If you are brand new to the assessment process, you may not know quite what to expect. We 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 your psychologist engages in a comprehensive interview with you regarding your child’s/adolescent’s developmental history, and reviews any school records you provide. When developmentally appropriate, the child/adolescent may be a part of the intake session. The intake helps frame what sort of assessments we recommend to complete; we customize our assessments for each child/adolescent.
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 a student may experience in school. It is more interactive and is akin to a series of short “activities” that helps your psychologist understand how your child/adolescent learns and processes information.
Most of these skills we evaluate through testing and observing the student. We use state-of-the art assessment that are developed through sound research. Often we will use rating scales/checklists that parents and teachers complete, which provides additional information that helps us understand your child/adolescent more thoroughly. In addition to the normed scores which come from these tests, we are just as interested in how the child/adolescent approaches the tasks.
Once the assessment and the rating scales are all complete, your psychologist will 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. We lead with a strengths-based approach; we want to find out what students do well and make sure they do more of that, to leverage their strengths against their challenges. We also write in an accessible style that avoids jargon and “psychobabble.” We want the report to be a useful, transparent tool for all who work with your child/adolescent. We will present this written report shortly after a “feedback” session with you. We also like to provide developmentally-appropriate feedback to the student whenever possible. We are available any time after the feedback session for follow-up questions with you, the school, and/or other professionals working with your child/adolescent.