What is the purpose of testing my child? How can an evaluation help?
The purpose of an evaluation (sometimes called an “assessment” or, just “testing”) is to determine the cause of your child’s observed struggles, as well as his or her strengths. An evaluation will also reveal a complete profile of how your child learns, thinks, processes information and responds to his or her environment. Much of this information comes from the results from standardized test batteries, however an evaluation includes information about the whole child and the conclusions are not derived only from test scores. In some cases, an evaluation culminates in an official diagnosis that helps your child become eligible for specific services or treatment within the school system. However, a diagnosis is not necessary in order to begin helping your child. A good evaluation helps the parents, teachers and other professionals understand your child better. Specific recommendations within this report create a blueprint that will assist all those involved to work together as a team. In this way, future planning can be designed, including future interventions, remediations and school decisions or grade choices. An important part of this evaluation is a discussion of your child’s learning style and how to best teach essential skills.
What is the general testing procedure?
There is an initial meeting between parents and Dr. Eichenstein. Together, we will compile a complete developmental history in order to gain an understanding of his or her background. This will also include relevant family history. You are expected to be completely candid and honest in divulging all known and suspected history.
All information is completely confidential and is released only upon your consent.
Dr. Eichenstein will meet with your child for a series of sessions ranging from 1 ½ to 3 hours each. All attempts are made to make this time as pleasant as possible. Most testing involves tasks like assorting blocks, drawing pictures and answering “school related” questions. They may be asked to hop, balance or skip. Both children and teens generally enjoy the evaluation experience.
As a general rule, parents do not participate in the testing sessions. They are welcome to wait in the waiting room where we will “visit” with you periodically. If the child is comfortable, you may leave for the duration of the session.
Most evaluations will cover some or all of the following areas:
· Cognitive abilities and intelligence scales (“IQ”)
· Academic achievement: In depth assessment of reading, math and writing
· Learning style evaluation
· Visual and auditory processing skills
· Memory and learning: immediate, short and long range memory skills
· Levels of attention and focus: ADHD/ADD (includes computerized testing)
· Executive Function, including judgment, planning, and problem solving
· Emotional, personality and behavioral issues, including personality assessment , mood, and social skills
· Level of pragmatic (social) speech and communication skills, receptive and expressive language
· Motor skills, coordination, proprioception, fine motor skills
Occasionally, a classroom visit may be included within the evaluation. For many children, a classroom observation is a very important part of the assessment. Additional charges will apply.
How will I get the results? Will I be able to understand the test report?
The results will be delivered as follows:
A 60-90 minute feedback session for parents
A written report for parents and other involved professionals such as schools or doctors or testing boards
A Student Profile Sheet to help guide teachers
All reports include specific recommendations and referrals for future assistance.
Follow-up treatment is available by referral: educational therapy, speech/language services, medication consultant, parent-skills training, psychotherapy.
All reports are written in a clear and user-friendly style. It is the goal of this office for every parent to understand in plain language the results of this evaluation! Additional meetings or phone consultations can be scheduled, if parents need additional clarification about their child’s report.
What if additional reports or services are needed?
You have a 30 day window from the date that you receive an evaluation to ask for changes, additional forms, or revisions. After that time, if your child requires additional follow-up services such as applications, special reports, IEP recommendations, etc, additional fees will be assessed at the usual hourly rate.
What role will the neuropsychologist have with school interventions?
Only upon your written consent, the school receives either a copy of the complete report or an abbreviated copy. This is often sufficient for teachers or for IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meetings. If requested and if my scheduling allows, I can attend school or IEP meetings. Many families have said that these on-site meetings have been valuable both for the school and parents to begin to work together. All on-site school meetings or IEP meetings are billed at the usual out-of-office hourly rate, including travel time.
How do I prepare my child for an evaluation?
Please do not bring a sick child or a sleep- deprived child to testing sessions.
Your child should be told the day before, or sooner, that he or she will be coming to meet someone who will be doing “school-like” or “play” activities with them and that they are expected to do their best job. The word “test” or “doctor” is not necessary. All efforts should be made to normalize the experience, since many children undergo routine evaluations at some time in their lives.
Teens (ages 12 and up) should be explained advance why they are being tested and should play an active part in preparing for this evaluation. They are encouraged to call this office in advance if they have questions about the evaluation.
Your child should have a good night’s rest and have a solid breakfast. Avoid giving your child sugar-laden foods or caffeine before an evaluation. This includes: sugary cereals, breakfast bars, pop-tarts, sweet rolls, doughnuts, tea, ice tea, coca cola, coffee, Snapple, etc.
After the session, some children may be mildly fatigued. Usually, a meal and fresh air will help. They can return to school that day. If they will need a note, please request that in advance.
After reading this information, what is the next step?
If you are considering requesting an evaluation for your child, please note that there is usually a wait list for testing. Call to schedule an appointment as soon as possible since you might have to wait several months before getting a testing date. Rush testing is occasionally possible, however, extra charges may be incurred.
Can a parent meet with you before making a decision about testing?
Yes. All initial consultations are done on an hourly basis. This charge will be applied to the basic evaluation fee if you decide later to have your child tested. Since there is often a wait list for testing, setting up a consultation appointment sooner rather than later is advised.