Why am I being referred for testing?
A psychological evaluation involves you meeting with a psychologist for some hours to complete a set of procedures:
- Some activities may seem more school related (spelling, reading, writing, etc.)
- Others may include drawings, filling out questionnaires etc.
- You will be asked very detailed question about your strengths and symptoms
- Often mental health professionals (therapist, psychiatrist) request a psychological evaluation to help them better understand the areas you need help in.
- Similar to an x-ray or labs that a medical doctor would order.
- They want to make sure you are receiving treatment for all the areas you need support in.
- This helps the professionals make better decisions for your treatment.
When is a psychological assessment needed?
- To evaluate a person who may have a difficulties with cognition (thinking) due to an organic brain problem, current or previous substance abuse, or an ongoing medical problem.
- To evaluate a person who may have a psychological problem that is undiagnosed, misdiagnosed or mismanaged.
- To serve as a guide in treatment planning or to guide recommendations as to placement in a specific treatment center or in deciding what treatment modality is most appropriate (e.g. residential versus outpatient or behavioral intervention versus an exploratory approach).
- To evaluate a person with a learning disability such as Attention Deficit (ADD) Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Dyslexia, Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), Visual Processing Disorder, Non-verbal learning disorder, Autism, or Sensory Integration Disorder (Dyspraxia). This may be necessary to obtain special considerations for school or test-taking.
- To evaluate behavioral problems that may be adversely affecting school or work functioning.
- Intelligence testing such as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores for evaluation for gifted/advanced coursework or special education curricula.
- To evaluate a person’s current status, social functioning, use of medications and psychoactive substances.
- To evaluate applicants for specific jobs that require evaluation of psychological health and cognitive functioning.
Why should someone be tested?
- Provide a measure of intellectual functioning and potential.
- Identify learning styles and/or learning disorders.
- Clarify diagnosis when complex symptoms and behaviors are present.
- Assess for giftedness, developmental delays or Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Identify underlying factors that may be impacting one’s interpersonal relationships, motivation, functioning at school or work, social-emotional functioning or challenges managing impulses and behavior.
How do I rule out other factors?
Starting the Test
What is my role in the testing process?
How can I do my best during testing?
- If you (or your child) take medication, make sure that it has been taken according to instructions on the day of testing. If you (or your child) have not taken them as prescribed, please tell us.
- If your (or your child’s) physical condition or emotional state is somehow compromised on the day of testing, please inform the examiner. For example: feeling under the weather; taking medication that would make one drowsy; a poor night’s sleep prior; a death in the family, etc. These types of things can affect performance on some of the tests used for psychological evaluations.
- A good night’s sleep prior to testing. Being sleepy during testing can affect overall concentration on timed tasks in particular.
- Eat well before testing. It is also fine to bring a snack if testing is going to last for a prolonged period of time.
- Take breaks when offered and ask for breaks if needed. Testing can feel tiresome. We will offer scheduled breaks during long appointments. Breaks are a good time to eat a snack, use the restroom, or, for children, spend time playing with a favorite game or toy.
Can I go back to work or school after I’m done?
What happens when testing is complete?
Typically, reports include:
- A list of tests administered
- The reason for testing
- Pertinent background information
- Behavioral observations
- School observation, when indicated
- Test scores
- Interpretation of test scores
- Diagnostic impressions (if applicable)
Once the report is complete, we will schedule a feedback session with you, during which we will review the final report and answer any of your questions.
Depending on the reason for testing, with your permission, we will sometimes meet with others, such as school officials or treatment providers, to review the report as well.