At Positive Developments, each assessment is personalized, unique, and focused on understanding the child as a whole. Comprehensive assessments yield an integrated picture of a child’s cognitive, academic, and emotional development as well as specific recommendations for improving functioning in all three areas. Our problem-focused approach to testing provides parents with useful recommendations to bring out the best in their child. We offer two general categories of assessment: psychoeducational and neuropsychological.
Psychoeducational assessments typically focus on measuring a child’s general intellectual abilities and his or her academic achievement. The goal of a psychoeducational assessment is often to determine whether a child has a specific learning disorder or a more subtle academic problem requiring remediation or supportive classroom accommodations.
Neuropsychological assessment is a more comprehensive type of evaluation aimed at understanding how an individual’s specific brain functions, such as attention, language, and memory, are impacting his or her cognitive, behavioral, or academic functioning. These comprehensive assessments also often include a thorough evaluation of the child’s emotional functioning. The results of a neuropsychological assessment typically yield recommendations that cover a broad range of issues. For example, the evaluator may recommend school-based support, private academic remediation, occupational therapy, and/or psychotherapy. This approach focuses on understanding the child as a whole and implementing services and strategies to support his or her academic, behavioral, emotional, and interpersonal development.
In addition to the comprehensive assessments described above, parents sometimes seek a consultation after their child has already been tested, either privately or by the Child Study Team at their child’s school. Consultations can be helpful in providing clarification of testing results and recommendations and determining if additional emotional or neuropsychological assessment is necessary.
Parents often find it helpful to have their child observed in the classroom setting. Classroom observations provide a wealth of information regarding a child’s academic, behavioral, and social functioning. Observations can be done as part of a comprehensive assessment or independently, depending on the nature of the parents’ concerns.
When is an assessment helpful?
Assessments are designed to answer specific questions and provide useful recommendations to support an individual’s academic, behavioral, emotional, and social functioning. The following represents a sample of the types of questions that can be answered through a psychological assessment:
- What are the underlying factors that are contributing to my child’s academic difficulties?
- Does my child have Attention-Deficit Disorder, with or without Hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD)?
- Does my child have a learning disorder?
- Does my child require accommodations, such as untimed testing, to improve his or her academic functioning?
- Is my child suffering from an emotional difficulty, such as anxiety or depression, that is impeding his or her academic or social development?
- Does my child need to be classified and receive special education services at his or her school?
- Is my child intellectually and/or academically gifted?
- Does my child have a cognitive developmental disorder, such as Asperger’s Disorder or a Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder?
- Are my child’s intellectual abilities and academic skills developing evenly, or are there areas of weakness that may warrant remediation?
What can be gained from an assessment?
Every assessment will include detailed and specific recommendations for supporting your child’s development. Sample recommendations include:
- Applying for special education or school-based supportive services and accommodations, such as small group instruction or untimed testing.
- Obtaining private remediation for a learning disorder or tutoring for a particular area of weakness.
- Applying for a Gifted and Talented or enrichment program.
- Identifying whether or not a child might benefit from medication.
- Generating recommendations for psychotherapy.
How can I begin the process of having my child assessed?
All assessments begin with a parent meeting during which we will discuss your concerns and observations about your child’s intellectual, academic, and emotional functioning. The main objective of this initial session is to determine if testing is necessary and appropriate for your child and to outline specific goals for the assessment.
How long will the assessment take?
The number of testing hours required varies depending on several factors, including the nature of the assessment and the age of your child. Generally speaking, psychoeducational assessments will take 4-5 hours of testing time and neuropsychological assessments will take 6-8 hours of testing time. The evaluation appointments are scheduled over the course of several days to accommodate your child’s schedule and to maximize the likelihood of optimal performance. Testing appointments are typically scheduled in the morning or early afternoon to ensure that your child is sufficiently rested and alert.
How will I obtain the results of the assessment?
Testing results will generally be available 2-3 weeks after the last testing session. We will schedule a parent feedback session during which all results and recommendations will be discussed with you. Parents are encouraged to view the feedback session as a collaborative effort, particularly with respect to the recommendations. Following that feedback session, you will receive a detailed report which will describe all of the test results and, most importantly, specific and concrete recommendations for improving your child’s cognitive, academic, and emotional functioning.
Who will have access to the results of the assessment?
Assessment results are strictly confidential and will not be shared with anyone unless you give written authorization to release verbal or written results to a child’s therapist, psychiatrist, teachers, and/or pediatrician. Many parents do wish to have certain individuals receive a copy of the report. However, many parents do not wish to have all the details of the assessment shared with school personnel. Therefore, you may typically provide an edited version of the report for your child’s educators to review. All reports will be mailed directly to you so that you may review them before sharing the findings.