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A child sitting with his parents while a educational professional performs a psychoeducational evaluation.

Psychoeducational Evaluations 101

Have you been told that your child could benefit from a psychoeducational evaluation? If so, you might be wondering what a psychoeducational evaluation is, why your child might need one, and what’s involved with getting one. If you’re wanting to learn more about this kind of testing, we hope you’ll find this information helpful in deciding whether it’s right for your child.

The assessment team at Brentwood Counseling Associates strives to help parents understand their child’s patterns of strengths and weaknesses, identify barriers to success, and gain an understanding of their child’s unique style of learning. We currently offer comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) evaluations for children, adults, and everyone in between. Psychoeducational evaluations are useful in that they highlight a child’s intellectual abilities (including verbal comprehension, visual-spatial reasoning, fluid reasoning, working memory, and processing speed) and reveal a pattern of how they learn in their own unique ways. They also include assessment of academic achievement to assist the clinician in ruling out learning disabilities such as reading disorders and dyslexia, writing disorders and dysgraphia, and math disorders and dyscalculia. This specific type of evaluation further includes assessment of the child’s social-emotional functioning and behavior to help identify disorders such as ADHD and those related to anxiety and depression.

Perhaps the referral concern includes issues such as difficulty focusing, poor concentration, or irritability. A teacher may report to a parent that they observe their student to be anxious about their school work or that it takes them longer to complete their assignments. A parent may notice that their child struggles with friendships or that they are argumentative. The family may report to their pediatrician that their child has been more withdrawn in school and at home and that they spend more time worrying. A tutor may observe that their student struggles with retaining information and with reading comprehension. It is through careful examination of the child’s presenting symptoms, developmental history, academic performance, and data collected in an assessment (including parent and teacher rating forms and questionnaires) that our clinicians can begin to tease out concerns and make a determination about differential diagnoses (e.g., ADHD versus a learning disorder). Psychoeducational evaluations can provide answers about what specific challenges children experience and can assist clinicians in guiding academic supports such as accommodations and/or modifications if needed.

Our comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations begin with a detailed interview with the clinician in which the family can express their concerns and provide helpful information about their child’s developmental, medical, social-emotional, and academic history. This interview is followed by approximately two hours of testing during the first session and three hours of testing during the second session. During that time, the clinician works with the child to gain an understanding about the issues and to make a determination about what tests are needed. An assessment battery generally consists of individually administered, standardized measures such as an IQ test, an academic achievement test, rating scales, and a child interview. Feedback sessions occur within two to three weeks in which the parents meet with the clinician to review a detailed, comprehensive report together and discuss recommendations and potential adjunct therapy referrals. The parent is able to ask questions, and time is spent with them to make sure they understand their child’s overall pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

Contact Brentwood Counseling Associates today if you’d like to explore psychoeducational evaluation for your child.

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