Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the advantages of having my child evaluated by someone knowledgeable about giftedness?
- How long does an evaluation take? Will it be stressful for my child?
- What, if anything, are we required to bring to the evaluation?
- How long will it take to have results provided?
- What should we expect to gather from the results given?
Assesssment Questions Regarding Young Children
- What are your thoughts on early assessment?
- Do you think it is too early to have our child assessed? Would it make much difference to test at age 5 or 6 versus postponing it 6-9 months from now?
- What is your experience evaluating preschool children? What are the pros and cons?
- Would there be an advantage for us to travel for an assessment versus finding a local alternative?
- What is the cost?
- How soon can we make an appointment?
- Are you a participating provider for any particular health insurance plans?
What are the advantages of having my child evaluated by someone knowledgeable about giftedness?
There are a number of advantages. First, most psychologists are not familiar with the specific characteristics of gifted children or the implications of these characteristics within the testing setting. Second, a psychologist who understands these characteristics and implications is less likely to misinterpret the asynchronous development of a gifted child as pathological. It is this misinterpretation that often leads to misdiagnoses. Third, once the results are obtained, a psychologist with a background in giftedness can discuss these in the context of giftedness, specifying how these results will impact school performance and personal adjustment. This psychologist can then provide specific recommendations for you, your child, and his/her education. Fourth, a psychologist familiar with giftedness can help parents sort out myths about gifted children from reality, and discuss what is known from clinical experience and research. Finally, by consulting a psychologist familiar with giftedness, a parent can avoid the typical conclusion of an evaluation by someone not familiar with giftedness and its implications: "OK, I have these results and now know my child is gifted. Now what?!??" Unfortunately, many families who contact our office for follow-up consultation have already spent time and money obtaining an evaluation, and have little idea of how to use that information. Additional consultation is often needed to answer the specific questions parents still have. For additional gifted resources, check out our Resources tab.
How long does an evaluation take? Will it be stressful for my child?
A comprehensive evaluation for a child typically takes 6-10 hours, which includes interviews with parents and child, testing, scoring, and review of results. The exact tests used are determined by the questions parents hope to have answered at the end of evaluation. Although the evaluation can often be completed in one day, it makes a long day for everyone. Spreading the evaluation over two to three sessions whenever possible is preferred.
If done well, the evaluation process is often therapeutic and decreases rather than increases stress. However, every child is an individual and no one can predict how he or she might react to the experience. I strive to provide quality assessments that answer the questions parents have and do so in an accepting environment. Most kids enjoy the one-on-one testing setting and have a good time. If you have the flexibility to stretch the evaluation over a couple of days, that also decreases the stress (typically on everyone).
What, if anything, are we required to bring to the evaluation?
Any testing that may have been done, any reports from school, and any background information about your child that you have handy (e.g., developmental milestones) would decrease the amount of interview needed. A background form is used to gather information. It and any needed checklists (depending on the specific questions you want answered) will be sent before the scheduled appointment. Reviewing what has been completed before evaluation helps to determine what is not needed because it has already been done. This will likely decrease the amount of time needed for the evaluation, thereby decreasing costs as well.
How long will it take to have results provided?
Verbal feedback is provided right after the evaluation or at a scheduled follow-up. After the evaluation is completed and verbal feedback is given, you will receive the written report with scores, conclusions, and specific recommendations in a month or less.
What should we expect to gather from the results given?
You can expect a profile (and/or description if any testing has been done) of strengths and weaknesses in intellectual development, an assessment of academic skills, information on learning style and social/emotional development or adjustment, any diagnostic concerns (like ADHD if that is a question), recommendations about school placement/options, and home management if needed. In short, I will ask you what questions you hope to have answered by the end of evaluation and work to provide an assessment that answers those in the context of the test results and information gathered. Specific recommendations are provided.
What are your thoughts on early assessment?
Early assessment can be a proactive step to avoid difficulties with inappropriate curriculum or behavior problems that arise. I don't often recommend it before age 4, unless there are some significant issues. Typically, the spring before a child is eligible to start kindergarten (or the spring before a parent would like to the child to start kindergarten) is a great time to assess because that gives the maximum amount of information (for a child that age) with a good deal of time to plan for the fall. Waiting much beyond that makes planning more difficult, though certainly not impossible.
Do you think it is too early to have our child assessed? Would it make much difference to test at age 5 or 6 versus postponing
it 6-9 months from now?
Waiting 6-9 months may create more frustration. Gathering as much information as possible can really help planning. However, if you are comfortable with the current direction of school and it seems to be meeting his or her needs, then waiting would likely be OK. However, if you have taken the step to research assessment options, then it is likely that you are not all that comfortable with the current situation and being more clear on your child's needs and possible interventions would be helpful now, not 6-9 months from now.
What is your experience evaluating preschool children? What are the pros and cons?
I have evaluated many and have found that, with more information, parents are more informed about their child's abilities and needs. This allows them to advocate for what seems best based on data as opposed to what they or others "think" might be best. I really see no cons unless the evaluation is conducted by someone unfamiliar with gifted and results in little or no direction-or even worse-wrong directions.
Would there be an advantage for us to travel for an assessment versus finding a local alternative?
I find it helpful for the testing to be completed by someone experienced with gifted children. I do all of the testing personally, rather than having a graduate student or other worker. I think that interaction is very helpful. I have seen too many people get evaluations by others without gifted experience, which results in confusion at best and misdiagnosis at worse. My biggest frustration is when someone has an evaluation completed (and has spent a lot of time and money in the process), but still really does not know what the results mean or what they should do. There are many people qualified to do testing with young children, but without the background in gifted, it may not be as helpful as you would like.
How soon can we make an appointment?
Typically, new clients can be seen within three to four weeks, though this varies by the time of year. Summertime (June through August) is more flexible since schools are out of session, and waiting periods are often shorter. Please contact the office for scheduling information.
Are you a participating provider for any particular health insurance plans?
I am not an in-network provider for any insurance plan or HMO provider panel. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, client confidentiality and privacy is of the utmost importance. Often, insurance companies will collect information for their future use, information which may or may not be relevant to your work at Amend Psychological Services, PSC. Because I work independently, no information leaves this office unless specifically requested by clients, or unless I am legally obligated to release information, such as in cases of abuse. Working independently on a fee-for-service basis allows me to use my professional judgment to serve clients as my clients and I agree is appropriate, not as dictated or regulated by an insurance company or health management organization (HMO). In addition, this decreases the time and paperwork requirements for the practice and keeps office costs (and, in turn, fees) lower. Ultimately, I believe that working this way allows for a more positive and hassle-free experience.
If you do have insurance that may reimburse some of your costs, you will be able to obtain a receipt containing all of the necessary information so that you can work with your insurance company to get reimbursed for any out-of-network benefits you may have. Your insurance company has an obligation to you, none to Amend Psychological Services, PSC.