EVALUATION & ASSESSMENT
If the child is being referred by a third party, such as a pediatrician or school, we will request a referral form be submitted to us before scheduling. This helps us to clarify the reason for the referral and whether it is something we can assist with.
Types of Evaluations Provided
We typically complete psychological evaluations for one of the following reasons:
- To determine if a child meets the criteria for a specific diagnosis, such as ADHD.
- The child has chronic or complex symptoms and it is not clear what is going on or how best to address the issues. (This may occur when a child is already in therapy but the therapy team needs a more comprehensive picture to develop an effective treatment plan.)
We do not provide the following types of evaluations:
- Formal psychological testing (e.g., testing for IQ, learning disabilities, or personality)
- Autism evaluations – We can do a general screening for autism, but if the screening suggests autism is a possibility, we will typically refer out for specialized evaluation. Therefore, if autism is the primary concern, we recommend starting with an evaluator who specializes in autism.
- Neuropsychological testing
- Evaluation for the purpose of obtaining a recommendation for home/community services such as a TSS (commonly referred to as a Medical Assistance “Best Practice Evaluation”). For such an evaluation, families are encouraged to contact one of the many community mental agencies that provide home/community-based services.
Our 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 and will put together a written summary of the evaluation.
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.”