As noted on my main page, I have extensive experience with testing. I tested my first child back in 1992 as a first year graduate student, taught graduate level assessment and therapy from 1997-2005, and have been performing therapy/conducting assessments in private practice since 2003.
My Testing Philosophy
As a former professor, I rely on research to support the measures and procedures I use when trying to determine the causes of a child, adolescent, or adult’s learning or attentional problem. The way I look at it is that there are many things that can cause inattention or learning problems in school and it is my job not only to assess for the suspected problem but also to determine that something else is not there.
For example, I could talk with a parent or a teacher, have them describe the child’s problems with concentrating, paying attention, or sitting still and determine that the child meets the symptom requirements for ADHD. However, that leaves out many, many things. For example, what is the child’s learning like? A child who is having classroom difficulties may not pay attention because he or she does not understand what is going on and may get out of the seat, talk to others, and engage in a number of disruptive behaviors because he or she just doesn’t “get it”. Less frequently, but still probable, is the child who gets the material and is so bored he or she has trouble staying on task. Finally, there are a number of emotional factors that can look like an attentional problem. For example, depression is associated with difficulty concentrating and paying attention. Anxiety is often associated with fidgetiness and thoughts that jump from topic to topic.
The point of all this is not that I can find a problem if I really want, but to explain that you really have to see a person’s strength and weaknesses and to rule out problems that could be a factor as well as rule in a particular problem that you think is present.
The Testing Process
In my practice, the testing process begins with detailed conversation with the parent or parents to find out what the problem is, how long it has been going on, what has been done about it, and why the parent is calling now. I then typically talk with the teachers and other knowledgeable people to see what concerns they have. From there, I make some tentative hypotheses and decide whether or not it sounds like testing needs to be done or not. If so, I talk again with the parent and set up a time for testing. The first session is usually scheduled for approximately five hours. While that may sound like a lot and can intimidate some people, it takes a while to administer the tests used in an assessment battery. The list of tests are noted below, but the assessment includes educational testing (IQ and achievement) and measures of behavior and personality functioning.
Adult testing is similar in many ways to testing for children and adolescents, except that it is often more difficult to obtain the full childhood history. It is still important to determine the childhood history and to see what pattern of behaviors are evident. This is particularly important because (1) ADHD is often more difficult to diagnose in adults and (2)
For more information about >ADHD< click here For more information on >Learning Disabilities< click here