Descriptions/Types of Evaluations available at PPA
Evaluations can help determine important information about an individual’s developmental, cognitive, academic and/or psychosocial functioning. Below are different types of evaluations that are conducted at Pediatric Psychology Associates, in our Aventura, South Miami, and Weston offices. Depending on presenting concerns, a specific type of evaluation may be recommended (hence the different types of the evaluations). Regardless of the type of evaluation conducted, every important area of functioning is assessed in our comprehensive evaluations (i.e., cognitive, academic, emotional, behavioral, social, and developmental). This does not include Psychological, Gifted/Intelligence, or Speech/Language Evaluations, which are limited to specific areas of functioning.
Developmental Evaluations seek to assess early development in infants and toddlers (ages zero to three years), typically when there is a concern regarding developmental delays or “red flags” for an Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or a developmental delay.
Psychodevelopmental Evaluations are conducted to assess young children (ages three to five years) when there are concerns about potential developmental delays that may be interfering with optimal functioning. Developmental milestones include fine and gross motor functioning, speech/language/communication skills, processing/cognitive abilities, preacademic and early academic skills (when appropriate), as well as social, behavioral and emotional functioning.
Psychoeducational Evaluations are conducted to assess an individual’s learning style (ages five years through adulthood). 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.). 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). 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, etc.) interfering with academic functioning. Evaluation results are integral in the creation of individualized intervention/accommodation plans that will be most effective for a student to succeed.
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 a specific domain of cognitive functioning controlled by different regions of the brain (such as working memory, attention/concentration, visual/auditory processing, learning/memory, etc.) and behavior (including learning, reasoning, self-regulation, communication, etc.)
Psychological Evaluations are primarily conducted to 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 their 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 (as well as many private schools) require intelligence testing to identify whether or not a child meets the criteria for placement in a gifted program. Intelligence Testing can also be completed with adults, depending on the reason for referral (Mensa, employment requirement, etc.).
Autism Diagnostic Evaluations for Adults are conducted to determine the existence of Autism Spectrum Disorders in suspecting adults. Such evaluations involve a comprehensive review of developmental history, intelligence testing, administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observational Scale – 2nd Edition (ADOS-2), and assessment of psychological and adaptive functioning. Information gathered is used to confirm/discard a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as to guide recommendations for any interventions, accommodations or supports necessary to optimize functioning. Please note that this evaluation is insufficient to provide clarification on various other complex differential diagnoses that may present similarly to, or in conjunction with, an Autism Spectrum Disorder. In such cases, a more extensive battery of tests is needed.
Speech and Language Evaluations assess all areas of communication including speech articulation, receptive (comprehension) and expressive (speaking) language, pragmatic/communication skills, and when appropriate, feeding/oral-motor skills. These evaluations are provided to individuals across the lifespan.