What is psychological testing?
Testing is a valuable resource that enables psychologists to reliably identify diagnoses such as Attention-Deficit-Disorder (ADD)/Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorders, Specific Learning Disorders, and mood- or anxiety-based diagnoses that– if unaddressed– can significantly diminish a child’s self-esteem and functioning.
The Curry Psychology Group provides a variety of different testing services for children, teens, and young adults. The results of the evaluations we provide may qualify your child for accommodations in school and on standardized tests like the ACT.
What types of testing do you offer?
We provide several different types of evaluations depending on the questions asked by the referring source and the purpose of the assessment.
- Neuropsychological/developmental evaluations for children as young as one month old. These evaluations are typically referred by a medical provider or requested by families who have concerns about their child’s developmental progress.
- Psycho-educational evaluations for children and adolescents ages 5 through 18 years-old. Psychoeducational evaluations test a child’s academic, cognitive/intellectual, behavioral-emotional, and developmental functioning. They assess for issues that can cause impairment in a child’s learning ability, academic performance, and/or social functioning, such as autism spectrum disorders, specific learning disabilities, developmental delays, attention-deficit-disorders (ADD/ADHD), and/or certain mood or anxiety disorders.
I’m worried about my child having a “label” based on the test results…
Many parents reasonably worry that a diagnostic label might diminish or unnecessarily pathologize their child’s unique identity. However, the research supports (and we have certainly found in practice) that children who receive a reliable diagnosis through valid test methods have far more positive short- and long-term outcomes in terms of their academic performance, self-esteem, social-development and overall well-being.
On the other hand, in the absence of a diagnostic understanding for the child’s behavior, children who are struggling with a developmental or other clinical issue commonly misunderstand their difficulties as evidence that they are “dumb” or “bad.” These children often receive negative feedback from teachers, parents and/or peers who may grow impatient or frustrated by the child’s behavior. For example, a child with undiagnosed ADD/ADHD who jokes around during class is likely to be reprimanded by the teacher, and because he has not been able to pay attention to instructions, he will have more difficulty completing assignments, leading to poor grades and a belief that he isn’t as smart as his peers. This leads to a subsequent cycle of avoidance, disengagement and performance decline. The child may act out at school and at home as he experiences anger, embarrassment and depression over being called out by the teacher or teased by peers.
With a proper diagnosis, the symptoms that may be getting your child into trouble now can be effectively managed so that your child has an opportunity to succeed. We conclude every evaluation with clear and practical recommendations that help parents and teachers better understand each child’s behavior so they can fully support their progress. What matters in the end isn’t whether the child has a label, but rather that they have the support they need to reach their potential.
Who performs my child’s testing?
At the Curry Psychology Group, every evaluation is conducted, start-to-finish, by a doctoral‑level provider with at least seven years of specialized testing-experience. We are perfectionists who understand that our work has lasting implications for a child’s future learning, self-worth and overall development. We all went through excellent training programs which emphasized evidence-based, ethical, and reliable test methods, and for this reason we are unwavering in our adherence to best practices in psychological testing, even if our process may seem extensive.
How long does testing take?
The research has shown— and it has been our experience—that a comprehensive test battery provides the most valid and reliable results, particularly when differentiating between the multitude of factors that can impact a child’s academic performance. For children who participate in a full-comprehensive evaluation, testing is completed in four steps (hours are approximate).
Step 1. Initial Interview with Parent(s): 1 – 2 hours
- You and your provider will meet to discuss your child’s current academic concerns, any behavioral issues, and developmental history
- You and your provider will review any report cards, school records and/or prior assessments that are available
- You will be provided with additional questionnaires about your child’s academic performance and behavior to complete at home
- Your child’s teacher(s) may be sent an online link to a questionnaire so that they can report their observations of your child’s academic performance and behavior.
Step 2. Test Administration (Provider and Child Only): 6 hours over 1 or 2 meetings
- Your child will meet with the provider once or twice to complete a series of psychological tests, including cognitive, academic, behavioral and additional diagnostic tests as needed. If only one long testing appointment is desired by the family, breaks will be scheduled throughout the day.
Step 3. Test Interpretation and Reporting (Provider only): 8 hours
- Your provider will score, interpret, and write a report detailing your child’s assessment results and their meaning. Neither you nor your child will need to be present during the reporting process. The report will include:
- A diagnosis(es) if indicated
- Clear and practical recommendations for parents, teachers, and mental health providers aimed to optimize your child’s well-being and functioning in all relevant settings
- If additional resources or services are recommended, they will be listed and nearby referrals will be provided.
Step 4. Feedback Session with Parent(s): 1 hour
- You and your provider will meet to review the assessment results and recommended next steps to helping your child
- You will be provided with a written summary and the complete recommendation section of the report
- We will send the complete clinical report (containing protected psychological testing data) directly to your child’s Special Education Director.
What happens after testing?
- The school’s Special Education Director can utilize the report we send them to determine your child’s qualification for accommodations and services.
- We provide additional educational advocacy services to ensure that your child receives adequate support from the school to reach their full potential.