A good psychological evaluation gives parents, school personnel, and other professionals a better understanding of the child's personal strengths and weaknesses across domains important to learning and development. Identifying and understanding a problem is often the first step in solving it. Psychological testing provides diagnostic information needed to design school programming, home interventions, and possibly medical treatments.
Psychological testing is requested for a variety of purposes; therefore, an evaluation is designed based on the presenting concern. Most evaluations include the following components: parent and teacher interviews, a complete developmental history, a review of previous records, and direct testing of the child's cognitive, academic, visual-motor, memory, attention, and language skills. Interviews and questionnaires are also used to assess the child's emotional/behavioral functioning and adaptive skills. Specialized batteries are used to diagnose autism spectrum disorders.
Generally, a diagnosis of ADHD can be made based on a thorough clinical interview and the collection of behavior rating scales. In some cases, however, the child's difficulties are not fully explained by this diagnosis. Psychological testing reveals other factors that contribute to a child's attention and behavioral problems, such as anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, or language impairments.
A comprehensive evaluation for an autism spectrum disorder should include a structured interview with the parents regarding developmental, medical, and behavioral history. A structured, play-based assessment with the child, such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), is also recommended. Rating scales can provide good information regarding the child's behavior across settings and may also be useful in determining the level of symptom severity. Dr. Fogle routinely includes school-based observations in her evaluations for autism spectrum disorders. Developmental and/or cognitive testing may also be included in an evaluation. It is recommended that a full speech-language evaluation be conducted privately or within the schools if a diagnosis of autism is being considered.
An intake interview involves taking a complete medical/developmental/family history, completing a review of clinical symptoms/problems, and distributing rating scales for parents and teachers. The evaluation process is discussed during this appointment and plans are made for the next steps in the process. The interview generally lasts 90 minutes.
The report is a written document that provides a summary of all evaluation findings in an integrated and understandable format. Diagnostic impressions are provided and an extensive list of personalized recommendations is provided based on the child's profile.
The report is reviewed in person with the family and questions or concerns are addressed. The family is also provided with guidance on how to implement the recommendations included in the report. The feedback session generally lasts 60-90 minutes.
The office does not file insurance; however, a detailed bill is provided so that clients might file claims independently. Insurance companies vary in terms of reimbursement for testing and clients are advised to contact their insurance company before beginning the evaluation process if they are planning to seek reimbursement.