why your child is struggling or what he/she needs. The goals are to get a clear sense of what your child’s areas of difficulty are, why your child is having those difficulties, and how to address them. Many times youth are referred because there is a question about what diagnosis is most appropriate. For example, is inattention at school due to ADHD, anxiety, or something else?
An evaluation begins with an intake appointment with a licensed psychologist or postdoctoral resident to gather initial information and determine the best path forward. If you wish to use insurance, we may need to request a special authorization from the insurance company. A full evaluation typically occurs over three to four appointments at our office and includes:
- Meeting with you to discuss your concerns, as well as learn about your child’s life in general – for instance, early development, sleep habits, family, friendships, and academics.
- Meeting with your child, to observe and get to know him/her
- Standardized rating scales, to help us better understand your child’s symptoms and how your child compares to others the same age
- Reaching out to your child’s teacher for information and observations (with your permission, of course)
- Reviewing your child’s school and medical records
Once the evaluation is complete, your clinician will sit down with you to share feedback and recommendations. A written summary of the results is provided. Please note that at this time we do not provide formal psychological testing (e.g., testing for IQ, learning disabilities, or personality).
If your child is having trouble at school or not behaving at home, the possibility of ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) might have come up. Maybe this possibility has been suggested by the school. Maybe your pediatrician has offered to prescribe medication. Maybe you are wondering about ADHD, too, but you want to know for sure.
The goals of an ADHD evaluation include:
- determining whether your child meets the criteria for ADHD
- ruling out other possibilities
- identifying the interventions or treatment strategies that will be most helpful
Evaluation for ADHD follows the process described above. Families and referral sources often wonder if psychological testing is necessary for ADHD evaluation. While testing can be helpful in some cases or offer extra support either for or against an ADHD diagnosis, there is no evidence that children with ADHD show a specific “profile” on psychological tests or that testing is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. Careful interviewing and gathering information from a range of sources is critical to a good ADHD evaluation.
“Life is a continuous exercise in creative problem solving.”