I encounter reminders of the usefulness of psychological testing for children and adolescents in various situations: when a patient tells me that her daughter, now in her 20s and repeatedly failing in college math classes, was never tested to determine if she had a math learning disability for which she could have received educational accommodations, including extra time on tests; or when parents and teachers cannot tell whether a child cannot pay attention in class because of an attention deficit or because of hidden underlying anxiety; when parents and teachers cannot tell why a child seems unmotivated to do well academically. Another example of a situation in which it was useful to test an adolescent occurred when a colleague treating an adolescent referred his patient to clarify whether the young man suffered from a serious psychiatric disorder which ran in his family.
The public school system often cannot perform needed testing rapidly because they are overwhelmed with the amount of need. From start to finish, depending on my workload I can guarantee having a testing report in between 2 and 4 weeks.
Testing might consist of doing a Full Battery of interviews, an IQ test, academic achievement tests, reading tests; parent, child and teacher questionnaires; and psychological performance tests which get at the young person’s emotional concerns and pinpoint areas of trouble and ways to address them. Or testing might be simply an IQ test to determine eligibility for gifted placement, or to diagnose reading, writing, or math learning disabilities and for consideration for special education placement.