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What Parents Should Know About Psychological Evaluations

Children can often exhibit signs of psychological disorders inside the classroom. If a teacher or school administrator notices a child behaving oddly over time, the school may reach out to the child's parents and suggest that a psychological evaluation be conducted. Receiving notice that your child may need a psychological evaluation can be frightening.

Here are three things that you need to know about the evaluation process to help put your mind at ease.

1. Psychological evaluations are not invasive.

Parents often worry that their child will be frightened or uncomfortable during a psychological evaluation. It's important to realize that these evaluations are not invasive, and your child will likely not even realize that an evaluation is taking place.

Psychologists use a variety of techniques to help them analyze a child's behavior. Some of these techniques include having a child complete a standardized test, interviewing the child, or merely observing the child as he or she goes about normal activities. None of the psychological evaluation methods used by psychologists to determine if your child has a disorder will harm your child or make him or her uncomfortable.

2. Special circumstances will be taken into consideration during the evaluation.

Another concern that parents often express when it comes to psychological evaluations for their child is the accuracy of the evaluation process. It's important that you keep in mind the fact that the psychologist will use a full range of information before making a diagnosis. In addition to the evaluation, the psychologist will likely ask you some questions about your child's behavior at home.

The psychologist will also account for the child's familiarity with the testing materials, the child's motivation and engagement throughout the evaluation period, and the child's comfort level throughout the evaluation process. These factors combined help a psychologist make accurate assumptions, preventing your child from being inaccurately diagnosed with a psychological disorder.

3. You can dispute the results of the evaluation.

Since school systems use psychological evaluations to help determine if a child needs to be placed in special education classes, it's important that you are satisfied with the results. If you feel that your child was inaccurately diagnosed, you have the right to request another evaluation.

You also have the ability to select the psychologist conducting the evaluation rather than relying on the school psychologist to complete the evaluation process. This ability to dispute the results of your child's evaluation gives you greater control over the accuracy of your child's diagnosis.

Understanding the psychological evaluation process will help you feel more prepared to allow your child to undergo an evaluation, such as from Carewright Clinical Services, if it is recommended by school personnel in the future.