A Psychological evaluation is a broad term used to describe a group of tests given to a child or adult to answer a question such as, “Does my child have a learning disorder or ADHD?” or “What is my IQ?” or “I am concerned about my child’s behavior, how do I determine the diagnosis?”
Common reasons to have psychological testing include:
- Piece of mind by having a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and weaknesses
- Clarifying any diagnostic questions before initiating treatment
- Uncovering any barriers that may be hindering an existing treatment program and making recommendations for alternative treatments (e.g., medication or a different type of psychotherapy)
- Seeking an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and special services in school to improve learning
- Benefits eligibility and determination
- Access to community services, supports, and benefits
Psychological evaluations consist of multiple evidence-based tests and questionnaires (also called measures). Since there are hundreds of tests and measures to choose from, it is important to work with a psychologist to determine which ones will best address your specific questions. Most evaluations include a cognitive test or IQ test, a test of executive functioning, and some measures to determine emotional and behavioral difficulties. Your evaluation may also include an achievement test to determine learning strengths and needs. The psychologist may also request other doctors or teachers provide information as well.
The process includes several appointments including an initial intake appointment where you and your family can explore the reasons for testing and the psychologist can determine which tests are most appropriate. Secondly, there is the testing, which may occur over 1 or 2 sessions, and each testing session may take several hours. Finally, you will attend a feedback meeting where you get a report with the results and explanations and an opportunity to ask questions. The report may be used for your own personal information, to share with another provider or school, or to receive services. It is important to discuss how you will use the report in the initial intake appointment so the psychologist can best help you. It is also important to know that testing and reporting is not a guarantee of services.
Psychological evaluations are not a one size fits all. If you are unsure what type of psychological evaluation your child needs, please call us for a free consultation. We are happy to guide you through the process!