Frequently Asked Questions
The Board of Behavioral Science states the following:
The practice of educational psychology is the performance of any professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the education system or both including diagnosis of psychological disorders related to academic learning processes.
After our initial consultation, we will provide the fees. Assessment payments are requested in two installments (50% of the estimate at the beginning of services with the remainder paid upon receipt of the completed report). There is no cost to families for an Independent Educational Evaluation through a school district, as the district will provide payment. Payments for consultation and advocacy are also requested in two installments, 50% of the estimated fee at the time of booking and the remainder upon completion of the service. Payment for direct services (i.e. counseling) is due at the time of the service.
We do not accept insurance at this time; however we can provide a "superbill" with relevant information if you would like to try to get reimbursed by your insurance. We do not guarantee that your insurance carrier will reimburse you and strongly recommend contacting your insurance beforehand if this is something you are considering.
We begin with an intake interview to gather background information, the referral concerns and questions, create a plan together, and review necessary paperwork. We will then conduct interviews and/or gather questionnaires from parents, teachers, other service providers (i.e. therapists, physicians, etc.). We conduct observations in the learning environment, if indicated and desired by the parent, and review all available educational records. The actual testing process consists of several test sessions, ranging from one to three hours each (depending on stamina, attention/focus, etc.) with the student that takes place in our El Dorado Hills office. We then review and interpret all assessment measures and results and create a detailed written report (more information below). We review the report in person, make appropriate recommendations, and answer any questions you may have. The total time from start to finish is typically one to two months, involving between 10 and 30 hours.
Typically we tell students that our job is to find out how their brain works and how they learn best, and that we are going to do different activities to help us do that. We do things like answering questions, playing with blocks or puzzles, looking at pictures, and some school tasks like reading and math. We might mention that everyone has strengths, or things they are really good at, and weaknesses, or things that might be hard for them; and we want to try to help them be as successful and happy in school as they can be. Most students enjoy the assessment process, as it is one-on-one with a warm and caring adult who encourages them throughout the process. Sometimes prizes help too if a student is resistant!
Our El Dorado Hills office is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday. We can schedule testing sessions during school breaks, such as spring break, winter break, or over the summer, to minimize absences from school.
We use a variety of tests, depending on the referral concerns. For a full psychoeducational assessment, tests fall into four categories:
Cognitive Tests: These are commonly referred to as "IQ" tests and they measure overall cognitive or intellectual ability and different cognitive processes, such as verbal skills, learning and memory, processing speed, and reasoning skills.
Processing Tests: These test more specific areas of processing, such as memory, visual processing, auditory processing, attention and executive functioning, and visual-motor skills.
Academic Achievement Tests: These measure academic skills including reading, writing, math, and oral language.
Rating Scales/Questionnaires: These are parent, teacher, and/or student questionnaires typically aimed at measuring social-emotional or behavioral functioning, such as attention/ADHD, anxiety, depression, executive functioning, and general social-emotional functioning.
After the testing is complete, you will receive a detailed report with the assessment results. Reports range in length from eight or nine pages to thirty pages, depending on the type of evaluation and referral concerns. Reports include the following components:
Referral reason and referring concerns/questions
Background information: this is a detailed section often taking up several pages with pertinent information about the student's health and developmental history, family background, educational history, and social-emotional/behavioral history.
A list of the assessment measures and tests.
Observations: observations of the student's behavior during testing will be described here, as well as the impact of those behaviors on the test scores. If any classroom or school observations were conducted, they will be described here as well as any data collected during the observations.
Test Results: This is the bulk of the report. A description of each test and your child's scores will be listed here, as well as an interpretation of the scores. This includes what the scores mean or look like in everyday life at home and at school, what the student's strengths and weaknesses are, and the implications of the scores.
Summary and diagnoses: a summary of each section will be toward the end of the report with the main findings. Any diagnoses from the DSM-V will be listed here.
Recommendations: Based on the assessment results and testing scores, detailed recommendations will be made. These are broken down into recommendations for home and recommendations for school. We strive to provide tangible and concrete suggestions that can be implemented to help your student in the identified areas of concern and that focus on the student's strengths.
We focus on writing reports that are meaningful and useful, that help you truly understand your child better and how they learn best. We make sure to specifically answer the referral questions and help parents know exactly what they can do to help their child.
Yes, parents have the right to request a free psychoeducational assessment from their child's public school district. However, school-based psychoeducational assessments primarily serve the function of identifying special education eligibility. They do not diagnose learning or psychological disorders with the DSM-V and they may or may not have subsequent recommendations based on the assessment findings. Our psychoeducational assessments are used to identify the student’s cognitive or processing abilities, academic achievement skills, and social-emotional/behavioral functioning; clearly identify the student’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas; diagnose psychological disorders related to learning or education; and provide clear and tangible recommendations on how to best support the student. Additionally, because school psychologists often have high caseloads, completing between 60 and 100 assessments per school year, their assessments may not be as thorough as an LEP’s. Lastly, schools do not conduct assessments during breaks longer than five school days, including summer break.
Yes! I am excited to announce that I am now providing virtual evaluations to anyone in California. The testing process is similar, but it is over Zoom. I mail a packet of materials to your home prior to the first testing session and you mail them back to me after the testing sessions. It is extremely important that the student is on a computer with reliable wi-fi (not a phone), has video and audio on their computer, and has quiet area to work.
Evaluations solely addressing ADHD and/or Autism are not suitable for virtual assessments, but a learning disability assessment or a comprehensive assessment (looking at a possible learning disability and social-emotional/behavioral functioning) are appropriate for virtual assessments.