4 Steps to a Psychological Assessment and How it Can Help Your Child

How do you know when to pursue a formal psychological evaluation for your child?  

You may be considering psychological testing because your child is not meeting developmental milestones, is behind academically, is socially disconnected, or experiences overwhelming emotions.  

Or you may just want to know more about your child’s cognitive strengths and aptitude.  

I’m Paul Johnson a Psychological Associate at Pivot Child Psychological Services. And in this video I’m going to share with you the 4-Steps to a Psychological Evaluation and  how it can help your child.

The first step is a comprehensive intake and interview.

We first meet with you and discuss your concerns and questions. Then we tailor an evaluation specific to your child and their needs.  We may discuss suspected disabilities to target, such as ADHD, AUTISM, Learning Disorders, and Emotional Disorders. We will then work with you to schedule times for testing.

The second step is direct testing with your child.

We will spend several direct hours with your child, typically 1 to 3 sessions, to test and measure cognitive processing skills, memory and learning, visual-motor integration, academic abilities, adaptive skills, and social/emotional functioning.

We also use very specialized tests such as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule otherwise known as the ADOS-2, which aids in the diagnosis of Autism.

The third step, if possible, is to observe your child in school.  

In these observations, we gather information on how they attend to tasks, socialize with others, problem solve, and respond to teacher redirections.  

The fourth step in a psychological assessment is to complete social-emotional behavior checklists. We assess how your child performs or acts in different settings with teachers, coaches, or youth group leaders. 

We look for significant differences based on the tasks or the environment that may indicate a consistent pattern of concern. 

So how does a psychological assessment benefit you and your child?

It provides 3 things: 

First, it provides objective answers to common questions like does my child have an emotional disability? 

Do they need extra supports at school? How do they compare socially to others their age? Is medication something we need to consider?

Second, a psychological assessment provides clarity around your child’s strengths and needs.  

For instance, an assessment will reveal if your child is a stronger visual, hands on, or verbal learner. 

It will compare their cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence to others. 

It will also show if they need extra support around executive skills such as time management, adapting to change, flexible thinking, or filtering out distractions.


Finally, a psychological assessment will provide a possible diagnosis of neurodivergent conditions such as Autism, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Major Depression, or Oppositional Defiant Disorder.


So why would a parent want to have their child go through a psychological assessment? 

You will receive a comprehensive psychological report to reflect on and share with others who support your child.  

The results of the assessment will help you and school staff develop appropriate academic, emotional, developmental, and social goals. 

You will receive specific strategies to help your child manage anger, sensory stress, negative thoughts, social needs, or learning challenges. 

If needed, we will help connect you with ongoing therapy and medication management options.  

If you feel like a psychological assessment is what you need for your child to best answer your concerns, reach out to us to SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.

Share This Page