Can anyone who has been through testing give a quick rundown of what we should expect from a full psyc report covering the cognitive, social and emotional? Yes, I know to ask the ed psyc and to see what we get, and, that there will be differences across different psychologists. But, it would be nice to have some points of comparison about what people offer and different experiences.
I would expect a score if an IQ test was given, a note about interpreting the IQ score and issues with that particular test (eg how processing speed may 'lower' the WISC full-scale score), other achievement tests given, recommendations and offer of follow-up with school (at a cost of course) and also any comments on what issues may have been at play during the testing.
Expect a lot of negative things. They are not in the business of saying what a lovely kid you have. I found the reporting didn't capture my boy's true essence. Also remember this is just a snapshot in time. The testing has everything to do with how he was on the day and what's been going on for him/her.
I took my boy to a Ed psych while he was in full-blown anxiety over school and feeling dumb, withdrawn, and wanting to die (he was 6). The Ed Psych could only work with my boy as he was (not cooperative, not keen to show "how stupid he was" to anyone else and so on).
He is a completely different boy now. That report opened doors for help and support but I still don't think it truly reflects his true capacity and abilities - but that's for me to bask in privately (until he needs help again).
Thanks Robyn. We now have our report, there were a lot of inconsistencies in both what the psyc wrote - direct contradictions in fact - and, also in our child's scoring. Very frustrating to have "unusual" scoring patterns referred to - with no integration or explanation whatsoever of what might have been contributing to the unusual scores. Very frustrating to notice huge subtest discrepancies ourselves, and have these ignored in the report. Not impressed, especially with the amount we paid. We're considering where to go to from here. I found the whole experience quite adversarial and uprofessional in fact and, although I wont mention names publicly, I know who I will NOT recommend if anyone asks my advice on a good ed psyc.
There were a few interesting articles printed off the internet included but nothing we weren't already familiar with ourselves, and they were very limited in scope. There were some recommendations that weren't printed off of hoagiesgifted or something like that from the internet - eg we were given the name of a behavioral optometrist. It would have been nice if the psyc had actually written in the report why we might need one....the whole thing practically read like a 'form report' with nothing but a name and numbers changed. I'm sure it wasn't done like that, but it wasn't at all cohesive and did not reflect our child at all.
I'm sorry that you feel your report doesn't truly reflect your child. We feel that way too, and have now seen two ed psycs with two very different reports. We strongly feel one got it 'right', but the recent one (that we thought the school would take more notice off) read like it was from the testing of a completely different child. Ahhh the joys of testing!!
Oh, Yes, Chris Herbert made me weep with delight. She "got" my boy, after all the confusion and frustration from the Psych Ed. Your Psych Ed should have recommendations for you - who to see to support your child.
I will say that finally discovering an amazing Occupational Therapist is what has changed my boy's world and has made me realise how much of the Psych Ed's report is even MORE rubbish than I thought (some isn't).
We were a bit disappointed as there were a lot of areas where my child hit the ceiling. So we had a greater than sign appearing on a lot of the numbers! We expected that we would get more detail than we actually did.
It was fabulous to confirm what we supected. However it did little to help with day to day management.
I am an Ed Psych and would really like to point out that as Robyn noted an assessment can only look at what is in front of the person at the time, and what info can be gathered from those that know a child.
This is why my colleagues and I make such an effort to talk to parents and teachers and to get their opinions, observations and concerns in a number
of areas so that we have a chance to build a fuller picture of a child than the few hours we spend with them. We also make sure that feedback is given and offer separate additional feedback sessiosn for those who need to go through a report more fully to be able to utilise it effectively. It is really important to realise that chidlren can be quite different in different environments. Making sure everyone is on the same page is so very important if these situations that people have mentioned are to be avoided.
It should be noted that not everyone who assesses children is an Educational Psychologist and people can be confused by this. It is now illegile to call yourself an Ed Psych unless you are registered as such. For instance Chris Herbert is an Assessor not an Ed Psych. She is able to do a very good job of deciding whether a child would be suitbale for Gifted Programmes or not, but can't look at disabililties, or what an uneven profile might mean, or necessarily deal wth social-emotional or clinical issues.
It is also very reasonable to ask the Psych or Assessor you saw to explain or go over the report with you so that you aren't left feeling annoyed.
If you aren't happy - don't leave it, say so, ask if you need something clarified, or think something doesn't make sense. We charge what is for many a sizable sum of money and this can be a bone of contention for some. I think it worth pointing out that for every hour we spend with you we have spent about as long on analysising the information, chasing up missing things and following up if something needs following up [e.g. APD testing results] so what is for you 4 hours of time, for us is more like 8, making us one of the cheapest, highly qualified professionals around.
Lastly - your school will a have dealt with several Ed Psych's over the years and can often give you some names that they have found useful. All our work comes from word of mouth, so maybe forum members could help each other out by letting others know when they had a good experience with someone.
We have had 3 of our sons tested by Chris Herbert in Auckland and I have recently contacted her about assessing our 4th boy. She is extremely patient and kind and made the process enjoyable for all my children.
I think she did a great job with all of them and picked up a lot of their individual quirks, strengths and weaknesses.
Hi Alison, Thanks for your input! Great to hear from the Professionals. I acknowledge your comments on Assessor versus Psych Ed. I suppose what Chris Herbert gives us parents is something more usable, practical and understandable than what we receive from the Psych Ed, which is all jargon, tests, and traits.
Psych Ed reports are all that gets support and help and results for parents in the real world, but they left me an emotional wreck and unable to understand what to do first and next. I think that was what I needed: "you need to do X, Y and Z to get your boy heading in the right direction."
