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When Do Children Need Psychological Testing?

I get calls every week from parents asking me whether they should get their child tested. Most parents aren’t even sure what kind of testing they are looking for, yet others are very specific and asking for ADHD testing, or depression testing, or anxiety testing. The difficulty can be that entering a clinic that tests specifically for ADHD (or other disorders), can very often give you the diagnosis for that disorder. This is due mostly to the fact that when they test for something, they are looking for it, and not necessarily doing a “full body” test. The real answer comes in seeking out a professional that can look for everything, emotionally, intellectually, and developmentally. There is a reason I only have 2 professionals I refer to for psychological testing, and 2 professionals I refer to for psychiatric medication. That reason is that they don’t all do the same work, and parents need to make sure who they are taking their children to before getting them tested.

When I first met psychologist Susan Rosin, Ph.D. what impressed me most was how thorough her testing was, and how much detail she gave in her observations. She didn’t just listen to why the child was sent to her, she got to know each child, and spend time with them (often 4-6 hours), so she could form a sound opinion. The best part was that her opinion didn’t always match up with mine, and she had data from her testing to back her up. As a psychologist, she works to help each child in the long run and not just now, by recommending a referral for medication (if necessary) and a recommendation for counseling (if necessary). She is also a “down to earth person”.

When parents as about getting their child tested, it’s important to know there are 3 levels in the mental health field…therapists (counselors), psychologists (counseling and testing), and psychiatrists (medication). When done right, all 3 areas work together with no one area being more important than the others. Psychological testing can help a parent get a good “overall” look at their child’s emotional, intellectual, and developmental makeup, and also what to do about it (counseling, medication, or accommodations in school) so the child has the best chance at succeeding in life. Before getting your child tested, do your homework, ask around, and interview to professional on the phone so you are confident in their approach.

Tom Stevens, LPC-S, RPT-S
www.tomstevens.us

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