The first step in the evaluation process is to schedule a parent meeting where background information can be obtained (i.e., developmental history, family history, history of the specific behaviors or school struggles that are of concern, etc). At the end of this meeting, the specific tests necessary to address all of the concerns will be determined. The specific tests and number of tests chosen are based on what questions are to be answered through the evaluation. This is referred to as a “process” evaluation because there is no pre-set standard battery of tests that is given in all cases; the assessment battery is tailored to each individual child and it is adjusted accordingly in light of any unexpected findings that turn up along the way. The testing process itself typically takes 1-3 visits, depending on the complexity of the issues and comprehensiveness of the evaluation. Once the testing is complete, the results are then compiled in a report and a “review” session is scheduled with parents in order to go over the report. The most comprehensive report includes all pertinent background information, test scores, interpretation of the findings, recommendations, and resources. This is done in great detail so that parents will be able to understand all information contained in the report and be able to advocate successfully on behalf of their child. The evaluation is considered to be of little help if parents leave this meeting without a specific plan or direction in which to proceed. In some cases, more than one session following the review meeting is necessary, particularly if there is too much information to process and cover in one appointment.
It is not uncommon for an adult who suspects a learning disability or other undiagnosed problem to seek evaluation services. It can provide great relief to know what is behind the difficulties one has experienced in the past and/or experiences on an ongoing basis. In addition, in many cases, something can be done to remedy the problem.