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Descriptions / Types of Evaluation

Evaluations can help determine important information about your child’s developmental, cognitive, academic and/or psychosocial functioning. Below are different types of evaluations that are conducted at Pediatric Psychology Associates, in our Aventura, Weston, and Coral Gables offices. Depending on presenting issues, a specific type of evaluation may be recommended  (hence the different types of the evaluations). Regardless of the type of evaluation conducted, however, every important area of functioning is assessed in our evaluations (i.e. cognitive, academic, emotional, behavioral, social, and developmental), with the exception of gifted/IQ testing.

Psychoeducational Evaluations are conducted to assess an individual’s learning style (ages five years and older). Psychoeducational evaluations are usually recommended when a student is struggling in school or having difficulty with test taking (i.e., FSA, SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, GMAT, etc.). Psychoeducational evaluations are used to determine an individual’s strengths and weaknesses and establish whether there is a neurodevelopmental condition (such as a learning disability, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), etc.) interfering with academic functioning. Testing results are integral in the creation of individualized intervention plans and accommodations that will be most effective for a student to succeed.  Psychoeducational Evaluations at PPA are provided from age five through adulthood.  Depending on the age, the reason for the testing will vary (school placement, academic accommodations, interventions, and field of study/career decisions for college students and young adults).

Psychodevelopmental Evaluations are conducted to assess young children (ages three to five years) when there are concerns about a child’s development that may be interfering with optimal functioning. Developmental milestones include fine and gross motor functioning, speech/language skills, processing/cognitive abilities, preacademic and early academic skills (when appropriate), as well as social, behavioral and emotional functioning. Psychodevolopmental evaluations are useful for early detection of developmental delays, and to help guide recommendations for intervention and school placement, which are key to ensuring success. This also includes early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Multi-Disciplinary Developmental Evaluations, which are conducted through our Multi-Disciplinary Developmental Clinic (MDDC), involve the assessment of infants and toddlers (ages birth through three years). A multi-disciplinary evaluation may be recommended in cases of very young children presenting with a suspected cognitive, developmental, or language delay, or when a young child is having significant emotional, attentional, or behavioral challenges. A Pediatric Clinical Psychologist, Speech/Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist collaborate to provide an ‘arena style’ (all professionals are in the evaluation together) comprehensive play-based assessment of a child’s development. The team of expert evaluators then use objective data gathered during the evaluation process to provide individualized recommendations for any intervention required to advance the young child’s early development. Early intervention provides supports for the child as a whole and is essential in helping children learn and grow to their potential. As such, identification of even subtle delays in development is crucial to a child’s long-term success.

Neuropsychological Evaluations are conducted to assess an individual’s cognitive profile when there is a known or suspected brain dysfunction. Such a condition may result from a head injury, a medical condition (such as epilepsy, genetic disorders, meningitis, etc.), neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, etc.) or cognitive decline associated with aging. Neuropsychological testing provides a more in-depth examination of the relationship between brain function and behavior by looking more thoroughly at specific areas of functioning such as working memory, attention/concentration, visual/auditory processing, learning/memory, etc.

Psychological Evaluations are conducted to primarily assess an individual’s emotional and behavioral functioning. These evaluations provide useful information about how someone’s character, psychological constructs, and interpersonal style are affecting his or her functioning. Diagnostic information is useful to clarify a clinical picture and help guide treatment.

Gifted/Intelligence Evaluations are conducted to assess children who have demonstrated advanced skills in problem-solving and learning. Testing for gifted placement is conducted when there is the likelihood that a child would benefit from a more challenging academic program at school. All public school systems in the state of Florida (and many private schools as well) require intelligence testing to identify whether or not a child meets criteria for placement in the gifted program. Intelligence Testing can also be conducted on adults depending on the reason for referral (Mensa, employment requirement, etc.).