If you suspect your child suffers from a learning disability and wish to explore the root cause, you may consider a psychoeducational evaluation for your child. As a parent, it can be confusing and overwhelming to have your child undergo psychological assessment for learning disabilities. You may wonder where you can find proper information about psychoeducational testing, what the testing involves, and how the results are interpreted.
We’re here to demystify the process of psychoeducational testing and help parents understand what it’s all about and how it can benefit their children.
What is Psychoeducational and Neuropsychological Testing?
Psychological testing is designed to analyze the cognitive (thinking) and educational issues underlying your child’s problems with school performance. Psychoeducational evaluations are typically recommended for students who are experiencing academic difficulties and frustration in reading, writing, spelling or math. Testing involves (1) basic thinking abilities (via an IQ test which assesses basic verbal/language and non-verbal abilities) and (2) educational abilities in terms of reading, writing, math and spelling. The evaluation is focused on finding out if a specific learning disorder is affecting your child’s school performance.
If there is a question of ADHD, then a more thorough “neuropsychological” evaluation may be recommended which addresses cognitive abilities in more depth beyond those assessed with an IQ test. This includes memory, executive functioning, independent problem solving, attention and concentration, distractibility, social skills, and emotional and behavioral functioning.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common problems affecting school performance characterized by the inability to focus, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, affecting an estimated 8.4 percent of children, according to the American Psychiatric Association. But ADHD is just one common problem among many which may affect your child in school, from dyslexia to processing deficits.
When a child experiences social, behavioral or academic problems at school, this could be attributed to a learning disorder, ADHD, an emotional problem such as depression or anxiety, or a behavioral disorder. Psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations can help rule out certain conditions to better determine a more accurate diagnosis. This will be helpful in that it gives administrators and parents a better idea of how the student learns best. Knowing this will allow the teachers, parents, doctors and your child to make adjustments so as to maximize your child’s potential learning.
Symptom vs. Cause
The symptoms of a psychological disorder can be obvious in some cases, such as when a child experiences academic and social problems at school, but the cause of the problem is not always clear. Psychological evaluation, comprised of a series of tests to determine the cause of psychological symptoms and disorders, will ideally lead to the correct diagnosis and follow-up with the appropriate course of treatment, says Psychology Today.
What to Expect
A physician, teacher, school staff member, or counselor will typically suggest a referral for psychological evaluation. An interview with the child and a family member will occur first which will include a complete history including medical, pre-natal and perinatal factors – all of which can affect the child’s ability to learn. Testing the child will then take several hours and sometimes require multiple visits with the psychologist to complete the thorough evaluation.
The child will take standardized tests to assess their thinking and academic skills as well as fill out questionnaires concerning their own perceptions of their thinking skills, emotions and behavior. One or more family members as well as one or more teachers may complete questionnaires as well. No studying is required for the testing (nor would it be helpful).
Here at Comprehensive MedPsych Systems, we follow standards outlined by the American Psychological Association regarding the use and interpretation of psychoeducational tests. We know that it is critical to understand that the process of how a child performs is just as important as the child’s actual score which is why we address both qualitative and quantitative information in our reports.
We encourage parents to get in touch with our team to learn more about psychoeducational and neuropsychological evaluations for their children by psychologists specially trained in educational assessments, behavioral problems and learning difficulties within school settings. Contact us now at a location of your choice or fill out our online form.