Assessment & Evaluation
We offer a full range of psychological evaluation services, including psychoeducational testing and neuropsychological testing.
What is a psychological evaluation?
Psychological testing is a process that involves the integration of information from multiple sources, such as tests of normal and abnormal behavior or personality, tests of ability or intelligence, tests of academic achievement, tests of interests or attitudes, as well as collateral information from personal interviews or from interviews with parents, spouses, teachers, or previous therapists or physicians. This information can be used to try to pinpoint psychological issues that may be inhibiting someone’s ability to behave or feel in more appropriate or constructive ways. It is the mental equivalent of a physical examination.
Psychological testing is standardized, which means that assessments used are administered and scored in the same way for all patients. The scores are compared to a patient’s cohort and interpreted with others similar in age, gender, and educational attainment. A cognitive profile emerges with individual strengths and weaknesses. A holistic approach is utilized when examining a patient’s cognitive profile, in which all available data is analyzed to ascertain a pattern of cognitive functioning in conjunction with functionality and behavior.
What is a psychoeducational evaluation?
A psychoeducational evaluation is similar, but focuses more on the assessment of a child’s strengths and weaknesses in cognitive and academic areas. The evaluation of additional domains such as adaptive functioning, social-emotional functioning, executive functioning, and/or other areas of functioning may also be included depending on the needs of the child. Parents and teachers are often asked to complete rating scales and may be interviewed by the psychologist in order to get more information about the child’s development and areas of concern.
Typical types of focus for psychological and/or psychoeducational assessments include:
- Intellectual & Developmental Abilities
- Personality Assessment
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (Children & Adults)
- Learning Disability Assessments (Children & Adults)
- Anxiety/Mood Disorders
- Pre-Operative Assessment
- Providing Diagnoses for Treatment Settings
What is a neuropsychological evaluation?
Neuropsychology is specialized testing that is concerned with examining relationships between the brain and behavior by helping assess behavioral and cognitive changes resulting from a number of situations, such as:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Forms of dementia
- Seizure disorders
- Brain tumors
- Multiple sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cognitive impairment
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
A neuropsychologist evaluates how a head injury or illness has impacted the brain and overall cognitive functioning taking into consideration all the necessary components, and based on testing data, recommendations are offered. A patient’s performance is evaluated on a number of cognitive domains, including:
- Memory (verbal & visual)
- Language (expressive & receptive)
- Visual spatial skills
- Motor abilities
- Executive functions (planning, abstract reasoning, & problem-solving)
- Mood and affect
The particular areas of cognition assessed is determined by the reason for the referral, patient’s presenting concerns, experience of symptoms, and behavioral observations.
Typical ways a neuropsychological evaluation can be helpful include:
- Determining whether cognitive and behavioral changes are related to medical conditions, illnesses, mood, another brain disease or the combination of factors.
- Assist with pre-operative and post-operative function regarding neurosurgical procedures, such as deep brain stimulation.
- Provide recommendations for day-to-day functioning that may help with recovery.
- Establish a cognitive baseline for which future evaluations can be compared to, while allowing medical professionals to determine if functioning is declining as a result of the disease, or if functioning has improved/worsened after treatment intervention.
- Examine daily functioning level to assist in determining additional support that might be needed, such as medical and housing need or financial management and safe independent living.
Preparation for the Evaluation
The evaluation generally takes between 4-7 hours to complete depending upon the complexity of the referral question and presenting concerns. Assessment and evaluation typically involves an initial in-depth clinical interview, followed by administration of standardized assessments, scoring and interpretation of the data, report writing, and the feedback portion of the evaluation. A report documenting the results, interpretation, and recommendations is provided to the patient and/or legal guardian unless prohibited by law. The specific recommendations generated based on the evaluation are discussed at length with the interested parties during the feedback session.
Patients are encouraged to be prepared to provide the following information:
- List of current medications
- Most recent referring physician’s notes from last visit
- Past medical history
- Past surgical history
- Any medical allergies
- Neuroimaging records (MRI, CT, etc…)
- Family/friend to the clinical interview to help with autobiographical information, if needed
Other important considerations:
- There is no way to study for the tests, as the assessment is intended to gain an understanding of what abilities and skills you possess
- Get a good night’s rest before the evaluation
- Do not consume alcohol or substances 24 hours prior to the appointment
- Put forth the best effort on all testing measures
- Results generally take up to two weeks