Testing and Assessment
I routinely perform psychological evaluations to assess children and teens for learning disorders, attention disorders, and emotional or behavioral factors that may be interfering with a child’s school performance. Typically, I meet initially with parents to discuss their concerns, gather information related to the child’s academic, social, and emotional history, and determine the extent of psychological testing necessary. Most assessment batteries include 4 to 6 hours of testing. After testing is complete, I meet with parents to discuss testing results and provide recommendations. Parents also receive a detailed psychological report that includes test results, conclusions, and treatment recommendations.
The following is a brief summary of commonly administered psychological testing batteries for learning disorders and Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder:
Children with learning disorders generally have difficulty learning despite adequate cognitive ability and an appropriate academic environment. Learning disorders include difficulties learning to read, write, and understand mathematics. Learning disorders affecting reading are the most common type of learning disorders and typically include poor phonemic awareness, poor spelling, and difficulties comprehending what has been read. Poor visual and/or auditory processing and memory can also contribute to learning difficulties. Most learning disorder evaluations include measures to assess intellectual ability, academic achievement, attention, memory, and behavioral and emotional functioning.
Children with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often vary greatly in terms of symptoms and how they appear to parents and teachers. Some children and teens with ADHD are primarily inattentive, some are primarily hyperactive and impulsive, and some are both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. Children who are primarily inattentive are often slow to complete homework, have trouble listening to and following directions, and seem forgetful. Children who are primarily hyperactive and impulsive often have difficulty sitting still, frequently interrupt others, and seem to speak and act impulsively. Children who are both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive experience problems associated with both inattention and hyperactivity. A common misconception is that children with ADHD can’t pay attention. Even children with ADHD can pay attention; however, they struggle with what they pay attention to and the length of time they can maintain attention. Children who are diagnosed with ADHD show impairment both at home and at school. In order to evaluate a child for ADHD, a typical testing battery includes measures of intellectual functioning, attention, memory, academic achievement, behavior both at home and at school, and emotional functioning. Often, children with anxiety or depression can appear inattentive. Therefore, a comprehensive assessment battery is important to rule out other factors that may produce inattention.