Interview with Ryther Psychologist, Dr. Rochelle Coffey, PsyD
What types of psychological assessments do you most frequently do?
Most often we do assessments for the purpose of diagnostic clarification and recommendations for treatment. This may include questions about whether a child has ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder, autism spectrum disorder, a learning disability, depression, anxiety or other psychological disorders.
How is the decision made as to which type would be most beneficial?
We determine which tests to administer based on the question the parent or referring professional is asking about the child. If in the course of the assessment other questions arise we discuss that with the parent to determine whether additional assessment is desired.
Why would parents consider having their child tested?
Simply put, an evaluation is an investigation to answer questions. When parents have concerns about their child’s behavior in school, with friends, or in the home, they may consult their child’s teacher or pediatrician, a therapist or others. If subsequent interventions do not resolve concerns, parents may request an assessment to provide further information. Is the high activity ADHD, anxiety or opposition? Are the learning problems due to a developmental disability, inattention, or a specific learning disability? Is the delay in language development and socialization indicative of an autism spectrum disorder? Is a child underperforming in school because the material is too difficult for them or because they are not being challenged? Our psychologists can help you determine whether an evaluation might be helpful.
What should parents and caregivers expect during and after an assessment at Ryther?
Initially, the psychologist will meet with parents or caregivers to determine whether their questions or concerns may be addressed with an evaluation. She will attain a thorough description of their concerns as well as a developmental history. If an evaluation is appropriate, she will discuss what types of assessments will be used and who will need to provide further information. Releases to speak with teachers, coaches or other caregivers may be sought or the parent may be asked to deliver standardized questionnaires for these people. After that an appointment will be scheduled for the child to come in for the assessment. This is typically done in two sessions depending on the child’s age and the number of tests to be administered. With only rare exception, the assessment must be completed without parental presence. After the assessment, a report will be prepared and the caregivers will return for a feedback session. The report will include recommendations for various domains including academics, home, and community. Do we have any specialized assessments that go beyond general psychological evaluations? At Ryther we have the ability to do a broad range of evaluations. We use cognitive, academic achievement, objective and projective personality tests as well as neuropsychological instruments. We also do autism spectrum disorder assessments, which in addition to those tools mentioned above, includes the Autism Diagnostic Obse