Comprehensive Psycho-educational Testing is a series of psychological tests, also called a Full Battery of Tests, administered to evaluate your child’s intellectual and cognitive functioning, academic abilities, learning style, and emotional and behavioral functioning. Children are typically referred for an assessment by their parents, pediatrician, teacher, and/or school for evaluation of the following:
• Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
• Learning Disabilities and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
• Learning/Processing Issues
• Autism Spectrum Disorders
• Emotional Disturbances (Depression, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Anger, and/or Adjustment Disorders)
• Personality Issues
• Psychological Factors associated with Medical Conditions
• Disruptive Behavior Disorders
• Parent-Child Relational Problems
• Post Separation and/or Divorce
• Social/Peer Issues
The test battery varies depending upon the referral question(s), and will include a structured interview, assessment of intellectual capability, learning/processing measures, personality testing, emotional assessment, measures of attention and memory, academic achievement measures, projective measures, behavioral ratings, self-report surveys, parent and teacher checklists, and if necessary an in-school observation.
Testing sessions are scheduled in the morning when children function at their best. The number of testing sessions scheduled depends on your child’s age and number of tests/measures being administered.
I will answer any questions that you may have regarding specific tests that will be administered to your child prior to testing.
What should I tell my child about the appointment?
Preparing your child for testing will minimize anxiety and encourage cooperation. Before the day of testing, it is helpful to discuss what the day will be like with your child. Try to avoid calling it “testing,” as this word makes many children anxious.
Explain that children learn in different ways and that testing will help parents and teachers understand how he/she learns best. The day will include a variety of questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories as well as some school-like tasks like reading and math. While your child will be challenged, he or she will probably have fun with some of the tasks. I also have a prize box with age appropriate prizes for children.
On the day of testing, make sure your child is well rested and has eaten a good breakfast. Please bring healthy snacks that you think your child may like and a drink preferably water. Arrive a few minutes before your scheduled time to allow your child to become familiar me and to get settled before starting. Make sure your child understands that we will be meeting alone.
To avoid fatigue, breaks will be taken during the testing to allow your child to use the restroom and have a drink or snack. A full battery will take approximately 4-6 hours to complete, and about an equal amount of time will be needed to score the tests, interpret them, and write a psychological assessment report.
For children under 9, I require parents to remain in the lobby for the duration of the testing. It is at your discretion to remain or run errands if your child is over 9, but please make sure that I have your phone number at which you can be reached immediately in case of illness or other difficulty.
Is the cost covered by insurance?
Many insurance companies do not cover psychological testing, and those who do will typically only reimburse a portion of the costs. It is your responsibility to contact your insurance company to determine benefits.
If your insurance company requests a list of the tests being administered, I can provide that for you. You will receive a coded billing statement, called a “super bill”, at your feedback session, which you may file with your insurance company for reimbursement. If you decide to file with your insurance, you will sign an authorization form, allowing me to speak with your insurance company if your insurance company contacts me.
What is the cost for psychological testing?
Psychological testing involves administration, scoring, and interpretation of tests; it also requires that I prepare a written report and meet with the parents to review the results and recommendations. A partial payment is required on the day of testing, with the balance due at your feedback session (results review appointment). Accepted forms of payment are cash, check, or credit card.
What happens after the testing is complete?
I complete comprehensive reports within 7 business days after testing is complete and gifted reports within 24 hours. Once the report is complete, you will return to the office without your child for review of the results a discussion. (If your child is to come with you, we will have discussed this ahead of time.) This results review appointment, called a feedback session, typically takes 90 minutes. At this appointment, I will review the testing results, discuss recommendations, and answer any questions you may have.
A written report is provided at the review session and a final report will be prepared within one week following that appointment. The report provides a written record of the testing that was completed, and specific recommendations so that parents, educational staff, physicians, and other professionals working with your child can coordinate a treatment plan with my assistance that will enable your child to succeed.
If you would like the report sent to the school, you will be asked to sign a release, so that the report can be sent directly to the identified school professionals. Reports are not sent directly to schools without the parents’ consent. In addition, I am available to go with you and meet with school personnel in order to ensure that the appropriate recommendations for your child are being implemented by request.
I have my vendor badge approval from the Palm Beach School District Police Department. This means that I can provide services directly at any school located in Palm Beach County. In addition, my approved vendor badge status allows me to go to your child’s school without an appointment and make sure that all of the agreed upon recommendations have been implemented for your child. With your consent, I will continue to do these “surprise school check-ups” one year after testing.
How can you help your child if a learning disability is diagnosed?
I will provide you with individualized accommodations for both home and school based on your child’s diagnosis, personality, strengths, and needs. In addition, I will provide you with book recommendations to help you learn more about your child’s diagnosis and books specifically for your child so that he/she will have a better understanding of his/her diagnosis and its impact. For example, if your child is struggling with organization, prioritization, and time management, here are examples of my recommendations:
Use your child’s cell phone:
There are apps, calendar reminders, and alarms that can be used to prompt your child to start an activity or switch tasks. Cell phones can also be used to keep track of assignments, commitments, and even reminders. Depending on the age of your child, I recommend initially helping your child create a school calendar and homework checklists for assignments and upcoming tests. Encourage your child to continue to independently manage his/her calendar, but periodically check in.
Designated Homework Place:
Your child needs to have a consistent homework space free from distraction and clutter. You and your child should decide on this place together. It should be comfortable, and separate from the television, games, siblings, and other distractions.
Set Time Limits on Social Media:
Establish a social media policy that prohibits technology from being used at certain times, such as before or after bedtime, while getting ready for school, family meals, or completing homework. Children need downtime from the stimulation of social media in order to connect with their family and process the events of their day. Research has found that “A ‘safe zone’ from deleterious effects of screen time was calculated at 45 minutes. The ‘danger zone’ occurred slightly before two hours with a half point drop in children’s GPA. After four hours of accumulated screen time, the GPA of children dropped slightly more than a full point.” (Reference: http://www.goodparentinc.com/learninghabit-studies/)
How do I advocate for my child’s needs at school?
My role as your child’s advocate is not only to empower your child, but also to educate and empower you as the parent to be an advocate for your child with a learning disability. During the feedback session, I will teach you how to assertively and effectively communicate with your child’s teacher and school personnel about your child’s strengths, interests, and needs. For example, by using sentence starters, such as “I am concerned about…” or “Please help me to understand…” you will sound less confrontational and more like you want to work together with the teacher as partners.
Knowledge is key to being effective as an advocate. Before meeting with school personnel, know your child’s rights, your child’s needs, and what the school is capable of providing your child. I strongly recommend before the meeting, writing down your goals for the meeting. This shows school personnel you know your rights and are prepared. Although you want to convey that this is a collaborative not combative process, it is crucial that you remain firm, direct, clear, and respectful. If the school rejects a particular service that you believe is necessary for your child, remain calm; focus on your child’s best interests and try to problem solve with the school. I recommend that you bring data to support your request for the service. For example, if your child is struggling in reading and this is a service that has been effective for your child in the past or children with similar reading scores, show this to the school. It will be more difficult for school personnel to say no if you have valid, corroborative information. By working with school personnel and your child’s teacher as a team, you will have a powerful impact on your child’s academic success and personal growth.
Here are some helpful websites and additional sources of information:
Guide to Being an Advocate for your Child booklet:
How the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) Protects You and Your Child’s Basic Rights:
Least Restrictive Environment:
The Difference Between IEPs and 504 Plans: