We evaluate children, adolescents, and adults with concerns related to academic and work performance. Sometimes individuals present with specific concerns, such as difficulty with reading or problems paying attention. Other individuals have more general questions about difficulty functioning at school or work. An evaluation helps to answer these questions. The process of conducting a comprehensive educational evaluation includes three parts: gathering a developmental history, testing, and the verbal and written interpretation of the results.
Gathering Background Information
Information is gathered from parents, teachers, and other professionals (medical providers, tutors, care-givers). Parents participate in an initial intake session which lasts about 60 minutes. In this session, we go over the developmental forms that they fill out prior to the session, expanding on pertinent aspects of their child’s history. Parents also fill out several standardized questionnaires that inquire about various aspects of their child’s general and academic functioning. Further history is gathered from any available information from previous testing, school records, report cards, communication from teachers, etc. With the parent’s written permission, teachers provide information by filling out several questionnaires, which are teacher forms of the same questionnaires completed by parents. Dependent on each child’s unique situation, (also with parent permission) we contact relevant professionals who may provide insight.
Formal testing includes cognitive testing, achievement testing, and executive function testing. Each battery is tailored to the needs of the individual being tested. For example, testing might include further assessment of the fine motor tasks necessary for writing. Students also complete the self-report version of the same standardized questionnaires that are completed by parents and teachers (depending on age). Testing is done over two sessions, with each session lasting 2 to 3 hours.
This part of the evaluation is very important for making sure the results of testing are well understood by the individual tested and by their parents. We schedule separate feedback sessions with parents and with the individual being tested. This session typically lasts 90 minutes. In the feedback session we discuss results of the testing, any diagnoses made based on the testing, and academic and general recommendations. We then write a comprehensive report detailing all the testing results, which includes a recommendation section. We encourage parents and older students to share the report with the school and with other professionals that may be involved with providing services, such as reading specialists, academic tutors, and medical professionals. These reports can be instrumental in qualifying students for services and academic accommodations throughout their education.