What is a psychological evaluation or psycho-educational evaluation? In the educational context a psycho-educational evaluation is defined as a set of assessment procedures administered and interpreted to obtain information about a student's development, learning, memory, academics, behavior and mental health. Different assessment procedures, or combination of procedures, are used, depending upon the referral questions, presenting problems and the past tests administered with careful consideration of cultural differences and possible impairments in speech/language, hearing, vision and motor development. Current status of basic health care, hearing and vision need to be established.
A school psychological evaluation is conducted using different sources and assessment methods (norm-referenced, criterion-referenced tests, screeners/checklists, self-report ratings, observation, and review of history and development).
After the assessment (information gathering), the psychologist scores, interprets the results and discusses the findings with the parents. The parents and psychologist most often find it helpful to discuss the findings with those working with the child, as teachers, therapist and sometimes the child, if appropriate. Principals and parent advocates are often involved in the results discussion, as this meeting may be used for intervention development, accommodations and service delivery planning.
What is the difference between the testing conducted by a Psychologist, Neuropsychologist and Neurologist? A neuropsychologist has specialized training in neuropsychology beyond the work of school and clinical psychology. The test battery is more extensive and time consuming to conduct. Whereas, the neurologist studies the structural, physical and metabolic conditions of the brain through history, CT, MRI, EEG and PET scans, the neuropsychologist evaluates brain function, that is, performance, through scientifically validated objective tests administered to the child.
What is the difference between a medical diagnosis and an educational classification? Ex. Developmental Reading Disorder, Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities. A medical health provider uses the term Developmental Reading Disorder for severe reading problems using the Diagnostic Statistical Manual - IV (DSM IV) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9). The school would use the term Specific Learning Disabilities which is covered under Special Education, as specified under IDEA. (There are 11 special education classifications). Dyslexia is an older term from the medical literature which connotes is a difficulty with language, especially at the level of reading that is unexpected in relationship to the experience of the child.
What does a parent need to do to prior to the testing appointment? When testing is conducted by the school psychologist, the parent follows the school district’s consent process, by signing a concent to test. When the testing is done by a community psychologist (private or public), the process will be reviewed and necessary consent forms signed. The examiner will interview the parent/guardian/caretaker regarding the child’s background: birth, development, medical history, family, and school. Parents will be asked to sign releases to obtain copies of past testing; medical reports and school records. A copy of the current report card and child’s work samples are also helpful to the examiner. How can a parent prepare the child for the testing appointment? For the young child a parent can talk about going to see a psychologist/school psychologist who will ask the child about favorite toys, activities, and family and friends. The child may be asked to draw, do puzzles and talk to see how learning is progressing. For the young and or anxious child bringing a favorite toy (transitional object) or a photograph of the family, friend or family pet can ease the transition and facilitate conversation. For the older child who likes computers he or she can be told that computer activities, drawing, talking and school-type tasks will be done.
For testing conducted in a clinic setting, the parent needs to tell the child that no shots will be given. For the child who has had lived with many families or is or has been in foster care, special consideration needs to taken to reassure the child will return to the same home after the appointment. Most children enjoy the testing experience once the transition from home to the testing room has been accomplished. They often look forward to returning
How are the testing results used? The psycho-educational evaluation yields information about the child in terms of general intelligence, levels of academic achievement, fine motor and visual motor integration, language, memory and daily skills. The scores generated compare the child's performance to other children's scores around the nation. In the schools test results are used for special education and related services in eligibility planning measuring progress and effectiveness of instructional strategies. What does psych-educational testing not provide? Psycho-educational testing does not answer all questions about problems a child maybe experiencing. Certainly, direct observation of the child's behavior within the classroom, on the playground and at home provides a wealth of data for intervention planning. Peg Dawson, PhD has written an excellent article on appropriate use on use and misuse of testing. http://www.apa.org/science/testing.html How can a parent begin to understand the many confusing terms used in testing? A glossary of testing terms may be helpful to a parent, as terms are discussed such as achievement, norm referenced, standardized, bell curve. LD Online - Evaluation: What Does it Mean for Your Child
I am hearing about a new school procedure, “RTI” What is it? Response to Intervention (RTI) is not a new concept, was recently more formalized by the passage of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) in 2004.
Local educational agencies (LEAs) “shall not be required to take into consideration whether a child has a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability” and “may use a process that determines if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the evaluation procedures” (Pub.L.No.108-446 & 614 [b] A}; & 614 [b][2 & 3]).
Non-verbal intelligence test. These tests are nonverbal measure of intelligence requiring no speaking or writing on the part of either the examiner or the test taker. For this reason, they are very populare with the autism population The Leiter International Performance Test-R (LIPS-R)