There are many people who advertise that they provide assessment services. What do I look for in a provider?
Pretty much everyone who seeks out assessment has a question they want answered…and generally it’s not a question simple enough for a Google search!
Learning more about a provider’s background and approach can help you determine whether they are a good fit to answer your question. People can mean many different things when they refer to assessment on a website. You will want someone who:
- uses science-based, standardized measures with demonstrated validity and reliability;
- selects the most appropriate tests for your questions, rather than using the same testing battery for everyone;
- uses up-to-date measures;
- seeks out multiple sources of information;
- and has enough knowledge of diagnoses to differentiate between presentations that look similar but have different underlying causes.
Some practices provide assessment that is educational in nature, with staff who have backgrounds in education but who are unable to give mental health diagnoses that might be contributing to or underlying the presenting concern. For example, aspects of ADHD and anxiety can look similar in a young child, and there are also times when both are present and a child will benefit most from receiving both diagnoses and intervention for each.
Why choose a psychologist for assessment?
In short, because training in assessment is one factor that differentiates psychologists from other mental health providers! Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior, and psychologists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health concerns. Psychologists are required to complete intensive coursework in diagnostic assessment and testing when obtaining their doctoral degree (PhD or PsyD).
Some practices work with bachelor’s or master’s level technicians who administer and score tests, while the supervising psychologist selects the tests that are administered, interprets the findings, and writes the report. Our practice finds value in the first-hand knowledge we gain from working one-on-one with a child and having a psychologist complete all aspects of the evaluation personally.
Why do some practices not take insurance?
Some practices, including ours, choose not to be in-network with insurance companies. Often, this comes from a desire to provide comprehensive assessment where the psychologist and family have autonomy in decision-making based on the family’s presenting concern. This also allows for transparent pricing in the form of a flat fee that covers testing, scoring, interpretation, feedback session, and comprehensive report. Families may be able to receive partial reimbursement from their insurance company. Those interested in this would contact their insurance company and inquire about their out-of-network coverage, deductible, and the percentage they would be reimbursed.
What if my child has a meltdown or doesn’t comply with directions?
Many families who are seeking an evaluation due to behavioral concerns voice this question and our response is…how lovely that we get first-hand knowledge of the challenges you and your child are experiencing! It makes for rich observational data that informs our testing, interpretation, and recommendations. We are skilled clinicians when it comes to working with children and obtaining good, useful data. We genuinely enjoy learning about and connecting with your specific child, and we work hard to make the experience a pleasant one for them.
What happens after I receive the report?
After receiving the report, many families need to take a moment to absorb all the information. Our reports contain information about your child’s strengths as well as areas of challenge or need. Based on your child’s unique ways of thinking and learning, we provide resources and empirically-supported treatment recommendations for how to support your child moving forward. For many families, this serves as a guide that gives them direction in identifying and connecting with professionals who work together to meet their child’s needs.
It is also true that parents/caregivers experience their own emotional reactions to receiving information about their children’s areas of challenge. Some may feel relief to have answers, some may feel guilt for not having sought information earlier, some might need the space and time to grieve aspects of their child’s life that might be harder for them than their peers. Some parents might find themselves eager to connect with resources and implement treatment recommendations, while others might feel overwhelmed. However you feel afterward, know that we are here to support you and make space for that as well. We have a shared goal of seeing your child thrive.