What to Expect
A comprehensive psychological assessment begins with an interview with the parent in order to gain a thorough understanding of the child’s history and current functioning. The face-to-face testing with the child typically requires between 9 and 12 hours, divided over a few days, depending on the nature of the referral question. Afterward, the psychologist scores and analyzes the data, and prepares a comprehensive report explaining and summarizing the results of the evaluation. Additionally, the report includes specific recommendations that parents, teachers, and providers can implement to help the child achieve his/her full potential. A one- to two-hour feedback session is scheduled with the parents to review the results. The child or adolescent often attends a separate meeting after the parents have received the results so that they can gain an understanding of their strengths and areas to improve.
What should I tell my child before the evaluation?
What you share with your child about the evaluation depends on how much he/she can understand. Be straightforward and brief, and use language that your child is familiar with, such as “trouble reading,” “problems listening,” or “trouble making friends.” Tell your child that you are trying to learn more about his/her strengths in order to help him/her. You may also tell your child that nobody gets every question right, and that the important thing is to “try your best.” Most children find the evaluation interesting, and they enjoy the interactive nature of the assessment. The information that is learned will contribute to your child’s learning and success.
Day of the evaluation:
Psychological evaluation appointments are typically spread out over multiple days, in order to ensure that the child is sustaining maximum attention and effort, and to minimize problems with fatigue. The activities vary among hands-on tasks, visual-spatial puzzles, verbally answering questions, drawing, and play-based interactions. Plenty of breaks will be scheduled into the session, and your child can request additional breaks as needed. Please send a snack or lunch with your child, as this will help maintain attention and energy.