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  • How do I know if my child needs an evaluation?

    Parents are often nervous and unsure about seeking the help of a psychologist. As a parent, you likely have a thorough understanding of your child. Your observations coupled with feedback from school personnel may lead you in the direction of seeking the assistance of a psychologist and a psychoeducational evaluation. A child may be in need of an evaluation if he/she repeatedly struggles in school. Parents should also ask themselves if teachers have been making the same comments for years. Evaluations are often sought if things just don't seem "right". Simply stated, trust your instincts. A psychoeducational evaluation can provide you and your child with answers. This evaluation may be an appropriate first step in determining the presence of an educational disability and interventions that can be attempted within home and school environments.

  • What is a psychoeducational evaluation?

    A psychoeducational evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of a child's current functioning in home and school environments. The evaluation answers the why and how questions. The why question is the essential focus of the evaluation and is the building block for determining the reasons behind a child's academic struggles. The how question and portion of the evaluation specifies how the child's educational needs can be met. Specific and feasible instructional interventions, modification in test taking, strategies for the home environment, and recommendations for services by other education professionals (e.g., speech, occupational, or physical therapists, neurologists, psychologists etc.) are offered.

  • What is the evaluation process?

    Dr. Dub's evaluations are thorough and collaborative. There are six steps in the evaluation process.
    1. Parent Meeting: Prior to meeting with a child, there is a parent conference that enables a beginning understanding of a child and the reason for referral. This meeting assists in generating ideas for the testing and report writing processes. Parents are asked to bring prior testing reports (i.e., psychological, neuropsychological, educational, speech-language, or occupational therapy evaluations), school reports (including report cards, standardized testing results), and prior special education documentation including the Individual Education Plan (IEP) or Section 504 plan. Parents will be asked to sign a mutual release of information thereby allowing consultation between Dr. Dub, the school, and any other professionals (i.e., private tutors, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, ABA therapists) working with an individual child. Parents may be asked to complete a behavior rating scale to assist in better understanding the child.
    2. School Observation (optional, but suggested): This piece of the evaluation is pivotal, especially for young students. A school observation assists in seeing a child in his/her routine (a one-on-one testing situation does not provide a complete picture of a child on a daily basis in a natural environment). The school observation can help determine interventions, the appropriateness of the current placement, and supports that can be accessed within the school environment. During a school observation, there may also be the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with a child's teacher(s) and other personnel familiar with a student.
    3. Individual Testing: Testing time varies depending upon a child's age. The testing component of an evaluation is scheduled in time blocks lasting between two to three hours per session. There are typically three to four sessions needed with a preference for the sessions occurring at different times during the day (i.e., morning, early afternoon, and late afternoon). This is done to ensure that there is ample opportunity to see how a child functions at different points in time during the day.
    4. Consultation and Report Writing: Once the individual testing has been completed, report writing takes approximately three weeks. This time allows for additional consultation with other professionals familiar with a child.
    5. Parent Feedback: Once the report is completed, a parent feedback conference is scheduled to review testing results. This feedback session may last up to 2 hours. Questions are answered, concerns are clarified, and the hope is that parents leave the meeting with a greater understanding of their child and the reasoning behind some of the observed behaviors in home and school environments. The goal is to give parents direction and a "roadmap" in seeking out support and services from schools or private professionals. Parents are encouraged to read the pscyhoeducational report soon after the feedback meeting and to contact Dr. Dub for additional consultation. Referrals for mental health and educational professionals who are specifically trained to work with children and families are available.
    6. Follow-Up: Dr. Dub is available to attend school-based meetings (i.e., support team, special education or Section 504 meetings) in person or on a conference call to advocate for a child's needs.

  • What can I expect in the written report?

    The purpose of the psychoeducational report is to view the current functioning of a child in light of past experiences. To this end, the report is divided into a number of sections:
    1. Reason for Referral: The primary concerns and reasons for conducting the psychoeducational assessment are clearly outlined in this initial section.
    2. Assessment Methods: The tests administered and professionals consulted during the evaluation are outlined for the reader.
    3. Background Information: A thorough social-emotional history is completed by the parent from birth to current day functioning. Parents will be asked to report on developmental milestones (e.g., walking, talking), fine and gross motor skills, language development, peer and family relationships, and educational history. For children in school, there is a complete review of report card grades and standardized test results. The background information is key in providing the foundation for a thorough assessment.
    4. Behavior Observations: It is imperative to have an indication of functioning in a number of different environments. Parents, teachers, caregivers, therapists (if appropriate), and others are consulted regarding current observations and functioning of a child. If possible, a school observation is conducted to view the child in the natural academic environment. Observations are also made throughout the individual testing sessions to provide extensive and important information regarding a child's behavior and functioning in a one-on-one testing environment.
    5. Test Results and Interpretation: This section highlights the individual assessment and behavior ratings completed by the student, parent, teacher(s), and others. This section varies depending upon the reason for referral. Findings from the intellectual, academic, information processing, attention and executive functioning, social emotional status and personality inventories are reviewed. An explanation of the skills assessed on each measure is offered. The earned scores (i.e., standard scores and percentile ranks), score classification, and important observations and hypotheses regarding test performance are given in this section. If applicable, the current findings are also compared with prior test results.
    6. Summary/Recommendations: This is the final narrative portion of the report whereby there is a summary of findings and an appropriate DSM-IV diagnosis. Based upon the diagnosis, recommendations are made for home and school environments. Recommendations are well-thought out and relevant to the student, family, and environments that would be able to support a given intervention.
    7. Data Sheets: This section provides tables indicating standard scores and percentile ranks for the norm-referenced tests administered during the battery.

  • What is a norm-referenced, standardized test?

    A norm-referenced assessment is one in which a child's performance is compared to a large sample of same-aged students from across the nation. A standardized measure means that every individual who completes the assessment does so in the same way. Every test taker hears the same directions, is given the same sample items, and is allowed the same prompts that help the examiner gain a better understanding of the child.

  • What is the difference between a testing accommodation and program modification?

    Testing modifications are changes to the way a test is administered to a student. For example, a student who has extended time (1.5X) to complete school tests will be given standard time plus half-time to complete a test. If standard time to complete a test is thirty minutes, the child with extended time (1.5X) will be given a total of 45 minutes to complete the test.

    Program accommodations are changes to a student's existing program at school. An example would be attendance in an academic support or resource room during the regular school day.

  •   © 2007 Elyse Dub, Ph. D., NCSP, NYS Licensed Psychologist