Psychoeducational Evaluation

We conduct psychoeducational evaluations of children/adolescents 3-18 years old to assess intellectual, academic, and emotional/behavioral functioning. Additional assessment of phonological processing is conducted whenever there is question of a potential reading disorder. Test results are used to determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses in various domains with the goal of helping her/him to be more successful in school, social, and other situations. If a diagnosis seems appropriate, test results can help determine if the child qualifies for reasonable academic accommodations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The results of the evaluation are used to develop treatment recommendations and interventions.

Evaluations involve a review of available records; interview of the parent/guardian, child, and potentially school staff or other professionals familiar with the child; and psychometric testing. Children are typically finished by lunch, but if not, are given a lunch break before completing testing.

Once the evaluation is completed, a report is written providing a summary of test results and recommendations. A feedback session (usually 1 hour) is scheduled to review the findings and recommendations with parents/guardians, and potentially with the child in a separate feedback session (if desired). We provide numerous recommendations related to accommodations needed in school to improve performance and behavior, as well as interventions that may be beneficial.

As further described in the “Child Neuropsychological Evaluation” section of this website, children with reading difficulties may have underlying problems related to phonological awareness (awareness and access to the phonological structure of oral language), rapid naming (retrieval of phonological information from long-term or permanent memory, and the ability to execute a sequence of operations quickly and repeatedly), orthographic input (i.e., identifying letter and number reversals), orthographic processing (symbol imagery which is important for identifying sight words), and rapid naming (which is important for reading fluency and reading comprehension). We evaluate the child’s strengths and weaknesses, and this information is helpful for developing appropriate interventions for improving the child’s reading skills.

Similarly, children who struggle in math may experience deficits in visual-spatial skills (e.g., writing out problems and carrying numbers), although these deficits may not hinder math performance until later grades since earlier grades place less emphasis on complex math calculations. Other children struggle with math because of limited math knowledge, and subsequently benefit from drilling in math facts and concepts. Children may also experience difficulties performing math story problems because of reading comprehension difficulties. Test results can be used to determine the specific strengths and weaknesses related to broad math skills. However, neuropsychological testing (described on another page) is often needed to further assess certain abilities that can reduce math performance, including higher-level visual perceptual/spatial skills, working memory, and planning skills). Test results are used to develop specific recommendations for interventions and accommodations in school to improve the child’s math skills and academic performance.

Finally, children with problems related to spelling and/or written expression may experience problems with phonological processing and/or hand graphomotor skills (which may result in sloppy handwriting or slowed written production). These children may benefit from participating in occupational therapy to improve their hand motor skills. We also determine possible accommodations that may be beneficial for these children in school, which may include dictating test responses, receiving note-taking services, etc. We carefully evaluate various problems that may underlie spelling/written expression disorders, including basic spelling and written sentence/paragraph writing. Certain tasks requiring hand graphomotor skills and visual perceptual/spatial skills are assessed within a psychoeducational evaluation, but these abilities are more thoroughly assessed within a neuropsychological evaluation.

Attention/concentration and executive functioning deficits often contribute to academic difficulties. Although these domains are briefly assessed through psychoeducational evaluations, neuropsychological testing is needed to more thoroughly assess these domains.

The following domains are typically assessed in a psychoeducational evaluation:

  • Various forms of intelligence (e.g., verbal and nonverbal abilities)
  • Academic skills (e.g., basic reading, reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, math calculations, math reasoning, and academic fluency/speed)
  • Phonological Processing (e.g., phonological awareness and
    rapid naming abilities)
  • Emotional/behavioral functioning