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What is a Psychological Evaluation?
A psychological evaluation ("psych testing") refers to the objective measurement of one or more psychological domains (i.e., cognitive, emotional) for the purpose of clarifying a presenting concern and answering questions about how your child is functioning. The tests and procedures utilized are highly standardized and can help to answer any number of questions about a child.
What questions can testing answer?
Does my child have ADHD? Depression? Anxiety? Learning disorders?
Is my child "gifted"?
My child has received multiple conflicting mental health diagnoses. Can you clarify?
Why is my child doing poorly in school?
What are my child's strengths and needs?
What can I do to help my child thrive at home, school, and in the community?
...and so much more!
HOW LONG DOES THE ASSESSMENT PROCESS TAKE?
Depending on the type of assessment, your child will attend 1-4 appointments. These appointments will occur 1-2 times per week. After testing is completed, feedback will be scheduled within 3 weeks.
WHO WILL PARTICIPATE IN THE EVALUATION?
Depending on the type of assessment, it may be appropriate to gather information from various adults in your child's life. Teachers, coaches, nannies, or other family may be included as appropriate. Dr. Vaudrey will never contact anyone without your written consent!
HOW MUCH DOES TESTING COST?
A comprehensive assessment is currently billed at a flat rate of $5000. Depending on the complexity of the assessment, reason for referral, and quantity of measures administered, costs may vary somewhat. (For example, a Gifted/Talented assessment will be a lower cost, as it is not comprehensive and requires less testing).
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE FLAT-RATE COST?
All testing appointments and phone contact with caregivers from the point of intake until feedback meeting.
All collateral phone calls to gather information from teachers, therapists, or family members
All test materials
Scoring & interpretation of all findings
Thorough, integrated report of all assessment findings, diagnostic impressions with clear rationales, and personalized recommendations based on your child's unique strengths and needs
Developmentally appropriate "Kid Letter" summarizing key themes/findings for your child (subject to parent approval)
90-minute feedback session explaining results to caregiver(s) and child.
WILL YOU ATTEND AN IEP OR OTHER SCHOOL MEETINGS?
Yes! Additional feedback or treatment team meetings are available and billed at the rate of $200/hour.
DO YOU ACCEPT INSURANCE?
No, but a superbill can be provided upon request upon completion of services, which you may submit to your insurance provider. The superbill outlines dates of service, hours spent, and total payment collected.
Please note: a diagnosis is typically required on the superbill if submitted to insurance. It is recommended that you contact your insurance provider in advance to discuss your coverage and find out what portion of your fees may be reimbursed. Some providers require a pre-authorization or a referral from a pediatrician prior to starting the evaluation, to be eligible for reimbursement.
MY CHILD WAS PREVIOUSLY TESTED AT SCHOOL. IS THIS THE SAME THING?
No. School IEP testing, called a psychoeducational assessment ("psycho-ed"), is restricted in scope because it is limited to your child's functioning at school. The scope of the psychoeducational assessment is to determine whether your child may qualify for accommodations under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). In order to qualify for an IEP, a school psychologist must show that a student is not accessing the necessary curriculum due to one or more included problem areas (e.g. attention, autistic-like behaviors, emotional difficulty). However, a school psychologist is not able to provide diagnoses or administer the full scope of testing materials available to a clinical psychologist. In contrast, a comprehensive evaluation is able to provide rich data about your child's relational, emotional, cognitive, and educational functioning, regardless of whether the findings are related to school or not. Additionally, the recommendations provided are not solely regarding school, but will also include recommendations for treatment, community functioning, and parenting/home life.
MY CHILD WAS PREVIOUSLY TESTED AT THE REGIONAL CENTER. IS THIS THE SAME THING?
Not quite. The Regional Center assesses for developmental delays such as Autism, as well as for cognitive impairments such as Intellectual Disability. Your child was likely administered some of the same instruments that Dr. Vaudrey might use. It is recommended to review the Regional Center report together with Dr. Vaudrey prior to initiating testing, to determine A) how recently the Regional Center testing was done and B) Whether your current referral questions can be answered by the testing your child already had.
HOW CAN I PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THEIR APPOINTMENT?
Your child will perform their best if they are well-rested and relaxed. Please ensure they go to bed early the night before, and eat a healthy breakfast prior to the appointment. Please bring healthy snacks so your child can enjoy some breaks between tests. Please do not coach your child in preparation for testing (other than encouraging them to have fun and try their hardest). Parent coaching raises child anxiety and leads to poorer performance. Similarly, parent coaching can invalidate results and lead to a loss of deposit. If your child appears to have been exposed to test materials previously, the tests may be considered invalidated and accurate feedback may not be possible.
(I provide detailed "What to Expect" handouts once the initial appointment has been scheduled.)