1. How long will it take to get a report once the evaluation is completed?
It is important to get results in a timely manner so that if remediation or accommodations in school are required, they can be put into place as quickly as possible. Other evaluators may take up to 6 months to write a report. My evaluations always generate a report within 4 weeks. People are referred to me because their child is experiencing academic or emotional difficulties and I feel it is very important to get the child help as soon as possible.
2. Does the clinician have an education in remediation and has she or he ever done remedial reading work with children or adults?
A neuropsychological evaluation will offer recommendations of how to best help the patient overcome his or her weaknesses. If the psychologist has never actually taught anyone to read, the recommendations are based on textbook knowledge and not personal experience, thus tending to be less specific. It is easier to understand how to help a child if one has actually practiced the recommended techniques that are being offered. Furthermore, if the psychologist has remediated children before, she will be able to work closely with a learning specialist or tutor to help the child's learning process and offer suggestions when needed. I have extensive experience from graduate school, my private practice, and my hospital based practice in teaching pre-reading skills to kindergarteners, reading strategies to children of all ages, and tutoring dyslexic adults. Furthermore, I was the learning specialist at a residential treatment center for three years and I trained their resource room teachers on how to teach reading. I also worked with each teacher to create a multi-sensory classroom that would facilitate learning math and reading. Because I have this area of expertise, I will work closely with a tutor or remediation specialist to ensure that she/he understands my recommendations. This is an extension of my services because I want to make sure my client succeeds and does well as a result of my evaluation.
3. What is the personality of the clinician and the testing environment?
Each practitioner brings her own personality to the evaluation. Ask her to describe the environment and her approach when attempting to develop a positive rapport with a child. Some practitioners are very structured and require even young children to sit very still throughout the evaluation. Others might be opposed to eating or drinking during the meeting and may not want to stop for a break. Find out if the environment is formal or relaxed and determine what is best for your child's personality. I am very flexible. I want my clients to feel comfortable and to enjoy the evaluation process. I establish a positive rapport quite easily with people and children enjoy coming to see me. I supply water and snacks if someone gets hungry. My office is calm and quiet and I have a good sense of humor that seems to put children at ease.
4. Why is the relationship with the clinician that you choose so important?
Because the psychologist will understand your child's learning style, strengths and weaknesses better than anyone else. You are potentially setting up a long-term relationship with this professional. If you have a young child evaluated and the child is diagnosed with a problem, the child may need to be re-evaluated every three years in order to continue to qualify for special services and accommodations. Furthermore, there may be a time when a follow-up evaluation within a year would be helpful to check academic progress and to ensure that the tutoring a child is receiving is helping. There may also come a time when you have a question about your child's needs, academic setting, or accommodations. I am available for follow up questions well after the evaluation is complete. Once I have a client, I want to help him or her as best I can and I am available for as long as necessary. I don't dismiss you after the evaluation as a "closed case".
5. Will the clinician who evaluates your child be willing to meet with the school's special service team and/or talk to the teachers?
Will she accompany you to meetings if you feel it would be helpful? Having the professional who has evaluated your child attend meetings with you often helps obtain the best services for your child. I am available (for a fee) to attend school meetings even if they are not in the New York City area. I often attend school meetings in Connecticut and New Jersey and have had clients from throughout the United States and even Europe.
6. Will the clinician be willing to answer a question or speak to a tutor or school well after the evaluation is completed?
This should be considered a long-term relationship, if required. The person who evaluates your child will have a deep understanding of his/her strengths and weaknesses. You want someone who is available to you should a question arise in the future. I am always available for questions. Once I have evaluated a child, I feel I have a responsibility to be there in the future since I have the best understanding of how that child learns.
7. How many evaluations does the clinician work on at one time and does she or he do all of her/his own testing and writing?
You may not want someone who accepts a large amount of evaluations at once because your case may become "a number" and the clinician may not be readily available to you. It is also important that the psychologist you choose does all of her own testing and writing. I feel that if one works on numerous cases, they become confusing and subtle insights about a child may be lost. The reason that I am able to get my reports out quickly is because I am not overwhelmed with an abundance of reports that I have to write. I run a well-organized practice and devote significant time to each case.
8. What is the follow up after an evaluation?
Follow up is an integral part of the testing process and allows the psychologist to communicate and discuss the relevant findings. After an evaluation is completed and you have read the report, you come in to see me to review the report and go over any questions you may have. I will also go over my recommendations and explain the diagnosis, if any was given. Next, I will meet with your child and explain the results without offering any numbers, such as IQ. I will explain strengths and weaknesses. I will also tell your child what I have recommended. Once you understand my report, I will be available to speak to the appropriate people at your child's school and to talk to potential remediators or tutors if required. Once this initial process is completed, I will be available via telephone, or email, if questions should arise. For a fee, I will also be available to go to the school for a meeting if necessary, even if it is out of the New York City area.
9. What is the availability of the clinician?
The majority of psychologists go away for the summer, especially in August. I am available throughout the summer, even in August. The summer is a convenient time to have a child evaluated because he will not have to miss school. Furthermore, it is important to start the next school year headed in the right direction. Having recommendations in place and beginning the school year in an organized fashion can only help with your child's success.
10. Do you accept insurance?
My practice does not accept insurance. If you choose to submit claims to your insurance company, you can use the receipts that I provide. Please know that you may or may not receive reimbursement for counseling; however it is common that parts of a psychodiagnostic evaluation are covered.
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