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Can you test me?

Posted by Margaret Donohue on November 9, 2014 at 9:45 AM

"Can you test me?"  I get this question often.  It comes in a variety of forms.  "Can you test me for _____?"  and "Can you test my child for _____?"


The short answer is yes probably.  The longer answer is "Then what?"  And it's the answer to that question that tells me what to do.

I literally have hundreds of tests, measurements, screening items, and questionnaires.  Literally.  I bought new file cabinets to hold them all and will probably need to buy more.  Online I have access to thousands.  So knowing these tests I have to select the correct test or tests to measure the correct things in the best way possible.  


Let me give an example:

Example 1:  "Can you test my child for ADD/ADHD?"

Yes, probably then what?  If you now know your child has ADD/ADHD then what happens?

"Oh I want them to get special accommodations for school."  

Oh okay.  That's a 40 to 60 page forensic report designed to go to an Administrative Law Judge who specializes in Special Education law and Disability Law under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  It's a 10 hour evaluation documenting the need for special accommodations and what happens if accommodations are not provided. It's set up as a repeaed measures experiment with a single subject under accommodating and non-accommodating conditions.


Example 2:  "Can you test my child for ADD/ADHD?"

Yes, probably then what?  If you know your child has ADD/ADHD then what happens?

"Oh, I'll take them to a psychiatrist for medication."

Oh Okay.  I have a continuous performance test that will do that.  It's about an hour.  I can give you a rating form for your child's teacher to complete so the psychiatrist can track the response to medication.  We can also retest your child under medication to ensure that inattention is eliminated with medication.


Example 3.  "Can you test my child for ADD/ADHD?"

Yes, probably then what?  If you know your child has ADD/ADHD then what happens?

I want to make sure they have it.  I want to know what it's doing to them.  I'm not looking for medication, but maybe some form of rehabilitation to help them.  

Oh okay.  I have a continuous performance test that can tell me within a great deal of certainty if your child has an attention difficulty.  I can do an cognitive test that will tell me if their working memory is impacted as I would expect it to be in an attention disorder.  I can also do some testing of executive dysfunction.  I'll need a copy of their last complete physical with standard complete blood count laboratory results and metabolic panel. I also want their oxygen saturation level documented.  That will allow me to rule out most medical conditions that can contribute to inattention.  It will take 3-4 hours, and wil include a 10 to 12 page report.  I can then talk with you about rehabilitation and various options available.


So all three start off with the exact same question.  But they want different things after the question is answered.  Knowing what they want next changes what I do to address those issues.


Here's a final example:  "Can you test my child for ADD/ADHD?"

 Yes, probably then what?  If you know your child has ADD/ADHD then what happens?

I'd like early intervention.  Right now my child is 6 months old.  

ADD/ADHD doesn't get diagnosed at this age in children.  I can evaluate cognitive, language and motor skills in very young children, down to preterm infants in a neonatal intensive care unit.  So I can tell you how your child is doing compared to other children at 6 months.  Early intervention services are generally done for cognitive delay or deficits in language skills or motor skills.  The evaluation will take about an hour or so.  I need birth records and recent laboratory records. If there is an issue at this age with alertness, visual tracking, attending to the environment, or motor movements, your child may qualify for services by Regional Center.  My report can help to document any delays your child may have.  


If you are interested in an assessment, feel free to contact our office. 

Categories: General Psychology, Diagnosis, Ethics

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