What Kind of Evaluations Are Available?
A neurological or memory evaluation is typically given when there is suspected decline in memory functioning (possibly due to traumatic brain injury or disease). Such a battery of tests can be given to establish a baseline for the client’s functioning, as well as to document the level of decline at regular intervals.
Intellectual/Academic (Child & Adult)
Formal intelligence tests are usually given as part of a broader battery of tests when some sort of problem is suspected. Children may present with delayed developmental milestones. Alternatively, children may perform unusually poorly in one or more subjects, despite seemingly normal intelligence. Standardized intelligence testing is the primary tool for identifying individuals with intellectual disabilities. When the results of standardized intelligence testing are compared with the results of a measure of academic achievement, it is possible to identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of a student, inform decisions regarding eligibility for educational services/placement, or provide evidence for diagnosis of a specific learning disability.
ADHD (Child & Adult)
The CDC estimates that up to 11% of children have ADHD. In fact, it is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children under the age of 18. There are many online checklists available for parents to fill out that can give an indication of whether or not a child has ADHD. However, it is important to note that there are several other conditions that are often misdiagnosed as ADHD including: trauma responses, mood disorders, sensory processing disorder, autism, hearing problems, or even a lack of maturity. In order to be responsible, a practitioner often must “rule out” the presence of other difficulties.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (Child & Adult) - Includes the ADOS-2
There is presently no medical test that can diagnose a child with autism. Autism is considered a “spectrum” disorder. In other words, the presentation can be vastly different from child to child. Often, the first signs may be a lack or eye contact or playing with a toy in strange or repetitive ways. Early diagnosis and intervention gives a child the best chance at both short-term success (academic and social skills) and long-term independence.
Emotional Functioning/Personality Functioning (Adult)
The purpose of a general psychological evaluation is to provide the client a deeper understanding of himself/herself. At times, the results of such an evaluation are used to make complex and life-altering decisions. The end goal is to synthesize an assortment of assessment techniques so that recommendations can be made for the client’s benefit. A psychological evaluation has both depth (the forms of assessment used reflect the intensity of the issue being examined) and breadth (the methods of assessment are multiple to ensure that the examiner has done everything necessary to thoroughly assess the issue being examined).
Trauma/Foster Care Evaluation (Child)
Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as the emotional response someone has to an extremely negative event. At times, the impact of that event is severe enough to interfere with an individual’s ability to live a normal life. In such cases, help may be needed to process the event. While many sources of trauma are physically violent in nature, others are psychological. Some common sources of trauma include:
Severe illness or injury
The death of a loved one
Witnessing an act of violence
Young children, including those who are in FPS care, are especially vulnerable to trauma and should be psychologically examined after a traumatic event has occurred to ensure their emotional well-being.
Parenting (Adult or Adolescent)
The foundation for a parenting evaluation is a general psychological evaluation. However, the parenting evaluation also assesses an additional dimension: the client’s ability to parent. Such an evaluation would typically be completed to comply with a court order or meet FPS requirements. However, the results are not intended to be used for the purposes of custody decisions.