Testing Children

Psychological Testing for CHILDREN

Pre-school through elementary school-aged children can be tested in the comfort of your home, or if you prefer, you can come to my office. Children can be tested to assess for: social and emotional difficulties, including anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders; Attention Deficit, Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and other disruptive behavior problems; learning disabilities; developmental disorders; giftedness testing; and early entry into kindergarten.

How will psychological testing help my child?

Testing can help the parent, child’s teachers, therapist and others who are helping the child guide him/her in the right direction. In cases such as dyslexia specific learning disabilities, testing helps parents and teachers know exactly what steps need to be taken to help your child learn most effectively.

sad childhappy children playing

How will I know when my child should be tested?

Children and adolescents are typically referred for an assessment by their parents, pediatrician, or school for evaluation of:

  • Attention Deficit, Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Learning disabilities and learning/processing problems
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Emotional difficulties/mood disorders, as exemplified by behaviors such as: crying and/or extreme sadness that persists over time; repeated stating that no-one likes them, that they have no friends or that they are no good; being repeatedly silly and/or laughing during serious situations; extreme anger over minor irritations and annoyances; excessive worrying or nervousness.
  • Giftedness testing
  • Early entry into Kindergarten
  • Psychological factors associated with medical conditions
  • Disruptive behavior problems, such as: defiance toward a parent or other authority figure (such as a teacher); hostility or extreme anger toward a sibling or peer; extreme shyness or withdrawal from peers; avoidance of homework or other expected chores.
  • Social problems
  • Failure to perform up to expected standards, such as consistently being unmotivated or unwilling to do work that is required. Not because the work is too difficult, which is what the child/adolescent may state, but because they are unwilling to make the effort. This may occur only in specific situations, such as at school (or even in a particular class) or it may involve all areas of the individual’s life (sports, home chores, homework, and school).

What should I tell my child about the appointment?

Testing done in the comfort of your home and preparing your child for testing will minimize anxiety and encourage cooperation.

  • Days before the testing:
    Try to avoid calling it “testing,” as this word makes many children anxious.
    Make sure your child knows they will be meeting alone with the psychologist, but that a parent will be nearby.
    Explain that children learn in different ways and that testing will help parents and teachers understand how he/she learns best.
  • The day of testing:
    Make sure your child is well rested and has eaten a good breakfast.
    Remind your child what the day will be like.
    To avoid fatigue, breaks will be taken during the testing to allow your child to use the restroom and have a drink or snack. Children also often like to talk with their parent(s) during the breaks.
    The day will include a variety of questions, puzzles, drawings, and stories as well as some school-like tasks like reading and math. While your child will be challenged, he or she will probably have fun with some of the tasks.

Learn more on my Frequently Asked Questions page. And also about psychological testing for teens and adolescents.

What about educational testing at public schools?

A Word of Caution: it is important to note that psycho-educational testing is available to all school-aged children and adolescents, free of charge, through their public home school. However, parents should be aware that school psychologists and other school personnel interpret test results primarily for the purpose of determining eligibility for special education. Furthermore, their training may be limited in scope and they may not have the available time or resources to provide a complete assessment battery in the school setting. Thus, school psychologists and other school personnel will be able to evaluate some, but not all of the information available and may not be able to provide you with a full, and perhaps, truly accurate picture of your child/adolescent.

Useful Resources for parents:

National Institute of Mental Health
Children’s Mental Health