When indicated, we offer comprehensive testing and evaluation services. Among the types of evaluations we provide are psychological evaluations to help guide appropriate therapeutic intervention; psychological evaluations to determine current psychological functioning for legal or other allied professionals, comprehensive ADHD (ADD) assessment of children, adolescents, and adults; psychoeducational testing and learning disability screening, including Intelligence Testing (IQ) and Achievement Testing; as well as risk assessment for problematic sexual behavior in children and adolescents.
Why get a psychological assessment?
There are various uses for a psychological assessment, which often includs psychological testing (administration of tests and questionnaires). The evaluation may be requested by an authority such as the court or required by an organization in order to answer a question (e.g., competency, custody evaluations) or eligibility for services or special accommodations (e.g., special education, regional center, college exam boards, college accommodations). An assessment may be needed for cognitive rehabilitation purposes (e.g., following a traumatic brain injury or stroke) or prior to medical treatment (e.g., chemotherapy, medication for Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) to establish a baseline to help providers track the progress of the illness and / or treatment. Perhaps the most common need for psychological assessment is for diagnostic clarification in order to guide treatment or other supports needed to maximize a person’s ability to function at their best in their environment.
A good psychological assessment can serve many functions that can be critical in treatment planning. For example, when a child or teenager is struggling with behavioral problems and academic difficulties, this could be due to a wide variety of factors (e.g., mental health problems, social skills deficits, an undiagnosed learning disability, neuropsychological deficits, Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder, intellectual giftedness- to name a few). A comprehensive psychological evaluation could help providers and educators better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the individual child and clarify the supports that child needs.
I specialize in working with diverse populations, including cultural minorities, medically fragile children, and children with severe behavioral difficulties. This population can be difficult to assess because of the special needs involved. My philosophy is that the results of assessments are only as good as the fit of the appropriate expertise, testing instruments, and the comfort level of the person being tested. Often times, children who are actually quite bright get misdiagnosed as being impaired due to inappropriate testing measures or the evaluator not having the experience to accommodate issues that children with special needs present with. I use a variety of tests and diagnostic methods to capture each individual’s profile of strengths and weaknesses. I conduct psychological assessments, neuropsychological assessments, and psychoeducational assessments. Some questions and conditions that I can assess include:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders (a.k.a. Pervasive Developmental Disorder-NOS, Asperger’s Disorder, Autism)
- Learning Disabilities and Academic Underachievement (e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, reading disabilities, math learning disability, disorder of written expression)
- Intellectual Giftedness
- Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD / NVLD)
- Intellectual Disability (aka mental retardation)
- Diagnostic clarification for psychiatric disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, behavioral disorders, bipolar disorder)
What the process involves:
Assessments typically involve multiple steps before I can provide you with results. How much time required to complete an assessment varies widely depending upon the clinical questions asked. For example, if you are an adult without a history of significant mental health problems and simply would like an assessment for a learning disability or ADHD, the assessment may only require an initial interview, testing session, and feedback meeting. For child assessments, I routinely involve parents in the evaluation process, observe the child in their school or other natural envirnment, and obtain collateral information from community providers (including teachers) whenever possible.
If you are wondering if an assessment is appropriate or are interested in obtaining assessment services from me, please contact me. We will begin with a free initial phone consultation where we discuss the presenting problems and whether or not an assessment at this time would be appropriate. I may also want to review previous testing and educational records. If an assessment is indicated, I may schedule an initial interview to gather additional information to inform an assessment plan. For children, I may ask for your permission to observe your child in his / her early intervention or school program. The testing phase where I administer standardized tests or other assessment procedures can involve just one or several appointments, depending on how much testing is needed to answer the questions you have and how well you or your child can engage during the testing sessions. After testing, we will schedule a feedback meeting where we discuss the results, my impressions, and recommendations. I will also provide you with a detailed psychological assessment report that can be shared with others (e.g., schools, primary care provider, psychiatrist).
The selection of assessment instruments is a decision that depends on various factors, including the clinical questions at hand, intellectual profile of the individual, language functioning, behavioral characteristics, and cultural background. I draw from an extensive batter of empirically supported testing instruments. The following are examples of some of the tests that I use:
I use a variety of intelligence tests for toddlers, children, and adults including the Wechsler scales, the Stanford-Binet, Woodcock-Johnson, and nonverbal tests designed to capture an individual’s abilities.
These include tests of memory, attention, executive functioning, social thinking, visuo-motor coordination, phonological processing, and higher-order thinking. Some examples of tests here are the Delis-Kaplan Executive Functioning System (D-KEFS) and the NEPSY-II.
Achievement and Learning Process:
This includes tests of math caluclation, math problem solving, reading fluency, reading comprehension, written expression, oral language comprehension, as well as processes that contribute to these academic skills. Some examples of tests here are the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, 3rd ed. (WIAT-III), Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, 2nd ed (CTOPP-2), and the Gray Oral Reading Test, 5th ed. (GORT-5).
I use a variety of objective and projective tests to evaluate emotional coping style, interpersonal process, and how an individual might perceive the world or particular situations. Some examples of tests here are the Rorschach Inkblot Test and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI).
Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Developmental Disabilities:
I have worked with children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities for over 14-years. I use a variety of research supported tests and procedures to evaluate whether a child or adult has an autism spectrum disorder. This includes the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2), measures of adaptive functioning, and measures of social thinking. I believe that a good assessment of a child’s development not only provides a clear picture of where the child is on the autism spectrum, but also offers recommendations and resources to parents, other providers, and schools to help maximize that child’s potential.