When is it appropriate to have a child evaluated?

An evaluation is recommended when a child shows signs of struggling with tasks that are considered age appropriate in any of the key domains of a child’s life. These include school, family or peer relationships, self-esteem, and self-care.

The Songbird Center offers both neuropsychological and psychological assessments for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 2-22 in the following areas:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Developmental delays
  • Attention/ ADHD
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional/ Behavioral disorders
  • Learning Disabilities (reading, math, written expression)
  • Dyslexia
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Cognitive testing for gifted
  • Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE)
  • Cognitive effects associated with medical problems (head injury, etc)

How is a neuropsychological assessment different from a standard psychological assessment?

Neuropsychology is a specialty of psychology that focuses on determining the relationships between brain functioning and behavior. The goal of neuropsychological assessment is to determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses, provide an accurate diagnosis if needed, and make recommendations for home and school with the goal of improving your child’s quality of life. A neuropsychological evaluation assesses more domains than a typical psychological evaluation, especially with regard to areas of language, visual skills, attention, executive functioning, and memory. At the Songbird Center, every evaluation is different and tests are selected based on parent and/ or physician concerns and your child’s age. When appropriate, cognitive domains included as part of a neuropsychological assessment include:

  • Intellectual/ cognitive skills
  • Academic/ pre-academic functions
  • Receptive and expressive language
  • Visual-spatial construction and reasoning
  • Processing speed
  • Attention
  • Executive Functioning (impulse control, planning, problem-solving, etc)
  • Memory & learning
  • Behavioral, emotional, and social functioning

What should I expect in a good evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Before committing to an evaluation for autism, it is important to find out what assessment instruments the clinician uses, whether they are the ones most widely accepted in the field, and if they are using the most up-to-date versions. When it comes to the formal assessment of autism, rating scales specific to autism are filled out by parents and teachers. Direct assessment with the child should always include what has been designated as the “gold standard” instrument in autism evaluations: the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale, Second Edition (ADOS-2). The ADOS-2 is the most highly researched and accepted instrument in assessment for autism and can be used at virtually any age (12 months and up). Optimally, the evaluation also would include formal assessment of the child’s cognitive functioning (IQ) to rule out an intellectual disability. In conducting a comprehensive interview, parent and teacher rating forms, an IQ test, and the ADOS-2, The Songbird Center is confident that your child is receiving a quality assessment.

How do I get started when requesting an evaluation?

Reach out to The Songbird Center via phone or email. We will contact your insurance provider to determine what your plan coverage allows and what your deductible, co-pays, and co-insurance entail. If you decide to proceed, a one-hour parent interview will be scheduled. Based on information obtained during the interview, testing hours will be scheduled. Testing generally takes 2-5 hours and is done over multiple days. A feedback session for parents takes place approximately 2 weeks after the last day of testing. During the feedback session, results will be reviewed and your questions will be answered. You will also receive a comprehensive report complete with specific recommendations based on your child’s profile.

Can parents be in the testing room when the testing is completed?

There is considerable research suggesting that a child’s testing scores differ significantly when parents are present. We strive to assess all children separate from their families unless circumstances keep this from being an arrangement that allows for successful observation of skills. Parents are welcome to stay on-site in the waiting room and will able to see their child any time they leave the room for restroom breaks. Older children, when parents are comfortable with this arrangement, can be dropped off and picked up at the end of the testing session. For very young children (up to 36 months), portions of the assessment will be completed with the parent in the room.

What if my appointment is during school hours?

We strive to minimize the amount of school time missed as a result of testing. With that in mind, all appointments are considered excused absences, and a school excuse note will be provided as needed.

What if I need a custody evaluation?

The Songbird Center does NOT conduct custody evaluations. If you are in the process of a divorce, we will not provide testing until custody is determined, as evaluations are often subpoenaed.