Psychoeducational, Psychological, and Developmental Assessments
WHAT IS A PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, OR DEVELOPMENTAL EVALUATION?
Psychoeducational, psychological, and developmental evaluations are comprehensive assessments that include a series of standardized tests and measurements, clinical interviews, review of relevant clinical and medical history, and behavioral observations. The results of the assessment measures are utilized to create a detailed profile of individual’s cognitive, behavioral, and psychosocial functioning. Thorough written reports that discuss results, any relevant diagnoses and recommendations are generated. The purpose of the evaluation may include diagnostic clarity, treatment recommendations, academic planning, and identification of appropriate services. The clinicians at NCFWC will help families to determine their specific goals for the evaluation. Common referral questions involve developmental delays, ADHD, specific learning disorders, intellectual giftedness, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or other psychosocial conditions.
THE EVALUATION PROCESS
Assessment Intake: For clients who are under 18 years of age, the first appointment is a parent/guardian-only clinical intake. For adult clients, an intake will be completed during the initial testing block. This appointment allows for the clinician to discuss the presenting referral questions that prompted the evaluation, review the initial intake paperwork, obtain additional information regarding relevant clinical/academic/medical history, and identify goals for the evaluation. This appointment will be scheduled on a day prior to the testing date and usually lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
Testing Block(s): Testing is typically scheduled over the course of one to two mornings with sessions lasting approximately three to four hours. Time will vary depending on the client’s age, referral questions, and/or stamina. Additional time may be scheduled if needed. Breaks are incorporated within the testing block. If the client typically wears glasses, then ensure that glasses are brought on the day of testing. It is recommended that snacks and drinks be packed and brought to the testing appointment. If a testing client takes stimulant medication (e.g., ADHD medications), please consult with your NCFWC clinician about the appropriateness of taking the medication on the day of testing. We also recommend recent (within the year) hearing and vision screenings so those can be ruled as factors in testing results.
Feedback Appointment: Once testing is complete, and the evaluation report is prepared, a feedback appointment is scheduled. At this appointment, the parents/guardians, or client if over the age of 18, receive a copy of the evaluation. The clinician reviews the testing results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations. If the testing client is an adolescent, then the clinician may recommend a separate feedback appointment with the testing client.
*On occasion, a classroom observation or social observation may be indicated. This will be discussed with the parents/guardians during the evaluation process.
*Prior to the feedback appointment, the parents/guardians should review the Evaluation Checklist (included in the testing information packet) to ensure that they have completed all necessary items. If all necessary items have not been completed, the final report may be delayed.
RATING SCALE FAQ
Why do we ask for rating scales?
When we complete psychoeducational, psychological, and developmental evaluations, our goal is to assess your child as comprehensively as possible. While we are able to gather critical information during our testing sessions, the face-to-face time we spend during these sessions provides only a snapshot of an individual’s overall functioning. The additional information we gather as part of the evaluation, including data parents provide during intake interviews and through completion of the intake questionnaire, review of previous evaluations and other educational documents (e.g., IEPs, 504 Plans, report cards, etc.), and rating scales help us better understand a child’s development, history of presenting concerns, and daily functioning across settings.
What do these scales measure?
The particular measures you and your child’s teacher will be asked to complete will vary to some degree depending on the referral questions. For most children, parents and teachers will at least be asked to complete one rating scale that takes a broad look at behavioral and emotional functioning (e.g., internalizing concerns, such as anxiety and depression; externalizing behaviors, such as hyperactivity and defiance; and adaptive behaviors, such as social skills and activities of daily living) and another scale that examines attention problems, hyperactivity/impulsivity, and executive functioning more specifically. You may be asked to complete additional scales if they are relevant to your child’s presenting concerns. For instance, if there is a suspicion of an autism spectrum disorder, you will likely be given rating scales that asks about social and communication skills as well as sensory issues and restricted interests.
Like other tests and measures used during psychoeducational, psychological, and developmental evaluations, the rating scales we request that you complete are standardized. This means that they allow us to compare individuals to an appropriate peer group and understand how your concerns may be similar to or different from parents (or teachers) of same-age children.
What if some questions don’t seem to apply to my child?
