The Importance of Receiving an Excellent Psychological Assessment
Parents often wonder why psychological assessment requires such a large investment of both time and financial resources. It is important to realize that ensuring the proper diagnosis and thus creating the most accurate and useful plan of treatment in the area of psychology and learning disorders requires careful evaluation by the clinician. This includes time spent getting to know the individual child, their unique concerns and struggles, gathering data from multiple sources, evaluating and integrating the data, and then working to create customized solutions and a course of action. Many of these important aspects of evaluation are often skipped by well-meaning clinicians who attempt to offer brief and inexpensive assessments, or who are forced to work quickly due to the constraints of insurance companies. This can lead to inaccurate diagnosis and time wasted on ineffective treatment. Families often report increased levels of stress and frustration following failed interventions due to poor evaluations, and ultimately the need to seek out additional testing because the original testing was insufficient. So in the long run, it is wise to find a psychologist who only provides comprehensive and thorough psychological assessment services, and who does not cut corners but instead takes the time necessary to identify the most accurate diagnosis for your child. While the time and financial investment is higher at the outset for this approach, we believe it ultimately saves you time and money, as well as avoids frustration from failed treatment.
Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about psychological and psychoeducational testing at Wright Psychology and Counseling.
Are assessments covered by medical insurance?
In most cases insurance does indeed cover some aspects of psychoeducational testing. However, medical insurance does not cover testing that is educational in nature, such as reading, math, writing and spelling evaluations. At the Wright Psychology and Counseling, we provide comprehensive neuro-psychoeducational testing that includes cognitive, academic/educational, social, emotional, and behavioral evaluation. Medical insurance typically reimburses for all of those types of evaluation except academic/educational. Many families who choose to see an “in network” psychologist end up paying quite a bit out of pocket because their insurance company doesn’t cover all of their testing. We are out of network with insurance, but will help you seek reimbursement with your insurance company.
You don’t take my insurance. Why should I come to you instead of getting a referral from my insurance company?
When you are seeking a psychologist to evaluate your child, you should consider the psychologist’s areas of specialty and expertise, along with their approach to psychological assessment, instead of simply choosing a name off of a list of providers who participate with your insurance company. It is an unfortunate reality that, due to severe cuts in reimbursement rates by managed care insurance as well as increasingly time consuming administrative and paperwork demands placed on clinicians, some of the best psychologists in our area do not participate at all with any insurance plans. This allows psychologists to do what’s best for their clients, and not compromise because of low reimbursement rates and arbitrary restrictions on what is covered. At Wright Psychology and Counseling, we have chosen to stop accepting insurance due to these significant problems. Because we do not contract with insurance companies, we are able to do what’s right for the children we see, not just what’s allowed by managed care. Additionally, we are specialists in the evaluation of Learning Disorders (LD). These include Reading Disorder (Dyslexia), Mathematics Disorder (Dyscalculia), and Disorder of Written Expression (Dysgraphia). These Learning Disorders require a level of specialization that many psychologists don’t have. Our clinicians have extensive training in the evaluation of Learning Disorders, and our evaluation procedures are designed to assess even the most mild presentations of LD. We have heard from many parents that their child has received one or more prior psychological assessments, but their LD was never identified. Going to a specialist from the start will save you the frustration of multiple evaluations and, more importantly, not waste precious time in your child’s learning and development.
How long does the assessment process take?
Should I have my child evaluated by a commercial learning center?
Evaluations at commercial learning centers can be useful in identifying aspects of a child’s learning strengths and weaknesses, however the evaluations offered at these types of centers are limited in their scope and are never diagnostic. Because only Licensed Psychologists and Licensed Psychological Practitioners/Associates are qualified to administer cognitive/IQ testing, this essential cornerstone to the assessment process is left out (in Kentucky it is illegal for non-Licensed Psychologists/Psychological Associates to do any type of IQ/cognitive testing. Always ask for the credentials of the person evaluating your child). Additionally, commercial learning centers are not qualified to assess any other problems that may interfere with your child’s learning, such as ADHD, Executive Function deficits, Anxiety, Depression/Mood Disorders, Developmental Delay, Language Disorders and Behavioral Disorder. This means that you may receive recommendations for treatment in an area of learning that will ultimately fail because other key areas were not addressed. We recommend receiving from the start a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation from a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in Learning Disorder assessments. This type of evaluation is not offered at commercial learning centers.
I’ve been hearing a lot about “Brain Training” as a way to help my child improve in reading. Does it work?
Brain Training games, software, and even commercial learning centers have recently entered the arena of reading remediation. Unfortunately, the research supporting such programs is limited and doesn’t support long-term gains or improvement once the student has stopped the brain training exercises. When it comes to Dyslexia, modern science has already answered the question “How can we teach people with Dyslexia to read?” Research over the past 30 years has time and time again proven the effectiveness of Orton-Gillingham based instruction. Orton-Gillingham methods are the gold standard in dyslexia remediation. To learn more about the research supporting Orton-Gillingham teaching methods, check out the links below:
For more information about the controversial nature of Brain Training approaches, visit the National Center for Learning Disabilities article here: