Testing, or assessment, involves giving your child a variety of tests to assess intellectual abilities, ability to pay attention, academic skills, memory, language, problem solving, and emotional adjustment. The tests include paper and pencil tasks and hands-on activities, looking at pictures, answering questions, putting blocks and puzzles together, and using a computer. Parents and teachers may be asked to fill out questionnaires about the child's behavior at home or at school.
Preparing your child for testing:
- A parent or other responsible adult will need to be on the premises when your child is being tested. Your child will get breaks periodically throughout the day and will have a longer break (45-60 minutes, usually) for lunch.
- How long testing lasts depends on the child’s age and type of problem, but we recommend you plan for the same amount of time as a normal school day.
- Your child will want to know about what is going to happen at this appointment. What you tell your child will depend on how much he or she can understand, but there are a few key points.
- Keep explanations simple. Focusing on issues/problems that your child can relate to, like “trouble with reading,” "problems following directions," or "trouble remembering things."
- Tell your child that you are trying to understand his/her problem to make things better. Reassure your child that no one gets every question right and that the important thing is to "try your best."
- Your child will be asked to do many different kinds of tasks like answering questions, solving puzzles, working with blocks and puzzles, drawing, and remembering words and sounds.
- Make sure your child knows that there will not be shots, wires attached to his/her head (EEG), or pictures of his/her head (i.e. long periods of time in an MRI).
- If your child wears glasses or hearing aids, make sure he/she brings them along for testing. Please let us know in advance if your child requires any other adaptive equipment.
- Make sure your child gets a good night’s sleep before testing.
- Dress comfortably. Layering clothing is a good idea to prevent being too cold or too warm.
- Make sure your child eats breakfast. Pack some healthy snacks for later in the day.
- If your child is on medications (including Ritalin or other stimulants), have him/her take them as usual unless instructed otherwise.
- Neuropsychology technicians assist with the administration and scoring of tests so your child will work with another person during this evaluation. Most children can easily understand that working with the technician for testing is like having their own teacher for the day.
- Parents are typically not present in the room during testing, although they must remain in the building/waiting room if the child is underage.