"I was, on the whole, considerably discouraged by my school days. It was not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the beginning of the race." Winston Churchill
How can an evaluation help?
A good evaluation will:
- Provide a better understanding of a child's unique profile of strengths and weaknesses
- Give diagnoses if possible that can organize a parent's underestanding of their child's needs and provide additional resources
- Outline strategies for building needed skills in cognition, academics or behavior
- Help find an appropriate school setting
- Give strategies for seeking appropriate services at school
- Detail specific resources in the community that are a good fit for a child's needs.
How do I know it is time for an evaluation?
We all worry about our child's development. In addition, many children will struggle with some aspect of learning, behavior or development at some time in their lives. Seek an evaluation if:
- Your child has consistent problems with development in some major domain such as language skills, motor skills, social skills, attention or academic learning
- Your child is failing academically for more than several months with no clear cause (e.g., move to a new school)
- There is a family history of learning disability or attention problems and your child is struggling academically or socially.
- Your child has experienced a concussion or other neuroligical problem (e.g., seizure) and is now struggling with school, friendships or general development
- Your child seems smart and capable, but is often very frustrated, angry or crying due to social problems or academic problems
What is the evaluation like?
Typically, I will do the intake interview by phone to determine if my services seem to be a good fit for your child's (or your) needs. An evaluation is scheduled from there. For a comprehensive developmental evaluation, there is typically about 3 hours of "testing time" with myself or my psychometrician. I will also have parents completing questionnaires about medical, developmental and family history, as well as forms about emotional style, attentional style and sensory processing. After the data is collected, I schedule a session with parents to discuss findings and develop recommendations that are a good fit for the child and the family. From there, I will polish the report so that the details discussed are included. This process of evaluation, feedback and report development usually takes 3-4 weeks from start to finish.
What is the focus of your evaluations?
I specialize in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities, attention deficits, cognitive impairments, and developmental disabilities. I have training and experience in assessment infants, children, adolescents, and adults. I assess learning and attention issues in adults, but not the impact of neurological illness or injury. I can work with parents, teachers and other professionals involved in a person's treatment to develop appropriate academic and work enhancement programs.
I am not a psychotherapist and do not provide psychotherapy or assessment of emotional disorders. If I have concerns about the possibility of an emotional problem, I will refer you to another psychologist for further evaluation.
Do you take insurance, and how does that work?
To determine if you have coverage through your insurance carrier, the first thing you should do is call them. Check your coverage carefully and make sure you understand their answers. Some helpful questions you can ask them:
- What are my mental health benefits? (I am a psychologist, so benefits are typically through your mental health plan)
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session? (I will use about 8-10 sessions of time)
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?
Does what we talk about in evaluation remain confidential?
Confidentiality is one of the most important components between a client and psychologist. Every psychologist should provide a written copy of their confidential disclosure agreement, and you can expect that what you discuss in session will not be shared with anyone. This is called “Informed Consent”. Sometimes, however, you may want me to share information or give an update to someone on your child's healthcare or educational team, but by law I cannot release this information without obtaining your written permission.
However, state law and professional ethics require psychologists and therapists to maintain confidentiality except for the following situations:
* Suspected past or present abuse or neglect of children, adults, and elders to the authorities, including Child Protection and law enforcement, based on information provided by the client or collateral sources.
* If the therapist has reason to suspect the client is seriously in danger of harming him/herself or has threated to harm another person.