What is a psycho-educational assessment?

Psycho-educational assessment is an evaluation process involving formal and informal instruments to explore your child’s mental and socioemotional processes that impact their learning and daily functioning. The evaluation explores your child’s unique cognitive abilities, academic achievement, as well as social and emotional functioning to better understand their individualized needs at home and in the classroom. A psycho-educational evaluation is a snapshot of your child’s abilities at the time of the assessment.

At EmpathyWell, PLLC, the assessment process typically includes 4-5 appointments: Initial Intake Session, Clinical Interview with Parent(s), 1-2 Testing Sessions with Child, and a Feedback Session. Please see our Assessment services page for more information.

How may psycho-educational assessment be helpful for my child?

Typically, parents reach out for evaluation services when they notice their child struggling in a specific area such as school, relationships, or emotional control, and when they want to better understand their child. The psycho-educational process can help parents better understand their child’s unique abilities and current experiences including aptitudes, learning preferences, self-concept and emotions, and behavior preferences. The evaluation can help you to gain increased understanding of your child’s needs so you can provide your child with the support they need to thrive at school and within relationships.

We understand that the assessment process can be a commitment financially, logistically, and sometimes emotionally, so your assessment counselor will collaborate with you during the intake and interview appointments to help clarify your individualized goals for your child’s evaluation and discuss how an evaluation may be helpful for your family.

What is the outcome of psycho-educational assessment?

After completion of full psycho-educational assessment process including Clinical Interview, Testing Session(s), and Feedback Session, your counselor will provide you with a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment report including testing results, diagnostic impressions (if applicable), summary of results and how they relate to your child’s unique abilities, and recommendations for home and school environments.

What ages do you assess?

Currently, we assess children and teens ages 6-16 years old.

What type of tests/assessments do you use?

The tests used in your child’s psycho-educational assessment process will be carefully selected and tailored to your child’s specific needs and to answer your specific questions you’re hoping to answer with the assessment process. However, your child’s evaluation battery may include intellectual assessment, academic achievement assessment, visual/motor processing assessment, exploration of executive functioning abilities, depression/anxiety screenings, questionnaires about your child’s behavior and emotions, and self-concept assessments.

Do you diagnose? What do you diagnose?

Yes, we diagnose; however, our assessment process is strength-based with an ultimate goal of helping you to understand your child’s strengths and how they interact best with the world. If your child’s experience matches that of a diagnosable condition, we will render an appropriate diagnosis. We can provide diagnoses for a wide variety of mood concerns such as anxiety or depression and neurodevelopmental differences such as ADHD.

Do you diagnose learning disorders such as dyslexia or dyscalculia?

We do not diagnose specific learning differences such as dyslexia or dyscalculia. If this is a presenting concern for you, we can provide you with appropriate referrals. We do include screenings for such conditions within our assessment process; therefore, if concerns for a learning difference emerge during evaluation, we will refer you for additional testing.

How do I initiate services?

Call us at 972-498-1307 or complete the form on the Contact Us page to set up a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk more about services and help determine if we’re a good fit for your family. Once you’re ready, you can schedule an initial intake appointment with a counselor. At this intake appointment, you and your counselor will review paperwork, explore your goals for the assessment process, and discuss a plan for assessment services.

Does my child need a referral from a pediatrician or school personnel for an evaluation?

Although families often first hear about assessment services from their child’s pediatrician or school personnel, they do not need a specific referral from a provider to seek evaluation services.

How long does testing take?

The length of the entire evaluation process depends on multiple factors including scheduling availability, how quickly we can gather completed questionnaires from parents and teachers, and whether or not additional assessment needs emerge during days of testing with your child. Typically, the entire process takes 4-6 weeks from the date of the initial intake appointment to the date you receive the comprehensive assessment report.

Direct testing with your child can take anywhere from 4-8 hours depending on the goals of the evaluation. Your counselor will work with you to determine if it is in your child’s best interest to complete all testing in one day or schedule two consecutive days of shorter appointments. Depending on needs that may emerge during the evaluation, additional testing appointments may be recommended.

How long will my child need to be out of school for the day(s) of testing?

Although the length of the testing day will vary depending on your child’s needs and the specific assessments administered, plan for your child to be out of school the entire day(s) of testing. Even when your child finishes testing prior to the end of the school day, they are typically worn out and tired from spending all morning answering questions and engaging in tasks that may have been difficult for them!

Do you require both parents’/all guardians’ consent?

Yes, we require consent from all legal guardians prior to beginning any mental health services, including psycho-educational assessment. We also encourage all legal guardians to be actively involved in the assessment process. Please talk with your counselor if you have any concerns or questions.

What if my child is not cooperative during testing?

We understand that many (or most!) children may struggle to sit happily in a chair for 3-4 hours at a time while engaging in tough activities. Our counselors are all expertly trained in child development and therapeutic services, increasing our ability to connect with kids who need high levels of support and flexibility. In addition to taking breaks during testing, we work creatively to find ways to help your child feel as comfortable as possible engaging in testing that will help us to get the information we need from the evaluation. That being said, there are always times when children feel too dysregulated to complete testing. If this occurs, your counselor will work with you to determine if it is best to reschedule testing for another day or change the plan for services. In any case, your counselor will gain important information throughout the process to help inform evaluation outcomes and recommendations.

What if I don’t agree with the outcomes of the evaluation?

The outcomes of an evaluation are based on many factors including a comprehensive review of the data, your counselor’s expertise and professional training, you and your child’s direct input, as well as collaboration between you and your counselor. That being said, you know your child best! If you disagree with the outcome of the evaluation, we encourage you to discuss your concerns with your counselor. Although the outcomes may not change, you as the parents get to decide what to do with the information. We provide you with the full report, and then you choose if you want to share that information with your child’s school or other providers. You may also choose to seek a second opinion.

Do you do forensic or custody evaluations?

No, we do not offer forensic or custody evaluations at this time. If your family is currently involved in court proceedings or if you foresee court proceedings in your family’s near future, we can provide you with appropriate referrals who specialize in this type of testing.

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