Psycho-Educational Testing and Diagnosis

Psycho-educational Testing and Diagnosis:

Every parent wants the best for his or her child. Every Teacher wants the best for his or her student. Developing a tailored program for your child's education is a daunting challenge. Psycho-educational testing is a testing methodology used to uncover a child's strengths, weaknesses, and emotional, social, and educational needs. The approach used by Dr. Theresa Shank and Dr. Laura Frazier at CPE Clinic LLC. is often more involved than what is provided by the school system and is extremely helpful in an IEP plan.

How is psycho-educational testing and diagnosis protocol we do different from what is done within the school system?

Some of the tests performed during psycho-educational testing are the same as those performed by the school system. CPE Clinic, LLC offers more extensive testing to uncover the needs of each child. The tests performed by the school system are not diagnostic for the purposes of health insurance, the tests performed at CPE Clinic, LLC are diagnostic and apply for both health insurance purposes as well as those for educational purposes.

What is psycho-educational evaluation?

Psycho-educational evaluations provide a standardized way to find out about a child’s strengths, weaknesses, and emotional, social, and educational needs. They are used to diagnose developmental delays, intellectual and academic giftedness, attention deficit disorders, specific learning disabilities, and emotional concerns. The information gained can be submitted to schools, pediatricians, therapists, and SAT/ACT testing boards to help children and teens get the treatment, services, and accommodations they need to be successful. Psycho-educational evaluations can also be extremely helpful to parents, as they offer insight into children’s innate preferences for information processing and problem-solving, and yield information about how their development compares to that of their peers, allowing parents to tailor their parenting style, behavior management strategies, and academic support to foster the child’s optimal potential.

What skills are typically assessed in a psycho-educational evaluation?

  • Intellectual functioning, including the child’s ability to solve problems verbally and visually
  • Test names: Wechsler Intelligence Test for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V) (ages 6 to 16)
    Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) (ages 16+)
  • Memory and Learning, including verbal and visual learning and memory
  • Test name: Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning - Second Edition (WRAML2)- (ages 5 – adult)

  • Reading abilities, including word reading, reading fluency, and reading comprehension
  • Test names: Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV)
    Gray Oral Reading Tests – Fifth Edition (GORT-5)
    Nelson-Denny Reading Test (Grades 9+)

  • Mathematical abilities, including math calculation, speed of math fact recall, and applied mathematical reasoning
  • Test name: Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV)

  • Writing abilities, including spelling, writing fluency, handwriting, and written expression
  • Test names: Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV)
    Test of Written Language – Fourth Edition (TOWL-4)
    Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration – Sixth Edition (VMI)

  • Language processing, skills underlying reading and writing, such as phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge
  • Test name:Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV)

  • Attention, including the ability to maintain focus on verbal and visual tasks
  • Test names: Test of Variables of Attention (TOVA)
    Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML)

    Along with parent interview, child interview and observation during the testing

  • Executive functioning, such as working memory, impulse control, speed of information processing, and rate of task completion
  • Behavior Rating Scales: BRIEF (Parent, Teacher, and Self-Report Forms)
    BASC-3 (Parent, Teacher, and Self-Report Forms)
    Along with parent interview, child interview and observation during the testing

  • Behavioral, social, and emotional functioning:
  • Behavior Rating Scales: BASC-3 (Parent, Teacher, and Self-Report)

    Along with parent interview, child interview and observation during the testing

What is involved in a psycho-educational evaluation?

First, the psychologist meets alone with the parents to take a comprehensive developmental history, collect report cards and other academic records, review any prior testing, and give out behavior checklists for the parents/guardians and teachers to fill out. In a comprehensive evaluation (that is, one that looks at most or all the skills listed above), the child attends two testing sessions, each about 3 hours and 15 minutes long, and scheduled in the morning. These sessions may be a few days apart or a week or two apart, depending on the child’s schedule. A break is taken about midway through each testing session so the child may have a snack and drink and some time to move around. Additional breaks are provided based on the needs of the child. Depending on the child’s age and comfort level with new adults, the parent may wish to stay in the waiting room or is free to leave the office until the end of the testing session.

What is the cost of a psycho-educational evaluation?

At CPE Clinic, LLC, a comprehensive evaluation that assesses all the skills listed above costs $2200. This covers the intake interview, about 6 ½ hours of face to face contact with the child, the time the psychologist puts in to scoring and interpreting the test results and reviewing the child’s school and other records, the time required for the psychologist to write the report, and the feedback session with the parents. In total, this process represents about 16 or more hours of the psychologist’s time, which breaks down to a charge of about $140 an hour.

What is the difference between neuropsychological testing and a psycho-educational evaluation?

Neuropsychological testing is indicated when a child has had a known brain injury or illness, has experienced a loss of cognitive functioning for no known reason (such as decline in speech skills or memory), or has a genetic condition that affects intelligence or other cognitive skills. Neuropsychologists have specialized training and expertise and their evaluations tend to be more expensive than psycho-educational evaluations performed by psychologists. Psycho-educational evaluations, such as that described above, are sufficient for diagnosing attention deficit disorders, learning disorders, and emotional and social concerns, cost the family less money, and prevent the child from completing unnecessary tests.

Will my insurance cover psycho-educational testing?

Questions regarding coverage for psycho-educational testing should be directed to your specific insurance company and your specific insurance plan. CPE Clinic, LLC is an out-of-network provider for all commercial insurances, so you should ask if you have out-of-network coverage for the following procedure codes: 90791 (intake), 96101 (testing by the psychologist), 96103 (testing with a computer), and 90846 (family therapy without the patient) and 90847 (family therapy with the patient) for the feedback session. For a comprehensive evaluation, 8 units of 96101 and 1 unit of 96103 are charged. These units cover the time spent with the child, as well as the time spent scoring the tests and writing the report. The remaining two codes cover the intake session and the feedback session, during which the results are discussed and the report is provided. Families pay for the evaluation at the time of the testing, and then submit forms provided by CPE Clinic, LLC to their insurance company for reimbursement.

Why choose CPE Clinic, LLC for my child’s psycho-educational evaluation?

Dr. Theresa Shank and Dr. Laura Frazier of CPE Clinic, LLC collectively bring over a quarter of a century of experience to psycho-educational testing. Their tests are well known for the insights, detail, and exactness by educators and parents alike.

Dr. Theresa Shank of CPE Clinic, LLC brings over 20 years of experience in testing children to any evaluation she completes. She has been the she became the supervising psychologist for post-doctoral fellows in the Developmental Pediatrics Department at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, part of the Johns Hopkins Health System. There, she performed numerous evaluations on preschool children and children with developmental disabilities such as autism, mental retardation, and cerebral palsy. For the past 14 years, she has been in private practice, with psycho-educational evaluations of children with learning, attention and other disorders comprising half of her clinical load. In all, she has tested well over 1000 children and has an excellent sense of typical and atypical development. Warm and compassionate, she sets both parents and children at ease, presents test results in plain English, and provides comprehensive reports that can be used to help children get the services and accommodations they need to reach their full potential.

Dr. Laura K. Frazier. is a licensed psychologist with over 10 years of experience in testing children and adolescents. She has performed numerous evaluations on children and adolescents with developmental and learning disabilities. In private practice for over 5 years, she has recently relocated with her family back to the mid-Atlantic region. She has tested well over 200 families and brings the diversity of perspective from testing across regions in the United States, giving her insights from many approaches and has insights not easily found with other providers. Friendly and approachable, Dr. Frazier’s energy and compassion is easily felt both by children and their parents alike.