What is educational testing? What are you testing for?

Educational testing (also called psycho-educational testing or learning disabilities testing) is carried out when a child or adult is having difficulty in school, possibly as a result of underlying mental processes that affect the way we learn. Testing helps to determine a person's natural learning style, including strengths and weaknesses. For example, you may be very smart but have a hard time remembering things. Or there may be a neurological reason why you find it hard to get motivated or are prone to procrastination.


What is a Learning Disability?  What are the signs of a Learning Disability?

A learning disability may be present when you demonstrate average to high intelligence yet perform poorly on schoolwork. Often, something seems to be affecting your ability to perform well in school and it is not due to a lack of effort. This can lead to frustration and, in some cases, ‘acting out.’ Some signs of a potential learning disability include:

• Early speech and language delays 

• Poor performance in one specific area or subject 

• Poor reading comprehension 

• Difficulty remembering basic math facts 

• Difficulty putting thoughts into writing 

• Poor spelling 

• Difficulty remembering what has been studied 

• Poor performance on tests despite studying hard 

• Difficulty finishing work or tests in the allotted time 

• Difficulty identifying what information is important in the study material 

• Difficulty with long-term projects or follow-through 

• Poor organization 

• Poor attention in class/excessive daydreaming


What is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopment disorder. There are three types: (1) predominantly inattentive (ADD); (2) predominantly hyperactive; and (3) both inattentive and hyperactive (combined type). ADHD is highly genetic, meaning it can be passed down through families. People with ADHD may have difficulty paying attention, may be hyperactive or restless, and may act impulsively. These symptoms of ADHD occur in two or more settings, such as at work, at school, and/or in social settings.


What are the benefits of getting tested?

Finding out what may be preventing you from performing well academically can be a significant relief. And knowing what may be holding you back means something can now be done about it. It may be possible for you to apply for academic accommodations, such as extra time on tests or special learning materials. You may be able to access a learning center or get help from a learning specialist at school. Ultimately, you know where your strengths and weaknesses lie and can plan accordingly.


How long does it take to test for a learning disability/ADHD?

Typically, the process takes two to three sessions of about two to three hours each. There is then a feedback session of about one hour to go over the results. 


When will I get the results?

After the final testing session and once you have provided relevant school information (such as copies of school reports, previous testing etc), it takes about two to three weeks for a full analysis of the test results. I then meet with you to go over the findings and recommendations. A detailed written report is provided.


How much does it cost?

This will vary depending on the complexity of the evaluation and the tests used. After an initial free phone consultation, I should be able to quote you a fee for the entire assessment. Half of the total fee is due at the first session and the remainder is due at the feedback session.


Can I use my health insurance?

Most health insurers do not cover educational testing. This is because, if you are under 18, school districts are legally required to provide evaluations, even if a child attends a private school. Unfortunately, most public school systems are overloaded with evaluations and often have quite stringent standards as to who 'qualifies' for an evaluation.


How should I (or my child) prepare?

I will discuss this with you in advance but, essentially, it is important to get adequate sleep prior to the testing and to feel well nourished (you can bring beverages and snacks to the testing session).  


What happens during an assessment?

Prior to the first session, I will send you a biographical questionnaire to complete. Then, at the first session, we will go over your concerns and figure out what questions you would like answered by the testing. We will go over the information that you provided in the questionnaire and I will ask additional questions about your developmental history, educational and occupational background, learning style, ways of coping etc. We then start the testing, which will continue during the second session and possibly third session. We will then meet one more time to go over the results.   


What information will you need from me?

In addition to biographical information, I will also need to review school reports (if available) and any prior educational test reports. I may also request your permission to speak to others who know your situation, such as therapists, spouses/partners, teachers etc. Obtaining as much information as possible is crucial to providing a comprehensive assessment and answering your questions.


What happens if the assessment shows that there is no learning disability/ADHD?

If the testing gives no indication of a learning disability/ADHD, it should still help to explain why you (or your child) are having problems in school. For example, it may suggest that emotional factors are impacting academic performance or there may be cognitive or maturation issues. Finding out what may be holding you back is the key and ruling out specific problems, such as a learning disorder, gets you one step closer. 


Why can’t my child’s school do the assessment?

Minors are legally entitled to an educational evaluation through the public school system and you should ask about this. However, most school districts are overwhelmed with demand and there is often a lengthy backlog. Also, schools have stringent standards about who qualifies to be evaluated and who is considered to be learning disabled. 


What ages do you test?

I specialize in testing individuals over 12 years old.