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Reasons for Psychological or Psycho-Educational Assessment

Amanda Barrow, Ph.D. :: May 17, 2012 ::

Reasons for Psychological or Psycho-Educational Assessment

Hearing that a psychological or psycho-educational evaluation or assessment would be a useful step for you or a loved one may leave you feeling unsure, confused, or overwhelmed.    There are frequently many unknowns associated with this process, including what an evaluation will entail or what the term even means.    In short, a psychological or psycho-educational evaluation is a diagnostic process that aims to identify and understand both the areas of strength one possesses as well as possible root causes associated with the difficulties that may be interfering with greater levels of success and well-being.   Very often, there are many potential explanations for a concerning behavior pattern.   For example, if a child is struggling in school, does this stem from differences with attention, a learning disability, or some other issue such as anxiety or depression?   If an older adult is exhibiting forgetfulness, is this simply an age-related memory change or could some other change in brain functioning or mood be involved?  Identifying and understanding what areas of strength are available and are contributing to a person’s successes as well as what other factors are may be associated with areas of difficulty is often key to clarifying diagnoses and to helping construct a comprehensive, accurate treatment plan that maximizes successful outcomes.

How do I know an evaluation may be needed?   Evaluations can address a variety of areas of functioning, such as academic performance, attention and focus, emotional functioning, memory, and social functioning.   Observable signs that an evaluation may be warranted include changes in motivation or energy, increased anxiety or worry, changes in school- or work-related performance, declining confidence and self-esteem, poor organization or time management, and/or difficulties with social interactions.    

What can an evaluation do for me and my family?   The primary goal of an evaluation is to have a better understanding of what factors are contributing to a person’s struggles, which in turn can inform what treatment path will be best.   Having recommended accommodations for school/work/home, and being guided to the right professionals for subsequent intervention (as needed), are tangible, “hands-on” benefits of an assessment.   In addition, knowing why a difficult-to-manage or upsetting behavior is present can help parents, spouses, siblings, and other relatives and friends have a more compassionate and empathic view of a person, which in turn goes a very long way in strengthening support and encouragement.   

How do I get started?   The first step to an evaluation is a one-hour appointment in which the client and/or parents and relatives meet with Dr. Barrow to discuss their concerns and goals for an assessment.   She will have questions about the client’s background and current behavior, and can then formulate a targeted and individualized testing plan.

Contact Dr. Barrow at 832-328-0008 or with further questions or to schedule an initial evaluation!