Frequently Asked Questions
Practical Questions on Testing & Assessment of Gifted Individuals
There are a number of advantages. First, most psychologists are not familiar with the specific characteristics of gifted children or the implications of these characteristics within the testing setting. Second, a psychologist who understands these characteristics and their implications is less likely to misinterpret the asynchronous development of a gifted child as pathological. It is this misinterpretation that often leads to misdiagnoses. Third, once the results are obtained, a psychologist with a background in giftedness can discuss these in the context of giftedness, specifying how these results will impact school performance and personal adjustment. This psychologist can then provide specific recommendations for you, your child, and his/her education. Fourth, a psychologist familiar with giftedness can help parents sort out myths about gifted children from reality, and discuss what is known from clinical experience and research. Finally, by consulting a psychologist familiar with giftedness, a parent can avoid the typical conclusion of an evaluation by someone not familiar with giftedness and its implications: "OK, I have these results and now know my child is gifted. Now what?!??" Unfortunately, many families who contact our office for follow-up consultation have already spent time and money obtaining an evaluation, and have little idea of how to use that information. Additional consultation is often needed to answer the specific questions parents still have. For additional gifted resources, check out our Resources tab.
A comprehensive evaluation for a child can take 7-12 hours, and this typically includes interviews with parents and child, testing, scoring, and review of results. Additional time may be needed to complete a written summary of the results and recommendations. Many evaluations will be shorter than the comprehensive described above, Most are not that long and the length depends on how comprehensive of an evaluation is needed. For example, an ability or IQ-type test will take about three hours to complete, score, and review. The exact tests used and length of evaluation will be determined by the questions parents hope to have answered at the end of evaluation. Some evaluations can be completed in one day, but it makes a long day for everyone if the evaluation is comprehensive. Spreading the comprehensive evaluation over two to three sessions whenever possible is preferred.
If done well, the evaluation process is often therapeutic and decreases — rather than increases — stress. However, every child is an individual and no one can predict how he or she might react to the experience. We strive to provide quality assessments that answer the questions parents have and do so in an accepting environment. Most kids enjoy the one-on-one testing setting and have a good time. If you have the flexibility to stretch the evaluation over a couple of days, that also decreases the stress (typically on everyone).
Any testing that may have been done, any reports from school, and any background information about your child that you have handy (e.g., developmental milestones) would decrease the amount of interview needed. A background form is used to gather information. It and any needed checklists (depending on the specific questions you want answered) may be sent before the scheduled appointment. Reviewing what has been completed before evaluation helps to determine what is not needed because it has already been done. This will likely decrease the amount of time needed for the evaluation, thereby decreasing costs as well.
Verbal feedback is provided after the evaluation or at a scheduled follow-up. After the evaluation is completed and verbal feedback is given, if needed or requested, you will receive the written report with scores, conclusions, and specific recommendations in about one month. Written reports are billed separately from the testing completed.
You can expect a profile (and/or description if any testing has been done) of strengths and weaknesses in intellectual development, an assessment of academic skills, information on learning style and social/emotional development or adjustment, any diagnostic concerns (like ADHD if that is a question), recommendations about school placement/options, and strategies for home management if needed. In short, we will ask you what questions you hope to have answered by the end of evaluation and work to provide an assessment that answers those in the context of the test results and information gathered. Specific recommendations are provided.
Assesssment Questions Regarding Young Children
Early assessment can be a proactive step to avoid difficulties with inappropriate curriculum or behavior problems that arise. While we don't often recommend it before age 4, unless there are some significant issues, we can complete assessment on children as young as 2. Typically, the spring before a child is eligible to start kindergarten (or the spring before a parent would like the child to start kindergarten if considering early entrance) is a great time to assess because that gives the maximum amount of information (for a child that age) with a good deal of time to plan for the fall. Waiting much beyond that makes planning more difficult, though certainly not impossible.
Waiting 6-9 months may create more frustration. Gathering as much information as possible can really help planning. However, if you are comfortable with the current direction of school and it seems to be meeting his or her needs, then waiting would likely be OK. However, if you have taken the step to research assessment options, then it is likely that you are not completely comfortable with the current situation and being more clear on your child's needs and possible interventions would be helpful now, not 6-9 months from now.
We have evaluated many and have found that, with more information, parents are more informed about their child's abilities and needs. This allows them to advocate for what seems best based on data as opposed to what they or others "think" might be best. There really are no cons unless the evaluation is conducted by someone unfamiliar with gifted and results in little or no direction—or even worse—wrong directions.
We find it helpful for the testing to be completed by someone experienced with gifted children. We do all assessment individually, as we believe that interaction and observation are very helpful to understanding your child. We have seen too many people get evaluations by others without gifted experience, which results in confusion at best and misdiagnosis at worse. Our biggest frustration is when someone has an evaluation completed (and has spent a lot of time and money in the process), but still really does not know what the results mean or what they should do. There are many people qualified to do testing with young children, but without the background in gifted or special needs, it may not be as helpful as you would like.
All services are billed at an hourly rate and vary by provider based on credentials and level of experience. Contact the office for more specific information.
Typically, new clients can be seen within two to four weeks, though this varies by the time of year, provider, and location. Wait times are often shorter in Lexington. Summertime (June through August) is more flexible since schools are out of session, and waiting periods are often shorter. Please contact the office for scheduling information.
Our office and providers within it are not an in-network provider for any insurance plan or HMO provider panel. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, client confidentiality and privacy is of the utmost importance. Often, insurance companies will collect information for their future use, information which may or may not be relevant to your work at Amend Psychological Services, PSC. Because we work independently, no information leaves this office unless specifically requested by clients, or unless we are legally obligated to release information, such as in cases of abuse. Working independently on a fee-for-service basis allows us to use our professional judgment to serve clients as our clients and we agree is appropriate, not as dictated or regulated by an insurance company or health management organization (HMO). In addition, this decreases the time and paperwork requirements for the practice and keeps office costs (and, in turn, fees) from rising. Ultimately, we believe that working this way allows for a more positive and hassle-free experience.
If you do have insurance that may reimburse some of your costs, you will be able to obtain a receipt containing all of the necessary information so that you can work with your insurance company to get reimbursed for any out-of-network benefits you may have. Your insurance company has an obligation to you, none to Amend Psychological Services, PSC.