Why would I need an assessment?
Evaluations may be requested by an individual directly,
but often they are recommended by another service provider
(learning specialist, teacher, therapist, physician, etc.)
so that this provider can give better care to the person
being assessed and/or so that the individual may obtain
reasonable accommodations at school or at work. Reasons
for assessment range from determining whether a specific
condition such as dyslexia or Alzheimer's may exist, to
more generally finding what aspects might be troubling a
person or causing them difficulties. With children, assessment
can help better identify and understand such things as learning
differences and attention deficits, or emotional factors
that may be contributing to distress or behavior problems.
Deeper understanding can lead to more efficient and effective
treatment, beneficial supports and accommodations at school
or at work, better functioning within the family, and greater
quality of life for the individual.
What will happen during the assessment process?
First, I will meet with you to discuss any concerns you
have about yourself or, in the case of a child assessment,
about your child or adolescent. I will help you develop
questions that you would like answered. I provide a comprehensive
interview for approximately one to one-and-a-half hours
and ask questions about your, or your child’s, developmental
history, educational and occupational background, style
of learning, social history, emotional coping, etc. If it
seems important, I may request your permission to talk with
others (e.g., therapists, spouses, significant others, teachers)
who have information about you or your child’s situation.
Detailed information will allow me to tailor an assessment
to obtain the most in-depth and accurate portrait of the
client, and to answer the relevant questions.
Then you, or your child or adolescent, will spend several
direct assessment hours with me. This amounts to approximately
6 - 8 hours of your (or your child’s) time over the course
of several sessions. All tests administered are standardized
and designed to obtain information about a client’s cognitive
and/or emotional functioning. The assessment tasks are interactive,
problem-solving type tasks that most individuals find interesting
and stimulating. Following the testing, I will analyze and
interpret the results and write a detailed and comprehensive
evaluation report. I will then meet with you, or with you
and your child, to discuss the results. If you wish, I will
meet with personnel at your child’s school to explain the
results as well.
How can I prepare for the evaluation, or prepare
my child for the evaluation?
If you are an adult obtaining an assessment, make sure that
you get adequate sleep the night before testing sessions,
as well as adequate food and water prior to the appointment.
Feel free to bring beverages and/or snacks to the testing
session, since we may be meeting over the course of 2-3
hours. Please dress so that you will be comfortable sitting
for this length of time. Also, please let me know when you
need breaks, as these are important to maintain physical
and mental stamina.
It is helpful if you tell your child or teenager the reasons
why you have requested the evaluation. If you have questions
about how to do this, please ask me. When you bring your
child or teenager in for the first time, we will meet together
during the interview. I may also request some time alone
with you and/or with your child. Please make sure that your
child or teenager gets enough sleep the night before and
has a snack if s/he needs one.
What are the fees for an assessment?
Fees for assessment vary, depending on the complexity of
the questions asked and the type of evaluation required.
After a telephone consultation, I will quote you a fee for
the entire assessment. I ask that you pay half of the assessment
fee at the end of the first session and half at the final
Will my insurance cover the cost of this evaluation?
Please contact your insurance provider directly for more
information about their reimbursement policy for psychological,
neuropsychological, and/or psychoeducational testing. I
require payment in full, but am happy to provide an explicit
invoice that you can submit for reimbursement if your insurance
provider covers part or all of the evaluation.
What if I the assessment reveals that therapy
or another type of treatment would be helpful?
I have a network of professionals that I am happy to refer
you to should you need to follow-up with a therapist, learning
specialist, psychiatrist, or other professional. I am not
in the position of being able to provide therapy services
at this time, myself, as my work is exclusively focused
on assessment. However, I will work with you to find a professional
with whom you feel comfortable.
I am available to provide an evidence-based treatment for
attention and working memory deficits through Cogmed. Cogmed
is a home-based computer program that helps people with
attention problems by training and increasing their working
memory capacity. Working memory is the ability to keep information
in your mind for a short time, focus on a task, and remember
what to do next. By training your working memory, you will
be better able to stay focused, ignore distractions, plan
next steps, remember instructions, and start and finish
tasks. Candidates for this type of training are children
and adults with attention deficits or learning disorders,
victims of brain injury or stroke, adults experiencing information
overload or the natural effects of aging, and adults wishing
to maximize their cognitive efficacy. Please contact me
for more information and/or go to the Cogmed website to
learn more about this program at www.cogmed.com.
What are learning disabilities?
If a child has average or above-average intelligence and
is performing poorly, or unevenly, in school, he or she
may have a learning disability. This disability is caused
by the makeup or function of a person's brain and may last
throughout life. Learning disabilities have a wide range
of characteristics and various degrees of severity. However,
all learning disabled individuals have poor or uneven academic
achievement even though they have normal or above-normal
intelligence. These children may show difficulties with
attention, memory, listening, speaking, reading, writing,
solving math problems, or with visual-perceptual processing.
Comprehensive evaluation is necessary to identify the nature,
type, and severity of an individual’s learning disabilities.
It is also very important for such individuals to understand
their cognitive strengths so that they may rely on these
in their learning experiences.
What is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
AD/HD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is highly genetic.
It is present from birth, although characteristics of AD/HD
may not be noticed until the individual begins school and
particular demands are made on their attention, ability
to focus, and organization. There are three types of AD/HD.
The first, AD/HD, Predominantly Hyperactive-Impulsive Type,
describes individuals who have an above-average amount of
activity, have difficulty sitting still, and are fidgety
and restless. They also experience a high degree of distractibility
and difficulty inhibiting their impulses to get up from
their seats, say their thoughts out loud, and be social
with others even when it may not be the appropriate time
to do so. The second type, AD/HD, Predominantly Inattentive
Type, refers to the type of individual who is prone to daydreaming,
gets lost in his or her thoughts, has difficulty listening
when being spoken to, is distractible, and has significant
difficulty sustaining attention on tasks that are not highly
stimulating, such as reading or performing homework. This
individual also has significant problems with organization
and may be very inconsistent when it comes to turning in
homework for example. The third type, AD/HD, Combined Type,
refers to an individual who experiences a combination of
the hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive types of AD/HD.
Psychoeducational and/or neuropsychological evaluation is
necessary in order to better understand the nature and severity
of an individual’s difficulties with attention and to ascertain
whether they fit the syndrome of AD/HD.