Psychological testing procedures to determine intellectual, academic, and personality functioning
At Herald Square Psychology, we have experience with the most recent inventories and standards in the field for psychological, academic, achievement, behavioral, cognitive, and neuropsychological assessments. Clients are interviewed and evaluated using standard psychological testing procedures to determine intellectual, academic, and personality functioning. A feedback session to discuss findings and a formal written report summarizing the results are provided. Findings from assessments can often assist in determining eligibility for gifted or special education services and testing accommodations in educational settings or for standardized tests such as the PSAT/NMSQT, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT.
Psychological testing has the ability to identify any underlying roadblocks to efficient cognitive and behavioral functioning. It also helps individuals better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Although many schools offer some form of testing, generally a child is already experiencing severe academic or social distress before being referred. Also, these tests may not be as detailed or comprehensive as those offered by licensed clinical psychologists. When obtaining an assessment, it is most important to undergo a battery of tests so that when the results of these tests are combined, it provides a very detailed, comprehensive picture of one’s strengths and areas for improvement.
Some areas for which we provide assessments include:
- Academic achievement
- Attention/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Intelligence/IQ Testing
- Learning disabilities
- Neurodevelopmental disorders – autism spectrum disorders
- Speech & Language Disorders
Academic Achievement tests are standardized to determine how a student performs compared to other students the same age or grade nationally. The purpose is to determine if the student’s performance is adequate or significantly below or above age/grade expectations. The tests measure basic skills rather than specific skills. Academic achievement assessments are standardized and the examiner must follow specific instructions and may not deviate in any way. The tests are administered one on one. No accommodations, extra help, or extra explanations of any item are allowed. Some tasks may be timed and there is no flexibility in those time limits. By not allowing accommodations, the testing can determine what a student can do without accommodations. It is a way to prove that accommodations are necessary in the classroom and determine if special education is needed.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
The DSM-IV criteria for ADHD includes specific behaviors that people with ADHD display. These behaviors include symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. The types of ADHD include: Combined Type, Predominantly Inattentive Type, and Predominantly Hyperactive–Impulsive Type. For children, an assessment for ADHD includes the use of standardized questionnaires or rating scales that assess inattentiveness, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and combined behaviors; interviews with the parents, child, and teachers; and observation of the individual. Although ADHD is more commonly diagnosed in childhood, many individuals learn that they have ADD/ADHD when they become adults. Some find out after their children receive the diagnosis and they become educated about the condition. For others, the symptoms finally outlast their coping skills, causing significant enough problems in their daily life that they seek help. If you recognize the signs and symptoms of ADD/ADHD in yourself, you may want to have a psychological assessment completed. Some individuals with Attention–Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are eligible for accommodations on standardized tests.
The first set of symptoms of ADHD focuses on symptoms of inattentiveness. ADHD would be diagnosed in someone who has six or more of the following symptoms. The symptoms would need to have been there for at least six months. And they would need to be inconsistent with the person’s developmental level.
Symptoms of inattentiveness include:
- Often fails to give close attention to details or often making careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Often appears not to listen when spoken to
- Often does not follow through on instructions and failing to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace
- Often finds it difficult to organize tasks and activities
- Often avoids doing or disliking or being reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
- Often loses things that are necessary for tasks or activities (for example, toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
- Often is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Often is forgetful in daily activities
The second set of criteria focuses on symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity. As with the first set, to be diagnosed with ADHD the person would have to have six or more of the following symptoms. They would have to have been there for at least six months. And they would have to be inconsistent with the person’s level of development.
The symptoms of hyperactivity include:
- Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirming in seat
- Often leaves his or her seat in the classroom or in other situations where remaining seated is expected
- Often runs about or climbing excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescent or adults this may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
- Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
- Often is “on the go” or acting as if being “driven by a motor”
- Often talks excessively
Symptoms of impulsivity include:
- Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
- Often having difficulty awaiting turns
- Often interrupting or intruding on others (for example, butting into conversations or games)
There are also additional criteria that need to be met for a diagnosis of ADHD after the symptoms criteria are met.
The additional criteria include:
- Some hyperactive-impulsive or inattentive symptoms that caused impairment were present before the person was 7 years old.
- Some impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings. For example, the symptoms would interfere with the person’s performance at school or work and at home.
- There needs to be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning.
• Dyslexia • Dysgraphia • Dyscalculia • Information-processing Disorders
Learning disabilities are disorders that affect one’s ability to understand or use spoken or written language, do mathematical calculations, coordinate movements or direct attention. Although learning disabilities occur in very young children, disorders are usually not recognized until a child reaches school age. Learning disabilities affect one’s ability to interpret what one sees and hears, or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations can show up as specific difficulties with spoken and written language, coordination, self-control or attention. Such difficulties extend to schoolwork and can impede learning to read or write, or to do math. Learning disabilities do not reflect intelligence/IQ or how smart a person is.
