Psychological testing provides an opportunity for individuals, parents, primary care providers, pediatricians, teachers, administrators, attorneys, and the like to better understand the intellectual, academic, attentional, socio-emotional, autism-related, and/or personality functioning of the referred client. A comprehensive battery of psychological testing usually takes three to four hours to complete. Results can provide significant diagnostic clarification and guidance for treatment interventions.
At the ACFH, psychological testing is usually completed in three parts. During the first appointment, a detailed intake interview is conducted with the person being tested, or with a parent/guardian if the person being tested is a minor. Rating scales for parents and/or teachers are usually disseminated and are to be returned no later than the next appointment. At the second appointment, the full testing battery is typically administered. During the final appointment, usually scheduled two to three weeks following the date of testing, an interpretive session provides an opportunity to review the detailed report, ask questions, and to explore recommendations.
Here are our responses to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Why might I consider undergoing a psychological evaluation for myself or my child?
ANSWER: If you or your child have been experiencing emotional and/or behavioral challenges at school, home, work, and/or other community settings, a psychological evaluation can help reveal the underlying causes or correlates of those challenges. Testing can also shine a light on what interventions or treatments can best lead to improvement across multiple levels of functioning.
What if I’m concerned about my child being labeled with a diagnosis?
ANSWER: Many parents and other supportive adults express concerns that one or more diagnoses might be viewed as a weakness or a liability that might create a disadvantage for a child. In our experience, however, when evaluation results are shared in the context of a supportive educational community, diagnoses like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Specific Learning Disorders with impairment in reading, writing, or math can help your child connect to important resources. These resources may include more intensive classroom supports and accommodations such as additional time on assignments and separate testing areas.
How long does the testing process take?
ANSWER: From your initial contact with our friendly office staff, we will help you determine whether your insurance benefits apply to testing (if applicable) and arrive at an agreeable payment arrangement. If you are using insurance and your company requires a pre-authorization, there may be a delay of up to two weeks to obtain this approval from your insurance company. Once insurance approval has been established, you will typically be scheduled for testing in the next available slot. Your evaluation results will be shared at an appointment called an interpretive, during which you will review test data, receive recommendations, and have an opportunity to ask questions. The interpretive is scheduled two to three weeks from the conclusion of testing.
How quickly may I be scheduled for a psychological evaluation?
ANSWER: Depending on whether you are using insurance and require verification of benefits and a pre-authorization, you may find that these processes can delay testing for several weeks. On the other hand, if you are paying out-of-pocket for your testing, you can often be scheduled within one to three weeks.
Will the parent have to attend the initial interview?
ANSWER: Yes, if the client is a minor and unable to provide consent as the principal informant must be an adult (i.e., at least 18 years of age).
Should my child take his/her ADHD medication on the day of testing?
ANSWER: Yes, unless otherwise indicated by testing clinician or administrator. If a child has been prescribed medication for focus and concentration, their testing outcomes will support the effectiveness of the medication or allow the testing administrator to make additional diagnostic recommendations after observing testing performance. However, the client’s specific referral question (reason for inquiry) will determine the best course of action to effectively answer any clinical questions regarding the child’s overall performance and abilities.
Are parents required to remain onsite for child and adolescent testing clients?
ANSWER: Yes, testing clinicians cannot assume responsibility for clients that are not at the age of consent or legally considered an adult. In the event testing has to be suspended due to anxiety (worry), behavioral concerns, or sudden illness, parents or legal guardians must be immediately available to assume responsibility for the minor client’s support and well-being.
Does the ACFH Test for Autism?
ANSWER: Yes, we use objective and collateral information to screen for Autism. Results are assessed against the latest research and diagnostic criteria for diagnosis.
What is required in a Kindergarten Readiness Evaluation?
ANSWER: As a minimum, the Department of Public Instruction requires that your child be tested by a licensed psychologist in the areas of Aptitude (Intelligence Quotient) and Achievement (academic ability). Your child must score in the 98% percentile or higher in both areas to be considered for early placement. The Armstrong Center for Hope can provide objective testing in those areas and provide a written report to describe your child’s individual abilities.
Will Medicaid Pay for Kindergarten Readiness Evaluations?
ANSWER: No. Medicaid will not pay for anything associated with academic or educational concerns. They only cover issues that demonstrate medical necessity.
What can I expect at the end of the testing process?
ANSWER: Once all testing has been completed, the servicing clinician will schedule a return or follow-up appointment (an “interpretive”) to describe the results of the objective testing session and provide a physical copy of an individualized written report. The expected turn-around time will not exceed three weeks (15 business days) unless there are extenuating circumstances, e.g. acts of nature or illness.