Psychological Testing for Your Child – The Basics
Parenting is challenging. That’s no secret. And when we see our child struggling, it can be difficult to know just how to help them and what to do next. These struggles may be primarily experienced in the school setting, in the home, or perhaps in all social settings. It’s possible that there are psychological issues at play.
Psychological testing can diagnose such mental health issues and provide the insight and comfort necessary to formulate an educated path forward; allowing you to confidently do what is best for your child.
What does a Psychological Exam include?
Psychological testing is administered by a trained professional, usually called a clinician. The clinician may be a psychiatrist or psychologist. The testing works to assess your child’s symptoms, mindset, and capabilities. Steps typically include:
Clinical interview – A candid conversation between your child and a clinician. While it’s referred to as an ‘interview’, great care is taken to ensure the session’s environment is comfortable and respectful. The clinician will observe how the child interacts and processes information.
Interviews with affected adults – We then meet with those adults that are best informed of the situations at hand. That is most often the parents / guardians but can also include educators and other family members. All information shared is confidential and valuable in forming a more complete understanding of the challenges at hand.
Testing – The types and amount of ‘tests’ employed are patient specific and depend upon the child’s age and challenges. Written assessments, games, and rating scales are pulled in as appropriate.
Information gathering – A clinician will seek to learn about the child’s history including their development, health, home life, schooling, and major life events. Such information may be gathered via interview or survey.
Why is Psychological Testing so important?
Psychological testing may be the most accurate way to discover underlying disorders: mental, developmental, and learning. It can also highlight areas where a patient may be gifted. Once disorders are discovered, you’re – of course – more able to effectively treat conditions.
When is it appropriate to conduct Psychological Testing?
Any time a child is experiencing prolonged difficulties or symptoms, testing may be appropriate. Examples include, yet are not limited to significant mood swings, extreme anxiety / sadness / fear, effects of bullying, school performance issues, and ongoing outbursts.
Psychological exams are also commonly provided for giftedness testing and school entry requirement.
The first step is a conversation. We will discuss the matters at hand and the appropriateness of psychological testing. We will go over all of the above and ensure that all of your questions are fully answered to your satisfaction.
The West Michigan Psychological Services team has offices in Norton Shores, Grand Haven, and Holland. We can also assist families throughout Michigan. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.