Psychoeducational evaluations (cognitive and/or academic testing) are provided by our nationally certified school psychologist. These evaluations are geared towards understanding your child’s unique learning needs, behavior, academic development, and/or mental health, including identifying learning disabilities. Read our FAQs here.
Dr. Jennifer Imig Huffman, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Board Certified Pediatric Neuropsychologist and owner of the Able Center, Mrs. Carrie Kerr, ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist and the owner/clinical director of Child's Nature, and Mrs. Elisabeth Anderson, Nationally Certified School Psychologist, are offering multi-disciplinary evaluations to those families who are seeking to identify and further understand their child's unique strengths and help problem-solve obstacles for individuals with neurodivergent profiles.
School-Based Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs) are geared toward determining eligibility for special education services. The school district typically pays for these at the parent's request and the district's approval.
Psychoeducational evaluations, provided by our nationally certified school psychologist, are geared towards understanding your child’s unique learning needs, behavior, and/or mental health. Using a global assessment approach with interviews, observations, and direct and indirect assessment measures, we are able to provide families with a comprehensive framework about their child's unique cognitive processing, intellectual capacity, and current academic functioning across settings. Recommendations are geared towards helping a child reach their academic potential. Consultation with school staff regarding assessment results is available.
Parents choose to get their child evaluated for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the parents inherently know that their child must work harder than others to achieve passing grades, or that things do not just 'click' for their child. Often, parents see that a child's learning challenge is not simply for lack of effort. Sometimes, parents suspect that "acting out behaviors" may stem from some sort of frustration the child is experiencing.
What we know about learning is that challenges are often traced back to early education, they do not typically just appear, and are not restricted to one area of learning (For example, reading difficulties can start to filter into mathematics as the emphasis on counting and doing basic math facts shifts to word problems and multi-step problems).
One important thing to note is that not every child who experiences learning challenges needs to be evaluated. However, if a child has received differentiated instruction from their teacher and intervention supports without making much growth, it can be a clue that there is more of a neurologically based learning disability that requires a formal evaluation to be identified.
A psychoeducational evaluation helps pin-point student challenges. Through a comprehensive evaluation, including cognitive and academic achievement testing, the school psychologist can identify your child's pattern of strengths and weaknesses.
A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation can include the following components:
The most important thing to remember is that a psychoeducational evaluation is a process of testing that yields results. No one single test can be used to identify a student with a disability. No single score can indicate specific strengths or weaknesses. Rather, the school psychologist is looking for a pattern of strengths and weaknesses across several tests.
The Goal of a Psychoeducational Evaluation:
After identifying the child's pattern of strengths and weaknesses, the psychologist can use the results of a psychoeducational evaluation to collaborate with the family and school to bridge the home-school connection. These results can help to develop an individualized and appropriate educational plan for the child. While this information can help drive continued interventions through the MTSS (Multi-Tiered Systems of Support), RtI (Response to Intervention) models, or specialized instruction through special education services, our goal at Child's Nature is to help our families.
At Child’s Nature, our goal of a psychoeducational evaluation is to provide an on-going neurodivergent-affirming approach for families. We hope to use the results to help and support the development of a plan of action: prioritize goal development, increase understanding of the child’s neurodivergent profile, develop strategies for success, help your child to achieve their potential, increase your child’s independence and self-advocacy skills, help build and/or repair familial relationships, teach approaches to resolve conflict and stress at home, and increase your family’s ability to participate in recreational activities within the home and community setting.
What to Expect the Day of?
After the Evaluation
Prior to meeting after the evaluation session(s) - usually within 14 business days - you will get a draft copy of the evaluation results. This will allow you to review the evaluation results, process, and come to the evaluation meeting with questions. Ask any question that you may have, and bring something to take notes. You are welcome to bring whomever makes you comfortable to the meeting - your partner, your spouse, your own mother/father, or anyone else who is knowledgeable about your child.
It is appropriate, depending on your child's age, for your child to participate in the evaluation results meeting. By the time children are in middle school, they are often curious regarding their performance. This feedback session is often important as it explains that they are capable students, but may require accommodations, different study strategies or certain interventions to help them be as successful as possible. By knowing this information, they can learn to advocate for their personal needs in the future.
