Having trouble focusing?
Think a learning disorder in reading, writing, or math is present?
Know there are issues, but have no idea what specifically is causing difficulties?
An evaluation can answer these and many other questions as well. Formal testing can provide a highly detailed understanding of a person's cognitive, attention/executive function, academic, and emotional functioning. One could consider a formal evaluation as a sort of "user guide" to understanding themselves or their children/teens. In addition, the results can be used to help guide treatment and academic interventions, including providing documentation to seek out formal accommodations in school and for standardized exams (i.e., SAT, ACT).
At The Heller Psychology Group, we offer a variety of testing/evaluation services. The more common types of assessments that we offer are described below. In addition, we offer a range of more specialized types of evaluations. If you are unsure whether our testing services would address your individual needs, please contact us and we would be happy to setup a time to assist you in determining which type of evaluation and/or treatment would best serve your needs.
Of note, sometimes people get confused with terminology regarding evaluation types such as a psychological, psychoeducational, or neuropsychological evaluation. The bottom line is that you want to focus on what the problem is, thoroughly evaluating it, and then using the results to determine appropriate recommendations. At our office, we focus on an individualized approach using standardized and other instruments to figure out what is going on and how to solve it.
Psychological evaluations are conducted to examine an individual's mental health functioning, assess for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), provide clarification on diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, OCD, as well as a variety of other issues.
Psychoeducational evaluations are similar to psychological evaluations, except that there is greater focus on academic functioning/assessing for learning disabilities, ADHD, and sometimes less emphasis on emotional functioning. Consultations with teachers and classroom observations are often conducted with parent permission as part of the evaluation.
A variety of neuropsychological tests (i.e., ones that evaluate abilities linked to brain function) are often included in our psychological and psychoeducational evaluations.
Evaluations usually have the following components:
Provides an opportunity for the clinician to gain in-depth information about a client’s history and present level of functioning.
A variety of standardized objective and projective instruments are used to empirically assess behavior, cognitive functioning, visual-motor skills, executive functioning, level of achievement, presence of mood symptoms, and a variety of other items.
The client (depending on their age) and their parents (when applicable) meet with the examiner to go over the results once the written report is complete. The findings are discussed as well as in-depth recommendations. Dr. Heller prides himself on providing individualized recommendations that include formal accommodations, suggestions for the child/teen to use themselves (i.e., specific apps, ways to organize papers, study tools, methods to structure time, improve efficiency, etc.), as well as tools for parents and providers (i.e., tutors, therapists) to use to assist the client.
The exact steps will vary somewhat based on the specific type of evaluation being conducted, but these are the general steps involved when having an evaluation completed:
1) Call the office/email to setup appointments for the following:
- Parent clinical interview
- Testing sessions (usually two)
The clinician will do a brief phone intake to make sure testing makes sense and then schedule everything for you.
2) Attend testing sessions:
- The same clinician will complete all portions of testing (and feedback)
- Depending on the type of evaluation and other factors, testing will likely be broken down into two sessions on different days that last about four to five hours each.
- If necessary, testing can be spread out over additional sessions.
3) Initial feedback session. If interested, you may setup a meeting with the clinician to go over preliminary results. These typically occur within one to one and a half weeks following completion of testing.
4) Formal feedback session and receipt of completed report. Report completion times vary based on the type of evaluation. Once the report is complete, you will be contacted to setup a time to come in to go over the results. The clinician will also help implement recommendations during this meeting.
5) Follow up. If you need further assistance getting recommendations put in place, navigating the IEP process, working with teachers to implement specific strategies, or other assistance, the clinician who completed the evaluation is available to help with any follow up services.