Evaluations and Testing
Many types of tests are used to evaluate children for learning and attention issues. The area where your child is having trouble will help determine which particular tests are given. Tests can be broad measures of overall ability or focus on specific skills. Scores are typically reported on a “standard” scale meaning the scores are converted to a common measurer like a percentile, grade or age level.
An educational assessment or psycho–educational assessment will describe your child's overall intellectual potential and their academic skills and weaknesses. For example, you will learn whether your child’s reading is at grade level and, if not, where the specific deficits lie. For example, it could be that your child has trouble sounding out new words but uses intelligence to compensate, getting the gist of the information. Similar information will be provided for math aptitude. For a list of commonly used standardized tests see “Types of Tests: Inside the Evaluation Process” from Understood.org
Testing and Diagnosis for SpLD
Specific Learning Difficulties are diagnosed through assessments of an individual’s developmental, medical, educational, and family history. An assessment or “Psycho–educational evaluation” consists of a battery of tests that will provide information on your child's overall abilities, particularly learning style, information processing abilities, and academic skills. A significant part of this assessment is the IQ test which helps to clarify the student's strengths and weaknesses.
The most widely recognized IQ test is the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). In addition to the IQ test, the examiner will do specific tests to evaluate the student's cognitive abilities, typically tests of memory and organizational skills.
The other parts of the psycho–educational evaluation assess the student's academic skills: reading, written language, and math. There are many standardized tests that can be used to obtain this information. Studies might include informal measures but should also involve standardized tests that provide objective scores that can be compared to grade level expectations as well as to the student's intellectual potential. Testing should also allow comparison of the student's performance under timed and untimed conditions.
In addition to test data, the evaluation includes a clinical interview as well as questionnaires and rating scales completed by parents, teachers, and the student and an observation of the child in his classroom by the clinician. These data help to identify whether attentional and/or emotional issues might be contributing to or resulting from the learning difficulties. (Adapted from LD Online http://www.ldonline.org/article/19293?theme=print
Testing and Diagnosis for AD/HD
There is no single test to diagnose AD/HD. A comprehensive evaluation is necessary to establish a diagnosis, rule out other causes, and determine the presence or absence of co-existing conditions. The evaluation should include a careful history and a clinical assessment of the individual’s academic, social, and emotional functioning and developmental level and should be made by a developmental pediatrician, pediatric neurologist or psychiatrist and a developmental, clinical or educational Psychologist at Phd level. - See more at: http://www.chadd.org/Understanding-AD/HD/About-AD/HD/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-AD/HD.aspx#sthash.prTFoOVe.dpuf
In this short video, Dr. Thomas E Brown explains the complexity of AD/HD and the information needed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
How can I ensure I get a good assessment for my child?
Dr. Jadis Blurton describes the art and the science of testing necessary for reliable outcomes. Skilled professionals need to understand what they are testing, how to bring out the best in the person they are testing (your child) and how to accurately interpret the results. It’s a complicated process requiring both professional credentials, experience working with children, and knowledge of the classroom. Read the full article “The Art and Science of Testing: Why Assessing a Child is not Child’s Play.” http://dyslexia.yale.edu/evaluator.html
Who should test and diagnosis?
While standards and certifications vary by country, there are best practices regarding the role of professionals who can provide assessment services and diagnose disorders. Hong Kong does not have a standards body to establish and regulate standards for psychological or educational testing services. It is very important to ask the professional about his/her credentials and experience. This table presents the roles and qualifications of the professionals who provide services to persons with SpLD and AD/HD in the U.S. and provides a frame of reference for expected levels of educational and professional attainment. http://www.ldonline.org/article/6027?theme=print