Frequently Asked Questions
What are the steps of the assessment process?
Individual needs are unique and the assessment or testing process may vary. Most assessments involve the following steps:
After your initial email or contact submission to Dr. Lord you will be able to schedule your 20 minute consultation.
Once both you and Dr. Lord have decided on the best assessment for your needs, you will schedule a 1-2 hour intake appointment to gather historical information. This appointment may occur with the client directly and/or with a parent/guardian.
After history is gathered, the client and/or a supportive caregiver will be scheduled for at least 2-4 hours of in-person testing.
Follow-up telehealth session to gather any remaining information (duration may vary) and collaboration with other providers may also need to be scheduled.
Scoring, data gathering, and report preparation generally take about 1-2 weeks.
Once the report is complete for review, a feedback session will be scheduled to go over the results of the evaluation, provide education, and discuss recommendations.
A 3-6 month, per request of the client, follow-up feedback session check-in is also provided.
What should I tell my child about the assessment?
Explanations will vary depending on the age and maturity of your child. It is best to be open and honest. General explanations around meeting with a doctor "to figure out what things you are good at and what things might be more difficult to help with [the challenge]" they are having the most difficulty with. It is important to emphasize that many children have evaluations and that this does not mean there is "something wrong" with them. Instead psychological testing should be viewed as a way to learn the best way to help your child.
Do I really need an assessment?
The answer is, Maybe.
Here are certain situations in which a psychological evaluation may be helpful:
- When a provider or individual feel there is a need to differentiate between different diagnoses and there is little to no existing clinical information or the information is complex.
- When an individual is attending treatment regularly, but not making progress.
- When there is a question about neurodevelopmental challenges or needs (ADHD, ASD, Learning, etc.) and previous assessments have been unhelpful.
- When there is an unexplained decline in the someone's social, emotional, or cognitive functioning.
- When there is a need for or a lack of response to psychotropic medication.
If you have participated in or received previous evaluations or assessment, but the results were not helpful or did not meet a client's need, a consultation may be a better option. Since, evaluations are expensive and require significant time and effort, it may be a more clinically appropriate option to seek a consultation. Please contact us and we can discuss if alternative option might be better suited to your needs.
When would an assessment not be helpful?
- When someone is actively abusing drugs or alcohol.
- When someone has been recently hospitalized (within the last 30 days) and has not stabilized.
- When someone has recently undergone an assessment and use of the same testing tools or measures would not be valid.
- When someone is "shopping" for a specific diagnosis despite significant evidence from previous providers, assessments, etc. Specifically, is a client is seeking secondary gain from a diagnosis.
How do I prepare for my testing session?
Gather previous evaluations, treatment documentation, education records, IEP assessments, relevant medical records, etc. to send or bring to your appointment. We recommend getting a good nights sleep the night before, and eating a balanced meal prior to testing to avoid any impact tiredness or hunger may have on concentration. Testing can take several hours, so bringing snacks and water are encouraged.
Are appointments remote or in person?
Most of the initial process is conducted via telehealth. However, the testing sessions are primarily completed in person. Often, additional interviews, calls, or appointments will be needed with support individuals who can help provide historical or contextual information about the client participating in the assessment. Feedback and consultations sessions are offered as remote or in person and are based on client/family preferences and appropriateness.
Why would I choose private pay vs. insurance?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of insurance companies significantly restrict the type, amount, and rates for psychological assessment. This often leads to client and providers jumping through several hoops just to authorize services and restrict a clinician's ability to provide best clinical care without significant financial burden. Insurance companies often limit the type of tests conducted, restrict the number of hours for evaluations, and may not screen their providers. Many insurance companies require disclosures of information to be approved for an evaluation and diagnoses are indefinitely listed in your record which may impact eligibility for certain services or in certain occupations (e.g. U.S. forces, etc.).
Private pay comes with more flexibility to be provide a thorough and responsive assessment based on clinical need and not insurance mandates. However, obtaining evaluations through your insurance will come at a lower cost out-of-pocket.
Why does an assessment cost so much?
Psychological assessment and testing is a specialized service in the field of psychology, above and beyond the training received during doctoral training. Specialty tests and equipment are needed to complete most evaluations. There are many hours hours involved in each assessment from the initial referral, to the feedback session. In person testing appointments can range from 4-8 hours, and there are many more hours spent gathering information, scoring assessment, reviewing records, analyzing and integrating information, and report writing. 1-2 hours are also dedicated to feedback sessions. The total time required to complete an assessment can range from 12 to 20 hours.