The Testing Process & Preparation
About the Process
Your psychologist will work one-on-one with you, or your child/teen, for the duration of the testing process. We believe that rapport and observation are paramount to proper assessment and diagnosis, as is experience and expertise. As such, we do not rely on students, associates, or techs to complete testing. The testing process begins with an intake, followed by the testing itself. Once testing is complete, your psychologist will interpret the test data, consult with any providers and teachers, etc. for whom consent has been provided, review history and observations, and integrate findings into a detailed written report with diagnosis (if appropriate) and recommendations. Reports are written to be ‘user friendly,’ meaning we want not only doctors, educators, and other providers to understand them, but also our patients and their families. Once the report is ready (again, about two weeks after testing), your psychologist will meet with you for a feedback session.
The intake, testing (up to 8 hours), report, and feedback are all included in the full testing fee. Some testing includes school observations for an additional fee. Often, testing involves seeking releases of information to contact school staff and other providers. When appropriate, we will ask that teachers fill out checklists for students as well. Your consent will be necessary for us to contact or release information to school staff or other providers.
This usually includes the adult, or the parents/caregivers of the child/teen, being testing. Sometimes, a teen may attend as well. This is an excellent opportunity to share concerns, ask questions, and if you are a parent/caregiver, discuss how to talk with your child about the testing process (e.g., what it is, what to expect). This is also the time when your psychologist will ask all about you or your child to recommend which testing is most appropriate, and to create a testing plan. We’ll also talk about your /your child/teen’s current medications, and discuss whether there are any that should be avoided during testing.
Since each testing experience and protocol is personalized, the duration of testing, as well as the test measures included, depend on the referral and/or diagnostic question(s), the age of the individual, the number of breaks needed, and the speed at which the individual completes tasks. Comprehensive testing is generally completed over two days (approximately four hours each). The first step in the testing process is building rapport and helping the individual being evaluated feel comfortable with the process. Breaks are provided throughout the testing day. We encourage you to bring/send drinks, snack, and lunch. Quiet activities for breaks are also welcome. If you are a parent/caregiver, so long as your child is not a behavior risk, or overly anxious at separating, you do not have to stay on site during testing. Of course, you are welcome to do so. If you choose to leave, we ask that you be able to return within 20-30 minutes if needed. Please see our other testing pages for information about each type of testing offered.
The Feedback Session
During the feedback session, your psychologist will provide the report, discuss findings, provide referrals, and a plan for next steps. If you are a parent/caregiver, we generally ask that you attend the feedback session without your child, though this is not always the case. We sometimes have children, especially teens, join for at least part of the feedback. Other times, we may offer separate feedback sessions for children or teens. Your psychologist will remain available for questions and support, even after the feedback session. Additional meetings can be scheduled at our hourly rate as well. Your psychologist may also be available to attend meetings for 504 Plans, IEPs, and learning support plans, if you are interested in having them do so. If so, the hourly rate will apply for these meetings as well.
Test Prep - 'the Dos & Don'ts'
It is imperative that those undergoing testing avoid any and all online ‘test prep companies,’ or practice exams/question samples, prior to testing. Based on our ethical guidelines, psychologists are required to end testing and discard scores if it becomes clear a child has been ‘prepped’ or exposed in advance to test materials (outside of previous testing experiences). Additionally, gifted programs and private schools are careful to ensure that potential applicants have not been prepped. They will not accept students if they are concerned.
Instead, we recommend focusing on adequate sleep, good nutrition, and appropriate relaxation and exercise prior to testing. Of course, activities like reading, brain games, board games, building, drawing, and puzzles, and school-based tasks are completely appropriate prior to testing.
If you or your child is sick on the testing day, we recommend you call to reschedule even though re-scheduling may delay results, as illness may compromise performance.
How to Talk with Kids about Testing
We like to keep it simple and positive. Try something like, “Everyone’s brain is different, and brains are always changing. You are going to do some testing to learn how you think, learn, and feel right now. This will help us understand you better, help us help you to feel your best, and help us figure out ways to make school, homework, and studying as enjoyable and easy as possible. Lots of people take these tests to help them, their families, and their teachers. Some of the testing will be really easy, and some will be really hard. It is supposed to be that way, and it is ok and expected if you make mistakes. You are not getting grades like in school. We just want you to do your best.”