What is a Psychological Assessment?

bgstk-colorcogsPsychological evaluations and testing are  a structured, formalized method of understanding a wide variety of psychological strengths and weaknesses. Most psychological assessments include the use of psychological tests. Psychological testing may include measures that provide objective information about the person’s cognitive abilities, academic strengths and weaknesses, methods of processing information, and emotional functioning. A useful psychological evaluation will put a child’s test performance into the broader context of the child’s personal background, family situation, and other medical and psychiatric concerns. It will also include behavioral observations, a clinical interview, and a full history of the individual and family.

In contrast to psychiatric or clinical evaluations, psychological testing relies upon a series of objective measures that allows the psychologist to compare an individual’s performance to that of a much larger population. Psychological testing can be particularly important when assessing a child’s difficulties in school and social situations. Testing can also be very helpful in looking at developmental issues, educational performance, and social emotional capacities.

Psychological testing provides direct data on how individuals process information and can be the single best tool for developing intervention strategies to assist with home- and school-based difficulties for children. Psychological testing provides concrete data that may support observations made by parents and teachers and, in turn, be an explanation for a child’s difficulties.

Due to the comprehensive nature of psychological testing, this process requires more time than a simple clinical or psychiatric interview and often requires three to six hours of face to face time. In the case of children, psychologists often request that in addition to direct psychological testing with the children, parents, teachers, and the children complete a set of written behavioral measures that allows for comparisons to a normative sample of children.

There are many types of psychological assessments that are available at South County Child and Family Consultants and with other psychologists. While we specialize in executive functioning and ADHD evaluations of children and teens in Rhode Island, it is our philosophy that psychological assessments need to be tailored specifically to an individual child. One size does not fit all.

How Does it Work at South County Child and Family Consultants?

Prior to psychological testing, an initial interview with parents and child is scheduled. The initial interview determines if psychological tests will be helpful and helps us to identify the specific type of evaluation. Testing is generally scheduled in two to three hour blocks. One or two sessions may be required.

Our specialties include: Attention Deficit Disorder/Executive Functioning, Neuropsychological, Educational and Learning Disability/Dyslexia, Intellectual, Clinical Psychological, Preschool Developmental, and College-age Disability assessments.

For more information about any of these types of evaluations, please visit the panel to the right.