The Evaluation Process
Most evaluations require two to three sessions. Typically, a session lasts three to four hours. The evaluation process is divided into the following four steps:
Clinicians utilize a holistic and developmental approach to acquire a thorough understanding of the individual’s unique strengths and weaknesses. First, the clinician has an initial interview with the individual or parents to gather relevant background information, such as developmental, academic, and medical history. With permission, the clinician then seeks additional information from physicians, teachers, and other therapists to better understand the individual. Another step at this stage may involve doing a school observation to observe the child in his or her academic environment. Teacher rating scales and input is gathered to quantify teachers’ concerns, which is critical for students with school-based problems. During the actual assessment, the clinician utilizes a number of paper-and-pencil and computerized tests, and conducts an extended interview of the individual’s mood and behavior. The following areas are typically assessed during the evaluation:
Test results are used to determine an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in various areas, and determine what types of interventions will be most effective.
Following the actual testing, the clinician meets with the individual or parents and presents clear and detailed feedback. For child clients, parents are provided with recommendations to help their children navigate school and home life through individually tailored feedback. As appropriate, a separate feedback session is provided to children in developmentally appropriate language. Such feedback demystifies the nature of any challenges they have and provides practical and evidence-based support for improving areas of weakness. For adult clients, the feedback is designed to increase awareness about their strengths and challenges and provide education about any underlying difficulties.
Built into the recommendations, the clinician provides evidence-based strategies to maximize the individual’s success across the many facets of his or her life—personal, social, academic, and vocational. A concrete “action plan” is created, which paves the way for positive outcomes in the short- and long-term.
For child evaluations, our clinicians are available to attend Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings with parents and to work with the school team to translate the results of the evaluation into practical classroom recommendations. With permission, we share the findings with primary care providers and other professionals. As needed, we provide referrals to neurologists, psychiatrists, speech/language therapists, occupational therapists, psychotherapists, tutors, and support groups.