Judi A. Hughes, M.Ed. School Psychologist/Educational Consultant - Maximizing Your Potential
Psycho-Educational Testing &Evaluation- Why do it?
  • To assess for learning disabilities, attention disorders, and emotional or behavioral factors that may be interfering with a child’s school performance
  • To determine educational giftedness and eligibility for school based enrichment programs
  • To aid diagnose of specific learning disabilities and a variety of neuro-psychological and neuro-biological disorders such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, autism spectrum disorders, AD/HD, Nonverbal LD, disorders of executive functioning, and Tourette's Syndrome that warrant treatment
  • To help schools determine an educational disability  warranting special education services
  • To understand educational strengths and weaknesses that can guide intervention planning
  • To learn more about a student's learning style to encourage best fit study strategies and best-fit teaching strategies.
  • To determine eligibility for accommodations on College Board Exams
 
The most frequent reasons that client's seek psychoeducational testing and evaluation is because of a suspected learning disability or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). So... here is more to consider on these issues:
 
Learning Disabilities  Children with learning disabilities generally have difficulty learning despite adequate cognitive ability and an appropriate academic environment. Learning disabilities include difficulties learning to read, write, compute and understand mathematics, and difficulties with oral or written language expression or understanding.  The most common type of learning disabilities are those affecting reading and generally include poor phonemic awareness, limited word knowledge, poor decoding and fluency, and difficulties comprehending what has been read. Weak visual and/or auditory processing and memory, often contribute to learning difficulties. Therefore, a comprehensive learning disability evaluation should include tests of intellectual ability, academic achievement, information processing and behavioral and emotional functioning.
 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms associated with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)  vary in how they appear in different individuals and how they are observed by parents and teachers. Some children and teens with ADHD are primarily inattentive, some are primarily hyperactive and impulsive, and some are both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive. Individuals who are primarily inattentive are often slow to complete work, have trouble listening to and following directions, are forgetful and often misplace things. Those who are primarily hyperactive and impulsive often have difficulty sitting still, frequently interrupt others, and seem to speak and act quickly and without thinking of consequences. Folks who are both inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive experience problems associated with both inattention and hyperactivity.
 
A common misperception is that children with ADHD can’t pay attention. Even children with ADHD can pay attention; however, they struggle with what they pay attention to and the length of time they can maintain their attention. Also, individuals who are diagnosed with ADHD show impairment in different settings.  For those of school age, this is typically evident both at home and at school. 
 
Often, children with language or auditory processing disorders, anxiety or depression can look inattentive. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation is important to rule out other factors that may be contributing to the inattention.  Often, individuals who have ADHD also have related learning challenges and executive dysfunctions.  They may be disorganized, and forgetful and have difficulty completing work, remembering or comprehending material.  A  typical assessment for ADHD, should include a thorough developmental and family history, ratings of emotional functioning and ratings of behavior both at home and at school.  It may also include assessment of intellectual functioning, attention, memory and academic achievement.
 
Psycho-Educational Testing &Evaluation- the Process
 
  • Initial meeting with parents or adult client to obtain a thorough developmental, social and emotional history and to review any available evaluation reports, educational records, work samples
  • Testing with the client across 3 or 4 different sessions of 90 minutes each. Tests administered may include:  a measure of intellectual functioning,  tests of information processing, several different tests of achievement in the areas of reading, written language,  and math, screening of  oral language expression and listening comprehension, a test of visual-motor integration, and rating scales as related to attention  and executive functioning, social -emotional functioning and adaptive functioning
  • Request records from school and have teachers complete school performance checklists and behavior ratings
  • Test scoring and analysis/interpretation
  • Comprehensive report of evaluation results with specific and practical recommendations for school, home and student
  • Feedback session with parents (and student) to share results and recommendations and to plan next steps
  • Meet with school team to share results and develop specific intervention plans.
Diagnoses may include  educational giftedness, twice exceptionality, developmental delay, cognitive disability, learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalcula, NVLD- NonVerbal Learning Disability, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), disorders of Executive Functioning, Autism Spectrum Disorders including Asperger's Syndrome.  I have knowledge and expertise relative to educational and behavioral interventions that are helpful to students with these disabilities as well as those with other neurobiological or mental health disorders affecting school performance such as Tourette's Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Mood disorders or Social and Performance Anxiety.
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