Psychological assessment is a positive and helpful step that provides insight into an individual’s cognitive, academic, and behavioral functioning.
Assessment can offer diagnostic clarity, as well as provide information about a person’s unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses. Assessment and testing can also lead to the creation of highly targeted, personalized supports and interventions. Evaluators at The Child & Family Practice of Washington, DC provide a number of assessment services:
1. Neuropsychological Evaluation
Neuropsychological assessment is typically recommended when a child, adolescent, or adult is suspected of having impairment in one or more domains of psychological, emotional, or behavioral functioning due to an underlying learning, medical, or psychiatric condition. It is typically administered via a “battery approach,” which involves a series of individually administered tests and rating scales that provide insight into an individual’s functioning. Typically, cognitive/intellectual functioning, executive functioning, academic ability, attention, language, memory, visuospatial processing, fine motor abilities, and behavioral functioning are assessed. Neuropsychological evaluation is the most frequently requested, or required, type of assessment.
2. Psycho-Educational Evaluation
At times, a full neuropsychological evaluation may not be required; instead, a psycho-educational evaluation is recommended. This may occur as an initial step in a school's process of determining a child's eligibility for special education services, as part of a student's triennial evaluation, or as a means of determining more broadly what supports a child may require in a school setting.
3. Admissions Assessment
As part of the school admissions process, many private schools require the submission of a test of cognitive/intellectual ability. The most commonly required tests are The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V) and The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV). Evaluators at The Child & Family Practice of Washington, DC have access to a wide array of intellectual and academic assessments; please let your evaluator know what specific tests are required by your school(s).
Admissions assessments are generally completed in one week.
Frequently Asked Questions About Testing
When is testing recommended?
- When a child, adolescent, or adult is suspected of having a learning disability, attention disorder, or other psychiatric disorder.
- When a school or family is looking to better understand a child’s unique learning style.
- When a practitioner is looking to clarify or differentiate a diagnosis or gain specific insight into a patient’s functioning.
- In order to generate a uniquely tailored academic and/or behavioral intervention program.
How does the testing process work?
What happens once it’s completed?
- The amount of testing required depends on the referral concern. Typically, testing takes place over two to three sessions lasting approximately two to three hours in length.
- Patients are allowed to take as many breaks as needed and are encouraged to bring snacks and beverages with them.
- Once testing is completed, the evaluator will analyze the findings and compile a comprehensive report that explains them. This is a time-intensive process, and it typically takes two to four weeks for the report to be generated.
What should I do before getting my child tested?
Prior to testing, it is beneficial to rule out any potential medical or physical factors that might be impacting your child. For example, having vision and hearing tested is helpful prior to beginning the process.
How can I help my child to perform optimally during testing?
- Make sure your child gets a good night’s rest and eats before the test—testing does require some stamina!
- Inform the evaluator if your child is experiencing any emotional or medical concerns the day of testing that might influence the process of assessment.
- Make sure all medications are taken prior to testing, unless you have previously discussed certain exceptions ahead of time with your evaluator.
How do I explain the testing process to my young child?
Some children may have concerns that testing is something that is taking place because “there is something wrong” with them or because there is a “problem.” Explain to your child that many children go through this process—both inside and outside of school. Many parents find that referring to testing as an opportunity to “work with someone like a teacher on many different activities, like puzzles, memory games, and some reading” can be helpful. Also let your child know that testing is being completed so that the evaluator, the parents, and the child can understand better how he or she learns.