As these rating scales are designed to assess a broad range of behaviors and aspects of social-emotional functioning, we expect some of the questions will not apply to every child. We still request that you answer every question, indicating the frequency of the behavior (e.g., indicate “never” if it is not applicable). Even if your child is referred due to learning concerns, for example, it is helpful to rule out attention problems, executive function deficits, anxiety, etc., that may be contributing to the difficulties you observe.
Are teacher rating scales required?
While teacher ratings are not required per se, they are typically beneficial in the assessment process. Rating scales measure the presence or frequency of certain behaviors or skills and are dependent on the perceptions of the rater. By gathering information from multiple sources (e.g., parents, teachers, other important people in your child’s life), we are able to reduce the influence of rater bias. In addition, the diagnostic criteria for some disorders, such as ADHD, require the presence of particular behaviors in two or more environments; without input from teachers or adults from environments other than home, we cannot make certain diagnoses. We also understand that children behave differently in different environments and strive to capture a broad sample of observations and perceptions of your child.
Fees for Testing Services
Please call our office to discuss evaluation fees.
The evaluation fee covers the necessary testing appointments including the intake appointment, the testing blocks, report writing, and feedback appointment. There is a non-refundable deposit of $300.00 due at the time of scheduling. This deposit is applied towards the comprehensive evaluation fee, and the remainder of the fee will be due at the day of testing. If the full payment is not received by the first day of testing, the evaluation will be rescheduled or cancelled.
Please note that our clinicians are out-of-network providers; therefore, we do not accept insurance. Documentation of services can be provided to clients if they choose to file with their insurance to seek reimbursement. Parents/guardians may want to inquire about their out-of-network benefits. For reimbursement purposes, insurance companies may require a prior authorization. It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to obtain the necessary information/paperwork for a prior authorization.
ALLISON BENDER, PHD, HSP
Clinical and School Psychologist
A licensed clinical and school psychologist, Dr. Bender’s treatment focuses on developmental, behavioral, and emotional challenges including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorders, social deficits/differences, disruptive behavior, and relationship difficulties. She uses a variety of evidence-based treatments, including cognitive behavior therapy, parent coaching models, mindfulness-based strategies, and exposure therapies. Her philosophy is that both assessments and therapy are most effective when they are a collaborative process, allowing clients to build upon their resources to achieve their goals.
HILARY HUGHES, PSYD, HSP
Hilary Hughes, Psy.D.,HSP is a licensed clinical psychologist committed to providing evidence-based therapy and testing/assessment services for children, adolescents, and families. Dr. Hughes obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology from Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tulsa Center for Child Psychology, where she received supervision and specialized training in empirically supported treatments for children and adolescents, family therapy, developmental evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, and psychoeducational evaluations. Dr. Hughes provides a range of assessment services, including autism and ADHD testing, in addition to providing individual and family therapeutic services that address anxiety, trauma, depression, deficits in social functioning, behaviors related to developmental delays, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, tics, and disruptive behaviors. Dr. Hughes also provides Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).
JENNIFER SEAY, LPE
Jennifer Seay is a licensed psychological examiner (LPE) who brings many years of experience in conducting psychoeducational evaluations with children, adolescents, and adults to assist in understanding their learning profiles, as well as their behavioral, emotional, social, and adaptive needs. As a mother of a child with learning differences, Jennifer has a passion for assisting parents in understanding their child’s unique learning profile with the goal of identifying supports, accommodations, and interventions that would be most supportive in helping them achieve to their potential.
DANIEL NEELY, PH.D
Daniel Neely, Ph.D., is currently completing his post-doctoral fellowship with Nashville Child and Family Wellness Center. He obtained his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, and completed his predoctoral internship at the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Dr. Neely values a collaborative and comprehensive approach to evaluation with his clients and their families. He recognizes the need for clients and their families to feel heard and understood throughout the assessment process, to balance meeting a client’s needs with emphasizing and building upon their strengths, and ensuring that each evaluation adheres to evidence-based standards of care. Dr. Neely provides assessment services to evaluate cognitive, academic, neurodevelopmental, emotional, and behavioral concerns, including: autism, ADHD, specific learning disorders, developmental delays, behavioral and adaptive functioning concerns, and mood and anxiety disorders.