What is a psychological assessment?
A psychological assessment, or evaluation, is a formal process through which psychologists observe and measure behavior so as to arrive at diagnosis and treatment. Sometimes, a person or child may think, feel, or behave in ways that are confusing to others or themselves. An evaluation may help clarify these thoughts or behaviors. The assessment consists of a clinical interview, review of records, observational data, psychological tests, and feedback.
How will this help me or my child?
These assessments may help answer questions about what is “going on” with yourself or your child. Sometimes, we think and feel and behave in ways that are confusing to others or to ourselves. An evaluation may help clarify these thoughts or behaviors with a diagnosis. These evaluations specifically are designed to provide recommendations for treatment or future intervention. At the end of the evaluation, you will receive a comprehensive evaluation report that includes applicable diagnoses and treatment recommendations. This report can be presented to other professionals or agencies to coordinate treatment for yourself or your child.
Do I have to prepare or study beforehand?
This evaluation is a little different than a test you may have taken in school. The assessments that we use are “standardized,” which means that they were developed by educated researchers, and that they have been proven effective at helping to diagnose various disorders – such as ADHD, autism, or learning disability. Your assessment will be tailored to your referral concerns, and therefore each one is unique. For example, the person being assessed may potentially be asked to do various activities, including answering verbal questions, working on a computer, answering questions on paper, or simply being observed playing with your child. There are no right or wrong answers, and therefore nothing to study for.
If you are bringing your child in for an evaluation, please consider the following:
- Bring water and plenty of snacks that your child enjoys eating. The Clinic will have water and snacks, but your child will likely do best on the test with food he or she likes the most.
- To reduce your child’s stress and anxiety, don’t tell them they are going to be “tested” or “assessed.” For many toddlers and younger children, the activities are similar to playing. Use age-appropriate language to describe that they will be engaging in various activities, and that it’s important they try their best and be honest.
All services are provided by a state-licensed psychologist.