When a child is getting support but there are still unanswered questions and concerns it is time to look deeper. A psychologist uses a psychoeducational evaluation to formulate specific answers and recommendations.
You know your child needs extra support. Maybe she is struggling at school and you are in constant contact with her teacher. Or maybe her tantrums and violent behavior at home have become unmanageable. Perhaps you are worried because she is unable to make or keep friends and seems lost in her own world. You may have sought professional advice but haven't seen a real difference. At this point you're worried and exhausted. As a parent you know something is wrong, you just aren't sure what.
As a child psychologist I often meet a family at this stressful point in their quest for health and wellness. When a child's problems seem to be piling up, even with help from teachers, doctors, and therapists, I begin to assess whether a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation may provide the answers this team is seeking. By analyzing a child's strengths and weaknesses in social and emotional development, cognition, academic achievement, executive functioning skills, and intellectual capacity a psychologist can identify a clear diagnosis. This in-depth look allows the psychologist to parse out how behavioral, cognitive and emotional needs are affecting one another within the individual. The psychologist then includes all testing data, interpretation, formulation and recommendations in a report for your family to share with support systems of your choosing.
With a step by step plan you will begin to see the benefits. . .
In your child. They are aware that they need support they haven't been getting. They can see the adults in their life struggling to help but unsure of what to do. They are as frustrated as you are. Now that you are equipped with clear information and definitive steps to take, they will begin to relax as you do. Just like adults, children feel less anxious when they have straight forward information. As part of the feedback process I explain the results of our findings in age-appropriate terms and coach caregivers for future questions and conversations.
In their mental health treatment. Your child's therapist can make a more precise treatment plan with the diagnostic information provided in the evaluation. I make myself available to consult with your child's treatment team to explain results and discuss recommendations in detail. Treatment can progress at a quicker pace when the interventions are appropriate for the child's cognitive and psychological capacity.
At school. It is likely that you have not been the only one worried about your child. School staff may have been sharing their concerns as well. The assessment report includes specific recommendations for classroom learning as well as social interaction with peers and behavioral interventions. In some situations these recommendations can be incorporated into an IEP or 504 plan, help identify a necessary placement change or gain access to a gifted learning enviornment.
In overall health and wellness. As the medical community continues to recognize a mind and body connection, your pediatrician will be glad to have the report as part of your child's health record. You may have brought your child to the doctor with many questions and continued to leave with a with a clean bill of physical health and some confusion. Now you and your child's doctor can use the information in this report to add to the context of your child's health needs.
At home. The stress of an undiagnosed or improperly treated issue can wreak havoc on the delicate balance of your home. You may have been so focused seeking answers for your child that your career, spouse, friends and even other children may be sorely lacking for your attention. The patience between family members may be wearing thin. As you begin to move forward with a concrete plan your home life will become more manageable and your attention can be shared, once again, with all of your important obligations.
Specific issues that psychoeducational evaluations can identify. . . .
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Psychological disorders such as Anxiety and Depression
Executive functioning difficulties
What are the first steps in seeking an evaluation for your child?
Ask your doctor or therapist to recommend a licensed psychologist that specializes in child evaluation. The psychologist should make time to answer your questions and address your concerns. If you are going to make the investment in this process, listen to your gut and be sure you are comfortable with your provider. Together you will identify specific questions you want answered and from there the psychologist will create an individualized assessment for your child and at this point should be able to give you an estimate of cost.
If you are in or near Napa, Folsom or El Dorado Hills contact Dr. Kuzirian for more information.