Q. What is psychological testing?
A. Psychological testing is a three-step process in which the client does an initial intake, completes assessments, and then obtains the report. The initial evaluation entails of sitting down and talking over basic background information. This includes going over current medications, providers, prior diagnoses, current concerns and any other vital information. Some assessments may be provided during the initial visit. A secondary visit is necessary to complete testing. Once the assessments are complete, a third appointment will be made to go over the report with the client or legal guardians, correct any issues, and discuss any questions or concerns.
Q. What do you test for?
A. I am able to test for autism, ADHD, academic concerns, dysgraphia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, anxiety/depression including post-traumatic stress disorder, personality testing, and memory difficulties. Academic concerns including deficits in math, written language and expressive language. Dyslexia is a specific written language disorder in which an individual has difficulty reading. This typically entails confusion on similar letters such as “b, d, p, q.” Dysgraphia is a specific form of written language disorder in which the individual has difficulty writing and spelling. This may include confusion identifying or properly writing letters such as “q, p, b, d, e” and “P, L, J, D, S, Z.” Dyscalculia is a specific mathematical disorder in which an individual writes certain numbers backwards such as “3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9;” cannot remember numbers in a random order, phone numbers, or house address number; or cannot count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s. Not every learning disorder is one of these three forms of dyslexia however it is important to know when the individual is dealing with more than just a learning disorder and requires additional educational support. In addition to identifying diagnoses, I can also confirm prior diagnoses, or rule out a diagnosis.
Q. What is involved in general testing?
A. All testing involves an IQ assessment and various personality assessments. These assessments are able to assist in identifying anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and personality disorders. Non-specific testing is often used when the client complains of specific difficulties but has not definite diagnosis. The testing typically takes two to four hours depending on the assessments used.
Q. What is involved in academic testing?
A. Academic testing involves an IQ assessment, academic assessment, parent and teacher assessments. Reasons for academic assessment may include difficulties in school, decreasing grades, trouble with a teacher, behavior differences between school and home, suspected attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in school, or suspected learning disability. These assessments are used to identify various forms of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, math calculation difficulties, writing difficulties, reading difficulties, or comprehension difficulties. Additional difficulties may also arise in testing such as anxiety, depression, processing difficulties, or memory difficulties. Academic assessments typically take up to four hours however it is possible to take longer.
Q. What is involved in testing for autism?
A. Autism spectrum disorder is a disorder that can affect an individual’s ability to communicate, ability to engage in social situations, and adapt to new situations. Individuals with autism may experience restrictive interests and repetitive behaviors. Assessments used to identify autism include an IQ assessment, parent and teacher assessments, personality assessment, projective testing, and possible academic testing. Various assessments are used to properly diagnose autism and avoid a misdiagnosis, therefore additional testing may be deemed necessary after speaking with the client. Typically, autism testing takes up to four hours to complete.
Q. What is involved in testing for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
A. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a psychological condition in which an individual experiences difficulty controlling their thought process and/or behaviors. They often feel as if their brain is going non-stop and some individual may exhibit “nervous energy” through constant moving. Some examples of “nervous energy” include leg bouncing, speaking quickly, quickly switching between topics when talking, jumping around furniture, or being unable to finish a task before beginning another. Assessing for ADHD includes an IQ test, projective testing, parent and teacher assessments. Academic assessments may also be necessary depending on the situation. Assessing for ADHD may take up to 5 hours, depending on the assessments necessary.
Q. What is involved in testing memory issues?
A. Memory testing involves an IQ assessment, memory assessment, and personality assessments. These assessments are used to identify memory difficulties, either specific to certain details or generalized. Memory assessments typically take up to five hours.
Q. Does an IQ test tell me how smart I or my child are?
A. No. An IQ test measures various skill sets such as processing speed, puzzle solving, math solving, and memory recall. It allows us to see if there are any specific areas where the individual is having issues. This in turn allows us to rule out additional or similar conditions. We can suggest various techniques to help the individual where their deficits lay, based on their test results.
Q. Can you tell me the specific assessments I will be taking?
A. No. The number and types of assessments will depend on the issue being tested, client’s age, disabilities, and other variables. You will be informed about the assessments for your individual case before they are administered.
Q. Are the assessments reliable?
A. Yes. Each assessment has been tested for reliability before being made available for use. In order to ensure the client is getting the most reliable results, issues are typically cross examined through several assessments.
Q. What do the assessments show you?
A. The assessments show me if there is a specific area where you are having issues. Your issues could be with memory, writing, math, sadness, anger, or various other issues. The assessments help me understand what your issues could be, assist me in providing a list of recommendations, and guides any therapy treatments.
Q. Is there anything to worry about?
A. No. Each assessment is different, and some take less time than others. The longer assessments have several sections in order to keep you engaged. You will have the opportunities to take small breaks to get some water, use the bathroom, or stand up and walk around. I try to keep you engaged and if I see you getting tired, I can reschedule you so you do your best.
Q. Should I study for the assessment?
A. There is nothing to study for. The assessments provided are not like school and are not pass or fail. Each assessment is designed to measure your individual skills according to your age and/or grade. All I ask is that you come ready to focus and do your best.
Q. How can I prepare for the assessments?
A. The best way to prepare for the assignments is to get a good night sleep, eat breakfast, and come ready to test. I cannot test anyone who is drunk, under the influence of a substance, have taken non-prescription drugs within 24 hours of testing (including marijuana and synthetic drugs), or are detoxing from a substance. Children are allowed to bring a stuffed animal or “lovey” with them if they are anxious about testing. This will not alter the results.
Q. What happens if I lie on the assessment?
A. There is a difference between lying on the assessment and not understanding a question. I am available to help if you don’t understand something. However, if you lie on the assessment, it will show during scoring. Any purposeful deception during testing could result in having to return to the office for retesting and will be reported in the final report. Lying on the assessments will not be beneficial. The only way I can help you and provide you get the best treatment options is to know what is truly going on.
Q. Can I bring food in with me?
A. A small snack and water bottle may be allowed during the day of testing. Do not bring anything that crumbles like crackers, bacon, chips, or meals.
Q. Can I have anything else in the room with me?
A. No. There will be no time for anything else during testing. Any cell phones, headphones, or other electronics will be turned off during testing.
Q. As a parent or legal guardian, can I sit in with my child during the assessments?
A. No. I try to complete testing without the adults in the room. If the child has behavioral issues, I will come get the parents or guardian to try and resolve the issue, but typically the adults remain in the waiting room during testing.
Q. How long does it usually take to get the report?
A. I try to get the reports done in no more than one month after I receive all the assessments. This may depend significantly on getting parental and teacher assessments back. The time frame may be shorter depending on appointment availability, holidays, and assessment completion.