Before an assessment is scheduled, a phone interview is conducted to determine the goals, history, and appropriateness of assessment. You will be asked to provide me with all school records and any previous assessments.
There are times when you may already have the information you need but may need better interpretation of that information or guidance on how to proceed in obtaining the right interventions. I will help figure out if an assessment is the right direction, or if I am the right person to work with.
Educationally-relevant assessments may answer questions about testing accommodations, kindergarten readiness, giftedness, potential attention deficits, reading problems including dyslexia, writing problems including dysgraphia, other learning disabilities, anxiety, depression, developmental or cognitive delays, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injuries, and other health impairments that have affected learning or access to learning.
Assessment plans are tailored to the referring question(s). Parents and teachers are asked for input via interview and completion of forms/rating scales. The length of time spent face to face with the client varies, but assessment appointments never exceed 2-hour windows in order to ensure high motivation and endurance. It is also important to note that assessments are generally conducted in the morning in order to capture the best that a student has to offer. Note that students are expected to keep taking any medications they would take during a typical school day in order to measure the student’s best skills.
The evaluation is ethically designed to sample skills and provide a measure of potential or ability that does not incorporate areas of weakness. Cognitive processing skills are sampled carefully, often including auditory, visual, attention, memory, speed, storage/recall, visual-motor, executive functioning, and associative memory. While intelligence is evaluated, my focus is on measuring and explaining which processing skills are most effective for learning, and which are potentially hampering the learning process.
Evaluations also consider developmental and educational history, language processing, social/interpersonal functioning, emotional status, achievement, and sometimes adaptive skills. Factors that affect a person’s ability to fully participate in testing are also considered.
A thorough report is provided that includes all data from assessment, appropriate diagnoses if needed, and specific recommendations to the school and parent about eligibility, treatments, accommodations, and modifications. Parents have a face to face meeting with me to discuss the results and ask any additional questions they may have; this meeting typically takes place two weeks after the last evaluation date and lasts about 1.5 hours.
If, after receiving the report and meeting with me, you would like support in attending a meeting with a school or other entity, hourly consultation services are available for advocacy purposes (see Consultation).