Psychological testing, psychoeducational testing, and neuropsychological evaluation is an intensive service provided by psychologists to determine whether a specific diagnosis or concern is present, determine the cause of particular symptoms, and provide a means of ruling out other possible issues. Such evaluation typically include an initial diagnostic interview, formal testing, gathering collateral information from those close to you, along with surveys and questionnaires, followed by a review of the findings to ensure your understanding of the results, and a final report with detailed recommendations for treatment, supports, and strategies to reduce your distress, provide direction for treatment, and improve your daily life.
We provide psychological assessments for:
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, formerly called ADD)
- Learning Disorders including Written Expression, Math Disorder, and Reading Disorders
- General Mental Health diagnostics and Mood Disorders such as Bipolar Disorder
- Autism Spectrum
The tests we administer depend on the referral question. For those wishing to determine whether they have a Learning Disorder, formal testing including achievement measures both timed and untimed are required along with cognitive function and measures of attention, reading, written communication, and mathematics. To determine a learning disorder requires extensive testing and cannot be diagnosed with accuracy by a diagnostic interview alone.
Similarly, there is no one measure that is recognized as diagnosing ADHD therefore several different areas must be examine to ensure the diagnosis is correct and to rule out other possible concerns that can results in difficulties with attention and concentration. Measures of cognitive functioning, executive function, memory (both visual and auditory), attention, and completion of tasks under both timed and untimed constraints are necessary along with collateral information and educational background is gathered and interpreted.
Determining a general mental health diagnosis can also include a variety of measures to assist in clarifying a complex presentation to assist with treatment whether medication, therapy or both. Diagnoses can be particularly challenging when there are a variety of concerns that raise barriers in employment situations, socially, and within relationships and between family members.
For those exploring whether they may be on the autism spectrum we offer a full battery of measures including surveys, collateral information from family members, measures of social perception, cognitive function, executive function, and rule outs for other conditions that can mimic the symptoms of autism are completed.
Each of the above evaluations includes a Feedback session and a comprehensive report. We are also willing to consult with your current provider to assist in treatment planning and any accommodations you may require at school or on the job.
First there is a diagnostic interview that reviews your intake questionnaire in addition to a structured interview that allows us to gather background information, current symptoms, changes you have experienced both recently and long-term, and current concerns. For example, if we are assessing possible ADHD, we would discuss your difficulty with attention and distraction in various settings.
During the formal testing you may complete surveys that have no right or wrong answer and are based on your experience; and actual tests that may remind you of school (if completing achievement measures) or remind you of aptitude tests involving problems and puzzle type activities. Some activities may be timed while others are not.
Following the testing you will be scheduled to attend a Feedback Session. You may choose to have a parent or family member attend the meeting with you if you like. The feedback session will review the findings of the evaluation and the interpretation of your psychologist in an understandable manner. Any diagnosis will also be discussed along with strategies for treatment and supports.
A formal, written report, usually 10-20 pages in length, is then written. The report summarizes what we discussed in the Feedback session along with the test results from the evaluation you completed. The report will also provide you with formal diagnoses, if appropriate. More importantly, the report includes treatment recommendations so you will have a plan to address your concerns. For example, if you are diagnosed with ADHD, you will have a complete list of things you can do to help yourself and treatment recommendations specifically designed to address your needs.
Some diagnoses require that you complete a psychological assessment to be correctly diagnosed. Moreover, if you have ADHD and/or a Learning Disorder or another mental health diagnosis that would negative affect your ability to perform in the workplace or educational setting, a psychological assessment can provide you with recommendations to help you succeed. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) educational and workplace settings are required by law to make reasonable accommodations for you. A common example of this is students who complete a psychological assessment, are diagnosed with ADHD, and need more extended test-taking time in school in a room by themselves to improve concentration. For more information on the Americans with Disability Act, please visit ADA.gov.
Working with a professional allows you to benefit from years of training and experiencing with complex conditions. For example, most people are aware of some of the common characteristics of autism such as limited eye contact, unusual speech patterns, poor social interaction and difficulty with social cues; however, recent literature and research has shown that many times women present with different symptoms than men and sometimes fail to meet what is “traditionally” noted as spectrum like behaviors. Also, our familiarity with working with folks on the spectrum has taught us that “Once you have met one person on the Autistic Spectrum…you have met one person on the Autism Spectrum” in that most folks on the Spectrum have a presentation that is as varied as those not on the Spectrum.
Providing diagnoses is part of the assessment process. We also understand that you may think of a diagnosis as being a negative label and fearing some of the emotions that may come with receiving a diagnosis which is one the main reasons we provide a Feedback session to address any concerns you might have and how to cope with it if you find it to be upsetting. The purpose of providing a diagnosis is to allow treatment or medical providers a common language for treatment and it is not to reduce your experience or make you feel bad about yourself. Actually, the majority of clients we have worked with have expressed feeling relieved after receiving a diagnosis. For someone who has struggled with ADHD or a Learning Disorder all of their life, it can be liberating to find that ADHD or a Learning Disorder was the cause of their difficulties at school or work and has nothing to do with their being “unmotivated, or stupid, or lazy;” frequent terms they’ve been accused of throughout their life.