How to use psychoeducational evaluation results
What you do with your child's psychoeducational evaluation results is entirely up to you. With parental permission, a copy can be shared with your child's school and pediatrician. Public schools are required to consider independent psychoeducational evaluations as they are related to educational planning for your child. While schools are required to consider the results of an outside evaluation, they are not required to fully accept those results in lieu of their own evaluation. Many districts accept independent/private evaluation reports and use that information in the special education eligibility decision-making process. As a school psychologist with previous public-school experience, our psychologist will address all areas of a school-based evaluation within her scope of knowledge if you so choose. If your concerns are purely academic, cognitive, and social/emotional in nature, it is possible that no further formal evaluation would be needed to determine your child's eligibility for special education services. However, some districts have policies that require an evaluation by their own school psychologist.
If you would like to learn more about the special education evaluation process, you are welcome to schedule a parent coaching session to help understand you and your child's rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (I.D.E.A.), our country's federal law on special education services.
So what, now what?
After your child’s evaluation has been conducted, Child’s Nature is able to provide follow-up services. We can provide recommendations for the prioritization of goals, community resources, pediatric therapists referrals (including our own), and on-going support. We can help answer questions you have now, those you have in a few months and those you have in a few years as your needs change. We want to walk along you and your child’s growth and developmental journey.
Our school psychologist, Elisabeth Anderson, is a nationally-certified school psychologist with eight years of school-based education experience as well as experience at the collegiate level teaching evaluation and assessment procedures. She has assessed and worked with students across a spectrum of abilities. She is dedicated to best practice as it relates to evaluation methodology and curriculum planning. Her greatest goal is making evaluation results accessible and understandable to parents.
Our school psychologist has experience identifying the following learning disabilities:
Basic reading skills, reading fluency, reading comprehension, dyslexia, written expression, dysgraphia, basic math skills, mathematical computation, dyscalculia, oral expression, listening comprehension, and nonverbal learning disabilities.
Yes. The term “twice exceptional” or “2e” refers to intellectually gifted children who also have one or more neurodivergent profiles such as dyslexia, ADHD, or are on the autism spectrum. Twice-exceptional children think and process information differently than a neurotypical peer. Like other gifted children, 2e kids may be more emotionally and intellectually sensitive than children with average intelligence. At the same time, due to uneven development or their learning differences, twice exceptional kids may struggle with what other kids do more easily.
Our school psychologist can provide an educational diagnosis that aligns with IDEA and Illinois State Special Education Eligibility Criteria. We currently partner with Dr. Jennifer Huffman of the Able Center, a board-certified pediatric clinical neuropsychologist. She is able to provide your child with a medical diagnosis. A consultation with Dr. Huffman regarding your child's evaluation results is available for an additional fee. We are also able to provide a consultation with your pediatrician to provide a medical diagnosis.
Each evaluation is individualized based on the needs of your child and the services you are requesting. You will receive a Good Faith Estimate that outlines the services discussed.
Each evaluation is individualized to fit the needs of the child. Some children require additional time to build rapport or require additional breaks between items, subtests, or assessments. Our psychologist paces the evaluation based on the needs of the student. By doing so, she canbetter control the factors that will help yield an accurate representation of your child's abilities and develop an accurate pattern of strengths and weaknesses for your child. This can sometimes take several appointment sessions lasting several hours. During the evaluation time, parents are required to remain within the clinic. We offer complimentary WiFi, snacks, coffee, and water.
The details of your evaluation will be outlined in the Good Faith Estimate we send to you. This will include the different categories to be assessed based on the needs of your child. They may include cognitive only testing, academic only testing, social emotional testing, or a combination of any of the above.
A report of your child's evaluation results will be available within approximately 14 business days of the last evaluation appointment. We will also provide you a draft copy of your child's evaluation report prior to the evaluation meeting so that you have time to read, process, and develop questions pertaining to the information contained within. All evaluation results will be included within the report, an interpretation of the results, as well as follow-up recommendations that are individualized for each child.