Are you planning on scheduling psychological testing for your child, or for yourself? Perhaps it’s been recommended by a pediatrician or your family doctor or your child’s preschool. Perhaps you’re wondering whether the problem is Aspergers, Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, developmental delays or a learning disability of some sort.
No matter how you cut it, this is for the average person a daunting task. Who would be the best professional to do the testing? Does it really cost that much? You want the best. I recommend the following guidelines in helping you answer these questions.
Assessment procedures should meet the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999, the American Educational Research Association The American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education), developed to promote sound and ethical use of tests and testing practices.
- Be sure that a licensed psychologist is conducting the testing and the interpretation of results. Psychologists are the only mental and medical health professionals whose degree program entailed thorough psychological assessment training and whose licensure covers this area.
- Once testing is complete, the psychologist score the tests, interpret the results and make detailed recommendations for the adult or child. All of this data should be written in a psychological test report.
- The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (1999) strongly recommend that test scores only be shared in the context of multiple test results and observations. Raw data should not be distributed to anyone because it can easily be misinterpreted and used incorrectly.
- Psychological assessments and testing reports should be consistent with state and national regulations governing accommodations for disabilities
- Practical recommendations should be included in the test report that meet guidelines set by public and private school settings, colleges and universities and in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings.
- A session should be scheduled during which the psychologist meets with the client to explain test findings and recommendations in simple language and during which your questions can be answered. (Standard 5.10 of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing) Test reports are generally not provided to parents or individuals, but rather to the school or other professional.
Before you schedule your testing, be sure to talk to several different psychologists, not just about cost, but about the about #1-6 above.
No matter what, a psychologist’s fee for psychological testing is based on the number of tests used and time spent in actual testing, time spent with you gathering essential background information, the time time it will take to evaluate and integrate the test results, the time it takes to determine recommendations based on these results, the time it takes to write an informative and practical psychological report and the time it takes to sit with you to review the results and recommendations.
If the cost seems low and you think that’s the fairest, I recommend you think about it this way. The lowest fee is not the fairest, it is indicative of the amount of time spent on the testing. Do you want the fairest, least expensive testing, or do you want the most thorough and helpful testing?
Patti M. Zordich, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, Cary, NC, 919.380.1000, trypsych.com