An assessment is a helpful tool to better understand the strengths and challenges a child may have in their cognitive and behavioral functioning as well as their emotional development. In addition to a more comprehensive understanding of a child’s neurocognitive and emotional profile, the goal of an assessment is to use this information to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the unique characteristics of each child.
Assessments at PNC are a collaborative process. Each evaluation begins with a parent intake session in which a thorough review of the child’s developmental history is conducted and the family’s concerns are discussed in depth. Teachers and other involved professionals also provide a critical source of information and may contribute to the process through the completion of rating scales and sharing their observations. Through the administration of a specialized battery of interactive tests, we are able to use data comparisons to help understand each child’s functioning relative to other children their age. The goal of completing the assessment is to clarify each child’s areas of strength and challenge, contextualize these findings within specific settings, and support each family in identifying effective treatments.
Why are children referred for an assessment?
Children are referred by a doctor, teacher, school psychologist, or other professional because of one or more concerns related to:
Learning, attention, behavior, socialization, or emotional control
A disease or developmental problem that affects the brain in some way
A brain injury from accident, head trauma, or other physical stress
What will the results tell me?
A comprehensive assessment provides a roadmap of each child’s cognitive, academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning. Children and adolescents often appreciate understanding their strengths and challenges so they can take a more active role in the processes designed to help them and to begin advocating for their own needs going forward. Regardless of age, many clients find assessments helpful to understand themselves better and feel more motivated and engaged in their treatment or intervention.<top>
Consultation and Record Review
If you or your child has received an assessment in the past and you need guidance in selecting the most effective treatment, we can help by creating and implementing a cohesive, individualized treatment plan based on your goals and priorities. We can also help you determine if further assessment may warranted if questions remain or some time has passed since the assessment and updated results may be needed to track progress. <top>
A neuropsychological evaluation assists in gaining a comprehensive understanding of your child’s functioning in areas such as memory, attention, perception, coordination, language, organization and planning, inhibition, as well as personality. This information will help you and your child’s teacher, therapist, and physician provide treatments and interventions for your child that will meet his or her unique needs. By comparing your child’s test scores to scores of children of similar ages, the neuropsychologist can create a profile of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The results help those involved in your child’s care in a number of ways.
Testing can help elucidate why your child is having problems in school. For example, a child may have difficulty reading because of an attention problem, a language disorder, an auditory processing problem, or a reading disability. Testing also guides the pediatric neuropsychologist’s design of interventions to draw upon your child’s strengths. The results identify what skills to work on, as well as which strategies to use to help your child most effectively.
Testing can help detect the effects of developmental, neurological and medical problems, such as epilepsy, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, or a genetic disorder. Testing may be done to obtain a baseline against which to measure the outcome of treatment or the child’s development over time.
Different childhood disorders result in specific patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses. These profiles of abilities can help identify a child’s disorder and the brain areas that are involved. For example, testing can help differentiate between an attention deficit and depression or determine whether a language delay is due to a problem in producing speech, understanding or expressing language, social shyness, autism, or cognitive delays. Your neuropsychologist may work with your physician to combine results from medical tests, such as brain imaging or blood tests, to diagnose your child’s problem.
Most importantly, testing provides a better understanding of the child’s behavior and learning in school, at home, and in the community. The evaluation can guide teachers, therapists, and parents to better help your child achieve his or her full potential. <top>
Targeted assessment is an individually tailored battery of tests designed to provide information on a specific diagnostic question or to help monitor treatment efficacy. This assessment model is often requested in the following situations:
Medication monitoring - To answer questions about whether a medication or changes in dose are providing a beneficial impact on specific behaviors or mood.
Diagnostic clarification - To explore specific questions about an existing diagnosis or a possible diagnosis. For example, the referral question may include concerns about a possible diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or mood disorder (e.g., Anxiety, Depression).
Academic screening - Assessment of specific skills related to reading, writing, or mathematics can provide a meaningful appraisal of academic achievement and help provide critical information for students receiving support services. <top>
FREE READING ASSESSMENTS
Free 2019 Spring Reading Screener Coming April 13!
If you believe your child struggles with reading or if your child’s teacher has noticed reading weaknesses, he or she may benefit from a reading assessment. Please contact us to schedule your free assessment! (Appointments are limited and required.)
Free Reading Assessments inform you about:
Early signs of reading difficulty
Evidence-based reading interventions
Navigating the public school IEP process
Support from local parent advocates and attorneys
Does Your Child:
Avoid reading aloud or for pleasure?
Become anxious when asked to read aloud?
Have trouble sounding out new and unfamiliar words?
Struggle with spelling?