To be diagnosed as a learning disability, a child’s condition must meet specific criteria and there are several types of learning disorders involving reading, writing, mathematics, and information processing. For example, dyslexia is a reading and language-based learning disability. With this problem, a child may not understand letters, groups of letters, sentences or paragraphs. Dysgraphia is a term for problems with writing. Writing neatly may take time and effort. However, despite the extra effort, handwriting still may be hard to read. A teacher may say that a learning-disabled student can’t finish written tests and assignments on time, and supervisors may find that written tasks are always late or incomplete. Dyscalculia is a term for problems concerning math. Math is difficult for many students, but with dyscalculia, a child may have much more difficulty than others his age. Dyscalculia may prevent your child from solving basic math problems that others his age complete with no difficulty. Lastly, information-processing disorders are learning disorders related to a person’s ability to use the information that they take in through their senses – seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching. These problems are not related to an inability to see or hear. Instead, the conditions affect the way the brain recognizes, responds to, retrieves, and stores sensory information.
When a student has a learning disability, he or she should have a comprehensive assessment and documentation relating to both cognitive ability and academic achievement. If a student is requesting extended time, it is also helpful that he or she provide documentation relating to his or her ability to test in a timed setting.
Neurodevelopmental Disorders - Autism Spectrum Disorders
Neurodevelopmental disorders are disabilities associated primarily with the functioning of the neurological system and brain. Examples of neurodevelopmental disorders in children include intellectual disability (also known as mental retardation), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, and learning disabilities. Included within the Autism Spectrum disorders are: Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders experience difficulties with language and speech, motor skills, behavior, memory, learning, or other neurological functions. While the symptoms and behaviors of neurodevelopmental disabilities often changes as a person ages, some individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities in childhood do have permanent disabilities. Assessment may be carried out in the following areas: cognition and learning potential, speech and language development including social use of language, gross and fine motor skills, and visual perceptual skills. Some students with Autism Spectrum disorders are eligible for accommodations on standardized tests.
Neuropsychological assessment involves the evaluation of an individual’s mental status and the administration of neuropsychological tests for a formal assessment of cognitive function. Neuropsychological testing is more comprehensive and uncovers how an individual’s specific brain functions (e.g. memory, attention, language) and how it impacts the individual’s cognitive and behavioral functioning.
Such testing can help us to better understand the nature of a brain injury or cognitive problem as well as its impact on an individual. Results of neuropsychological evaluations reveal strengths and weaknesses of the individual’s cognitive or psychological difficulties. In addition, neuropsychological testing can also evaluation the deleterious effects head trauma such as concussion injury may have on brain functioning. Also, it can provide information on an individual’s ability to carry out certain tasks such as driving or work tasks. The results of such testing can assist in developing a therapy plan or rehabilitation program. Lastly, assessments may be performed to measure change (improvement or decline) in functioning over time. Numerous cognitive functions can be assessed through neuropsychological assessment including memory, language, executive functioning, and dementia.
Personality testing refers to techniques that are used to accurately and consistently measure personality. Such tests are used in a range of contexts, including individual and relationship counseling, career planning, and employee selection and development. Personality tests can also be used to evaluate changes in personality, to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy, to diagnose psychological problems, and to screen job candidates. There are two basic types of personality tests: objective and projective. Objective tests involve having test-takers read questions and then rate how well the question or statement applies to them. Projective tests involve presenting the test-taker with a vague scene, object, or scenario and then asking them to give their interpretation of the test item. One well-known example of a projective test is the Rorschach Inkblot Test. Personality assessment can be helpful to inform therapy planning. There are two types of personality tests: objective and projective. Objective tests have a restricted response format, such as allowing for true or false answers or rating using an ordinal scale.
Speech and Language Disorders
Speech difficulties refer to problems with the perception or articulation of speech sounds, while language difficulties refer to a range of problems that can interfere with communication and the cognition. Speech and language problems fall into two categories: receptive and expressive. Any child who has difficulty understanding language will also have problems with expression, but some children have good receptive skills while being unable to formulate their thoughts and feelings into spoken language. Speech and language disorders include: Expressive Language Disorder, Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder, Phonological Disorder, and Other Speech and Language Disorders.
A comprehensive speech and language assessment includes formal testing, language samples, clinical observations, and information provided by parents and teachers. Standardized assessment tools evaluate a child’s strengths and weaknesses in the areas of auditory processing, receptive and expressive language, phonological processing, articulation, voice, fluency, and pragmatic functioning. Since language is integrated into most aspects of the curriculum, children with disorders in auditory processing, receptive and expressive language, and pragmatics struggle in the classroom and school setting. Some students with speech and language disorders are eligible for accommodations on standardized tests.
What concerns can I get help with at HSP?
- Relationship and Dating
- Trauma and PTSD
- Work Stress Difficulties
- Effective Coping
- Career Counseling
- Chronic Relapse
- Life Coaching
- Testing and Evaluation
- Anger Management
- Chronic Pain or Illness
- Depression and Bipolar Grief
- Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
- Substance Abuse
- Video Game Addiction
- Health Psychology (HIV, HCV, Oncology, Cardio-Vascular, Exercise, Alcohol, Drugs, Etc.)
- Individual Counseling
- Couples Counseling
- Neuropsychological Testing
- Dissociative Disorders
- Impulse Control Disorders
- Elderly Persons Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Thinking Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Eating Disorders