The words evaluation and assessment are used interchangeably. Rose assessment & Therapy Center provides assessment services to children, adolescents, and young adults (usually college aged). Typically, when someone is seeking an assessment they have a question they want answered…and generally it’s not a question simple enough for a Google search! A psychologist receives extensive training in assessment which 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. 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. Below are different types of assessments provided at Rose Assessment & Therapy Center.
Neuropsychological assessment has at its core the goal of identifying individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses. A good neuropsychological assessment tailors the evaluation to the child’s needs as well as being comprehensive. Thus, not all children will be administered the same measures. It is designed to provide parents, educators, and medical personnel not only with what the child knows, but how the child thinks and arrives at solutions. Children can have difficulty for many different reasons and a neuropsychological evaluation provides a window into understanding what is problematic, what is a strength, and also treatment recommendations. The main areas that are evaluated in a neuropsychological assessment include the following: cognitive functioning, academic achievement, attention, executive functions, memory and learning, language, visual-spatial skills, adaptive behavior, social skills, behavior and emotional abilities.
A psychological evaluation can include numerous components such as norm-referenced psychological tests, informal tests and surveys, interview information, school or medical records, medical evaluation and observational data. A psychologist determines what information to use based on the specific questions being asked. This is a formal way of making accurate conceptualizations and formal diagnoses.
Testing provides an objective and systematic way for identifying gifted children. This evaluation includes a formal measure of cognitive (intellectual) functioning. In additional to intellect, a variety of of characteristics are considered to identify gifted children (creative, artistic, leadership, and specific academic fields) which often require more than one test to identify.
There is no "one test" to diagnosis ADHD. The diagnosis is made based on clinical observation, parent/teacher report, and tasks that pull for skills related to attention concentration (auditory and visual attention, inhibition, switching sets, executive functions, working memory, etc.). One test or questionnaire doesn't really tell us much. It gives us a piece of data, but we can't (shouldn't) make decisions based on one data point alone. The most objective and ethical method for diagnosing Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is with a neuropsychological evaluation.