If you are brand new to the assessment process, you may not know quite what to expect. I find that giving families an overview of the process is quite helpful. There are three primary stages of the evaluation: Intake, Testing, and Feedback.
The intake session is where I meet with you for a comprehensive interview regarding the student's developmental history, and I review any school records you provide. When developmentally appropriate, the student may be a part of the intake session. The intake helps frame what sort of assessments we want to complete; I customize the assessment for each student.
At the conclusion of the intake session, we set up the testing times, which can occur over 1 to 3 sessions. Typically, the total amount of testing time ranges from 4 to about 6 hours (including frequent breaks, of course!). The assessment is different than the standardized testing that student may experience in school. It is more interactive and is akin to a series of short "activities" that help me understand how your student learns and processes information. Depending on what question(s) we are trying to answer from the intake session, the assessment covers a variety of skills:
- fine motor and handwriting
- verbal comprehension (e.g., vocabulary; verbal reasoning)
- listening comprehension
- oral language production
- visual-spatial skills
- logical reasoning skills
- processing speed
- executive Functions (e.g., attention; working memory; cognitive flexibility; inhibition)
- memory (verbal and visual)
- academic skills (reading; math; written language)
- social/emotional/behavioral functioning
Most of these skills I evaluate through testing and observing the student. I use state-of-the art assessment that are developed through sound research. Often I use rating scales/check lists that parents and teachers complete, which provides additional information that helps me understand your student's profile more thoroughly. In addition to the normed scores which come from these tests, I'm just as interested in how your student approaches the tasks. Often the process of watching your student complete assessment tasks is just as revealing as the scores themselves.
Once we have completed the assessment and the rating scales are all complete, I analyze all the available data and write a summary report for you, complete with the findings as well as strategies/recommendations that follow from the assessment. I write strengths-based approach; I want to find out what students do well, and make sure they do more of that, to leverage their strengths against their challenges. I also write in an accessible style that avoids jargon and "psychobabble." I want the report to be a useful, transparent tool for all who work with your student. I will present this written report to you at our "feedback" session. I like to provide developmentally-appropriate to the student whenever possible. I'm available any time after the feedback session for follow-up questions with you, other professionals working with your student, and/or your student's school.