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What is a Psychological Assessment for Children and Teens?

We rarely get calls when things are going well. Usually, the intake line rings when a parent is tired of watching their child struggle, when multiple teachers have brought up the same issue, or when a medical doctor makes a strong suggestion.

These initial calls typically involve concerns about:

  • development (meeting milestones)

  • social (making/keeping friends)

  • learning (grades and homework)

  • behaviors (excessive and impacting)

There is usually always a history of trying a few things first (without much success):

  • changing parenting techniques

  • informal school supports

  • playdates with different kids

  • switching schools/preschools

  • medication trials

  • 3-5 therapy sessions

That's when the Psychological Assessment comes in. We use assessments to figure out what's really going on. It's an artful blend of actual data and clinical skills which results in a treatment plan to help get your child and family on the right track. Every assessment should end with a what to do now (or what we call the Recommendations). These next steps should include multiple people: Parents, Teachers, Therapist, Pediatrician, Support Staff and multiple sources: Parent trainings/books, School Supports (IEP/504 plan), Individual Therapy, Group Therapy (social skills), Medication (if appropriate), and Community Agencies.

Every assessment is uniquely crafted to fit the specific need of the child. This means that a variety of areas will be looked at and having a parent meeting before the assessment is the best way to determine what areas need to be assessed. Most assessment include the following:

  • Cognitive Abilities (brain strengths and areas of concern)

  • Adaptive Functioning (actual age-level functioning)

  • Social/Emotional Functioning (communication, social, behavioral, and sensory)

The best way to find out if an assessment is the best next step for your child is to schedule a consultation to talk more about concerns and goals for the assessment.

At the Arizona Pediatric Assessment Center, we offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk more about the process and scheduling.

We're here to help you and your child get back on track.

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