A psychological evaluation is a way to answer questions about mental and emotional problems. The results can give you the information you need to be sure you are doing what is right for you and your child.
Evaluations are usually given by psychologists.
When is it used?
The request for an evaluation may come from the court, school, healthcare provider, or parents. Testing may be needed to:
Answer legal questions about abuse, violence, and criminal behavior
Help decide who should have custody of your child
Find out if your child should be in a gifted or special needs program at school
Find out if your child has a learning disability or is mentally retarded
Assess brain damage after an accident or injury
Diagnose mental illness
How is it done?
The psychologist usually starts with an interview with your child that lasts at least an hour. The psychologist may also talk with parents and teachers, review medical records, and decide what tests are needed.
The psychologist will speak with your child. He or she will ask questions about:
School, home, and friends
Moods and worries
How your child thinks about himself
Illnesses, injuries, and symptoms
Interests and goals
Drug and alcohol use
Parents may be asked questions such as:
What you see as the problem
How your child gets along with friends and other family members
Your child’s interests and hobbies
Your concerns about your child’s emotions or physical abilities
Problems your child has had at different ages
How your child has handled problems in the past
Your child’s teacher may be asked about:
Problem behaviors and what has been done about them
How the child is doing in school
How your child gets along with other children
Your child’s strengths
Ideas to help solve the problem
There are many kinds of psychological tests. These tests can help identify what the problem is, how severe it is, what it will mean for the child, and what can be done to help. Your child may have tests to:
Check how well your child can control impulses or use good judgment
Check if their behavioral problems are caused by attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, or another mental health problem
Measure how your child performs on an intelligence test compared to other children of the same age
Check for brain damage by testing thinking skills such as language and memory
Identify his personality style, mental and emotional problems, and strengths and weaknesses
Check for learning disabilities or problems with vision, hearing, or movement
Help identify those who might do well in programs for gifted children
After all interviews and tests are completed, you will receive a report that shows the results. The report will also give you ideas for treatment options to help your child.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2012-04-17 Last reviewed: 2014-04-03
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Psychological Evaluation and Testing: References
Foundations of psychological testing: A practical approach. LA Miller, RL Lovler. 2010
Assessment and testing. DN Bersoff, D DeMatteo. 2012 Accessed from psycnet.apa.org
Fundamentals of Psychological Testing. RD Brown. 2010
Handbook of Psychological Assessment by Gary Groth-Marnat. 2009
Kaplan and Sadockâ€™s Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry by Sadock (Ed) and Sadock (Ed) 2008
Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry; Theodore A. Stern MD, Jerrold F. Rosenbaum MD, Maurizio Fava MD, Joseph Biederman MD, Scott L. Rauch MD; Mosby; 2008
Psychological Testing and Assessment by Ronald Jay Cohen and Mark Swerdlik. 2009.
Psychological Testing: Principles, Applications, and Issues by Robert M. Kaplan and Dennis P. Saccuzzo. 2008.