Erin Avirett, Ph.D.
Licensed Specialist in School Psychology
Neuropsychological Assessment & Therapy For Children & Adolescents
In Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle
Types of Evaluations
Developmental evaluations for children between the ages of 3 to 6 may be appropriate when a child demonstrates behaviors such as: meltdowns/ outbursts, delayed learning, limited eye contact, delayed social skills, repetitive motor movements, delayed speech, severe inattention, or restricted interest in certain topics or objects. Through a series of interviews, observations, and testing, information will be collected about the child's developmental history, behavior, language, and cognitive skills. Direct testing with the child and family for developmental evaluations typically takes between 2-4 hours. Diagnoses that may be considered as part of this evaluation includes: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities, or language delays.
A psychoeducational evaluation is often used to determine a student's pattern of cognitive and behavioral strengths and weaknesses, and how that pattern is impacting them educationally. These types of evaluations are often utilized when a student is referred to determine if they meet criteria for a specific learning disability in reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), or math (dyscalculia). Psychoeducational evaluations are similar to neuropsychological evaluations in the scope of information gathered (i.e., information about a student's memory, attention, language, and visual skills will all be collected). However, the focus of the evaluation is primarily an educational, rather than medical, one. These types of evaluations take 7-9 hours of the family's time.
A psychological evaluation is often used to assess the route of emotional or behavioral concerns. A psychological evaluation may be useful when a child is demonstrating anxiety, depression, withdrawal, emotional instability, anger, or behavioral outbursts. Psychological evaluations typically take 3-5 hours of the family's time. Diagnoses that may be considered as a result of this type of evaluation include: depression, anxiety, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), and emerging personality disorders.
A neuropsychological assessment is a non-invasive, comprehensive evaluation that assesses how the brain works. A series of "tests" are given to assess an individual's attention, memory, processing speed, language, visual-spatial, problem solving, and learning skills. Neuropsychological evaluations are often administered for known or suspected brain injuries, seizure disorders, brain tumors, or other behavioral or medical conditions that impact brain functioning. They may also be useful in detecting non-traditional learning or attentional disorders. These types of evaluations take 7-12 hours of the family's time. They are more medically focused than psychoeducational evaluations.
Attention concerns are one of the primary reasons parents seek evaluations for children. This type of evaluation is helpful when determining if a child meets diagnostic criteria for Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD; including what was previously referred to as "ADD"). This type of evaluation incorporates parent information, teacher information (with parent consent), observations, cognitive testing, and select neuropsychological testing to determine if the child demonstrates patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses that are consistent with an individual with an attention disorder. AD/HD evaluations typically take 3-5 hours of the family's time.