Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a term describing a specific developmental disorder which involves deficits in behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, resistance to distraction, and self-regulation. Children with ADHD often have difficulty with behaviors such as completing schoolwork, sitting still, impulsive behaviors, making careless errors, organization, hyperactivity, etc. Psychological testing can help with the following:
- determine if ADHD is present
- differentiate ADHD symptoms from other psychiatric disorders
- to identify any coexisting concerns, such as anxiety, depression, learning disorders, oppositional defiant disorder
- determine how ADHD is impacting a child’s functioning across settings
- help plan treatment interventions to meet the needs of children and their families
- determine what educational supports best meet a child’s needs (Individualized Education Plan (IEP), 504 Plan, etc.)
- connect families with resources
Parents may want to consider an ADHD evaluation if they have observed persistent struggles in their child’s capacities for concentrating, focusing on tasks, completing work, controlling impulses, or self-regulation.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a term describing a developmental disorder which involves delays in language and communication skills, impaired social skills, restrictive behaviors, and repetitive behaviors. Parents may want to consider an autism spectrum evaluation if they have noticed any of the following symptoms:
- lack of social interaction or interest in others (such as not smiling, or reaching arms out to be held at a young age)
- lack of responsiveness when the child’s name is called
- absence of pretend, or symbolic, play
- limited use of eye contact or gestures
- echoed or repetitive speech
- inflexible adherence to routines
- rigid thinking patterns
- highly restricted interests
- sensory sensitivities or sensory-seeking behaviors
- any regression or loss of developmental skill
The symptoms individuals with autism spectrum disorder experience will fall on a continuum, with some exhibiting mild symptoms and others showing more severe symptoms. An autism spectrum evaluation can assist not only in diagnosis, but helping parents understand their child’s patterns of cognitive, social, and emotional, strengths and weaknesses. ASD evaluations can also help families become connected with resources, some of which may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills training, and behavior therapy.
Psychoeducational evaluations examine different areas of functioning and may include cognitive, language, visual motor, memory and learning, attention and socio-emotional functioning as these relate to academic achievement. This type of assessment can be of special interest to teachers and parents wanting to understand the educational potential of their child. For parents of preschoolers, psychoeducational evaluations can provide important data to assess academic readiness and to inform decision making related to educational environments.
Psychoeducational evaluations can also be beneficial when a concern for a potential learning disability such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and/or nonverbal learning disorder arises. During these academic evaluations, achievement tests are often used to assess a child’s academic achievement in areas such as reading, spelling, writing, and mathematics. Psychoeducational evaluations can also help identify twice-exceptional learners (2e), who may be intellectually gifted, while also exhibiting learning differences. Caregivers may be interested in a psychoeducational evaluation if they notice any of the following:
- difficulties with rhyming, letter identification, and phonemic awareness
- difficulties paying attention, following directions, and/or completing multi-step tasks
- experiences significant difficulty doing grade-level work
- has gaps in skills or inconsistent grades
- difficulties with retention of information
- has memory or organization problems
- experiences a decline in grades or school performance
- has difficulty getting homework completed
- routinely runs out of time on tests
- school refusal and/or school related anxiety
Many children who have learning disabilities are very bright young individuals. By helping to identify learning differences early in one’s educational endeavors, parents, teachers, and caregivers can be more prepared to educate in a manner that best accommodates their child’s learning style. In doing so, children can be more equipped to demonstrate their full intellectual potential in a consistent and adaptive manner.
IQ testing is used to measure one’s overall intellectual ability and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses within a person’s cognitive development.
Gifted individuals have above-average intelligence and superior talent in specific areas. IQ testing is used to identify individuals with superior intellectual abilities. Although many parents see giftedness as a significant strength for their children, superior intellect can come with its own unique set of challenges. For some children, school curricula can become boring, which results in reduced motivation, poorer effort, and low grades. For others, stronger cognitive abilities tend to contribute to perfectionistic tendencies, which can lead to heightened levels of anxiety and other adjustment difficulties. Social isolation and problems with peers can also be common. A cognitive/IQ evaluation can help identify giftedness and offer recommendations for better adaptation in the classroom and social environments.
IQ testing can also help identify individuals with significantly below average intellectual functioning. When assessing for intellectual disability, an evaluation will also include measures of adaptive functioning. Adaptive functioning refers to an individual’s ability to manage everyday functions, such as self-organization, self-direction, daily living skills, and self-care capacities. A diagnosis of intellectual disability (formerly known as mental retardation) involves impairments in general mental abilities that impact adaptive functioning in three separate areas including, conceptual, social, and practical domains. A cognitive/IQ evaluation can assist in diagnosis of intellectual disability, identification of any comorbid conditions, and connecting parents with community resources for improving adaptive skills.
Psychological evaluations are utilized to provide a better understanding of a child’s emotional, social, behavioral functioning, and personality patterns and traits. When a child is struggling to adjust to everyday demands in home, academic, or social environments, a psychological evaluation can often help identify the underlying cause(s) of such concerns. Challenges can be due to a number of factors, some of which may include, anxiety, depression, difficulties regulating attention and impulse control, learning disorders, delays in social communication skills, and/or significant life changes such as a parents’ separation or loss of a loved one. If parents have concerns related to their child’s adjustment and functioning, a comprehensive psychological evaluation can serve to as a starting point to get the support their child needs.
We’re excited to announce that our services have expanded and we now offer assessment for young adults.
Here at Elevated Insights, we realize that the transition from adolescents to adulthood carries it’s own unique set of challenges. Young people often experience increased stress related to planning for their futures while establishing their own identity as an adult. Individuals may benefit from identifying undiagnosed learning differences, building capacities for daily living skills, finding the most appropriate supports available to them in academic and work settings, and addressing their social/emotional wellbeing.
Assessments we offer:
- Learning Differences/Disorders (Reading, Writing, Math)
- ADHD/Executive Functioning
Did you know?
Students who were previously supported via an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan, may not receive the same accommodations as they transition to college and other settings?
When a child enters the child welfare system, he or she has often experienced a number of significant stressors, some of which may include traumatic stress, attachment disruption, and significant emotional and/or behavioral disturbances, which are likely to impact his or her current functioning and worldview. Such life experiences can have a profound impact on a developing child. A comprehensive psychological evaluation occurring early on in the child welfare process can help give biological/ foster parents, case workers, therapists and educators a better understanding of the needs of their children, while offering tools tailored to meet these individualized needs. It can offer support for complex and challenging situations, and provide families with hope moving forward.
This type of evaluation can help families identify children who may be considered intellectually gifted and talented and/or twice-exceptional (2e). This assessment can inform academic environments and enrichment programs best suited to the child’s needs. Some children who are gifted may also be considered twice exceptional (2e), where possible concerns in other areas of academic or executive functioning create highly specific and tailored learning considerations.
This type of evaluation can help families understand developmental delays related to intellectual disabilities and or other neurodevelopmental disorders and also inform eligibility for state-funded services. Measures of cognitive and adaptive functioning are usually included in these types of evaluations.