My teacher said my child needs psychological testing. What is that?
Psychological testing provides parents with more information about their child’s IQ and learning style as well as underlying cognitive abilities including: attention, information processing, memory, and executive functioning. It can allow parents and educators to capitalize on the child’s strengths and minimize any interferences with his or her learning and academic performance.
Should I go through the school system or get private testing?
It is up to you. If your child attends a public school, your teacher may refer you for testing within the school to start an IEP (Individualized Education Program) or just to gain more information. Parents may also do a self-referral and request testing if interested in getting an IEP for their child. (*see future article providing more information on what an IEP is and how to know if your child needs one).
When you choose private psychological testing, the clinical psychologist has the freedom to use as many tests as you desire or he or she believes are appropriate for your child. Specific tests may include: Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale -IV (WAIS-IV); Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS), Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-IV (WJ-IV), Gray Oral Reading Test (GORT-4), as well as parent and teacher report forms. Testing allows for parents to better understand their child and know what interventions may build his or her academic skills. In addition to academic benefits, testing may explore how your child processes emotions and social relationships.
Along with the testing, recommendations will be given for teachers, parents, and other professionals working with your child. As a parent, you can choose if you want to share the test results or recommendations with your child’s school or therapist(s). Many parents choose to share test results with a pediatrician or psychiatrist if they desire medication for ADHD, anxiety, and/or depression. When you receive private testing, the decision to share the information about your child, is completely up to you.
Who will find out about the test results?
Private testing is completely confidential: When you obtain private testing, no one other than you and the psychologist will see the test. It will be your choice if you choose to share it with anyone. You may choose to share the invoice (bill) with your insurance to obtain insurance reimbursement.
How long will the test take?
Generally, the test will take around half a day. Then, the psychologist will score the tests and write up a comprehensive review of the results. The parent(s) will come back another day, typically around a week later, for the psychologist to explain the test results and recommendations in person.
Why is testing so expensive?
Psychological testing includes several hours with a clinical psychologist, hours of the psychologist scoring the testing results and writing up a written summary, the costs of the test materials, and a parent feedback information session. Although testing may be costly, it often saves time and money in the long-term as parents are able to learn more about what strategies and interventions may be most helpful to their child; thus, parents may avoid wasting time and money on ineffective treatments.
Will insurance reimburse me?
Many private psychologists are out-of-network for insurance. Testing is reimbursable by insurance based on your out-of-network benefits. Typically, you will have to meet an out-of-network deductible first. You may want to contact your insurance provider before scheduling your testing.