The first step in addressing a challenge is identifying it. At Family Behavioral Health Center, we provide a variety of diagnostic evaluations, each with the goal of accurate diagnosis and effective treatment planning. Types of diagnostic evaluations offered include: assessment of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders of Childhood and Adolescence, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities (dyslexia, dysgraphia), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Neurobehavioral Disorders, and Language/Communication Disorders.
There are three components to diagnostic evaluation: the clinical interview, the testing process, and the feedback session.
A clinical interview is a meeting with the psychologist and patient. Often, the patient’s parents or loved ones will join in the meeting. This meeting usually lasts an hour. During this meeting, the psychologist learns about the current challenges that prompted the evaluation. The psychologist will also ask about general cognitive, academic, social, developmental, medical, and psychological well-being. If the patient is a child, this meeting is usually conducted in the presence of the child but it can be done separately when there is particularly sensitive information that is being discussed.
The testing portion of the evaluation can be conducted on the same day as the clinical interview or on a separate day. Testing typically lasts 4 to 6 hours (but can vary greatly depending on the presenting symptoms). Breaks are determined by the patient’s need. There is always a break for lunch. Parents of children 12 and younger are asked to remain at the clinic for the entirety of the testing session.
Testing is conducted by a “psychometrician” (psychologist’s assistant) under the direction of the psychologist. A psychometrician is specially trained to administer the tests according to strictly standardized procedures. The psychologist orders a series of tests to be given by the psychometrician based on the data gathered during the clinical interview. Any and all changes to the test battery are made by the psychologist. The psychologist receives standardized test data as well as standardized data on behaviors exhibited during the testing session.
The data is then interpreted by the psychologist and analyzed based on the information learned during the clinical interview. The psychologist writes a report incorporating and integrating the clinical and standardized data.
The feedback session is a meeting with the psychologist and patient. During this meeting, the patient is provided with the findings of the evaluation. Depending on the type of evaluation, they may also be provided with a physical report. The findings of the evaluation will include diagnoses (when applicable) and treatment recommendations. Evaluation reports can be forwarded to other agencies (i.e., schools, doctors) but only with a signed release from the patient.