I did have the follow-up session but I was too overwhelmed with Jargon to fully understand...and with the meter ticking you tend to head to the internet for answers. The scary thing is I'm not stupid.
I guess that's a call for some Psych Eds to bring it down to parenting level without losing the professional edge that gets us school support (many teachers didn't understand the report nor did many take the time to read the 40 odd pages of report).
Psych Eds are invaluable. We couldn't do it without you!
Robyn - how many pages of report? Did you mean to type 40?
Two half-days here, close to $1000 and about 4 pages of reports, and several contradictions in the reports. Plus several printouts that appeared very randomly chosen and, if relevant to my child, not connected to what was in the report, and that were probably taken from the hoagies site.
Both of my children were assessed by the same Psych. Unfortunately she is no longer alive. However, 5 years ago, we paid approx. $600 and received about 14 pages of report including comprehensive charts etc. They were very relevant and extremely useful, although as has been said before, it does depend on the child on the day/s. My son was almost 5, not overly co-operative although friendly. Hence I still don't believe his assessment completely reflects his abilities. However my daughter was just turned 4, and (she was my first) her assessment completely blew us out of the water! We had no real idea of what to expect and when we found out exactly where she was at, we were amazed. I must admit I also cried from relief as we finally understood why she was different!
I often suggest to ppl that one of the main reasons for having an assessment completed is to learn how the child learns etc. My daughter is also dyslexic and even at 4 we knew that she didn't learn the same way as others. This was also reflected in the report and this helped immensely when dealing with the school.
So saying, we have homeschooled now for 4 years....
Rebecca - I'm glad you got some understanding with your daughter.
But boy do I feel ripped off - you got 14 pages?? And with your comment about learning - we sent our younger child because we had concerns about 2e (we already knew the gifted part). The scores in the report reflected our concerns - eg discrepancies and "unusual" patterns but while these discrepancies were acknowledged, there was nothing more than an acknowledgement, no inferences made, suggestions for follow-up etc.
I've since spoken with DH; we are going to "complain". IMO what we got was NOT good enough, not only a waste of our money, but it means that if we want anything useful about our child, we need to put the kid through more testing.
Anon, have you spoken to the assessor about your concerns, sometimes that helps. I had to go back to the person who assessed my son and they were able to explain in more detail why the report read like it did. Most of them are happy to discuss reports. Sometimes more pages can just mean more jargon and less actual helpful comments.
Just to clarify I have the same (actually slightly higher) qualification (B.Psych and NZCER Level A,B,Csp and C) as SPELD assessors and hence the recommendations in my reports can be validly used in applying for things such as reader/writers, and many of my reports have been successful in supporting applications for this. The testing I use is the Full Battery of the Woodcock Johnson 3.1 NU (Cognitive and Achievement), as it is comprehensive and has very high ceilings (allowing child to show their true potential), this is most certainly a diagnostic tool (hence used by SPELD NZ)and for example demonstrates well differences between ability and achievement in indivuidual students. I also always take a big picture approach, every child's journey is different. I am qualified/experienced to liase with parents, RTLB's and schools generally and am always open to clarifying with parents exactly what the test results mean.
It has been my absolute pleasure as Head Assessor for the Gifted Education Centre to have had opportunity to meet 1:1 with over 1700 gifted students and their parents. I do not take this privilege lightly and find it has provided a wealth of insight into the many aspects of giftedness, adding to those of being a parent of gifted. I also of course have a Private Assessment Practice.
Just felt the need to clarify this as it seems to have become a bit foggy on the forum.
It was around 40 pages - test results included plus all this explanation that contradicted itself (having a 2E son). I guess most of the pages are taken up dancing around with words to avoid labels (but I NEED labels so people understand!!).
Chris Herbert turned the light bulb on for me in plain English, without labels. I think it is your big picture approach, Chris, that makes the biggest difference.
There seems to be a big variation and some confusion about what Psych's do and do't do and what you can expect and not expect.
I suspect also that there may well be some variation around the country.
Long and short be clear in what you want, and ask if you don't understand something [ we are generally more than happy to explain something, or why it is written in a particular fashion]. Some folk want labels others don't want to go anywhere near them - so make that clear. Maybe the best thing in deciding is to say what will a label do for my child? If it gets them something [understanding and having their needs met] then that's great, if it doesn't then is it worth having one?
Registered Psych's come with about 6 years of professional education and this is what is used to both give and interpret tests, interviews and questionniare results. We are often asked to see a wide range of kids [e.g. those with mental health issues, behaviour troubles, social relationship issues, learning troubles or with undiagnosed syndromes], not all are gifted or 2E specalists. However they should all be able to write a report that is meaningful for you and meets your needs - if it doesn't SAY SO and keep saying it until you do understand it. PLEASE don't feel dumb - you are no more dumb than anyone else is out of their field [I don't even ask the mechanic what he's doing!].
Lastly you'll being doing the next person a favour by giving feedback, we have tried asking for it but from about 50 requests we got one response. If anyone wants to anonymously give some general feedbcak that I can take to the Ed Psych division of the Psychologists Society please send me your thoughts, a rough description of where you are [e.g. rural north island, urban south island], what type of Psych you saw [are you sure they were an Ed psych and not a clinical Psych [we're actually fairly rare, clinicals are much more commonly in private practice] and when[ year] this was.
Please post to All Poppies Ltd
1 Kimberley Road
Feedback can only be constructive, so please do - but keep it short and to the point if you can!
Alison is correct- it you are not happy with a report it needs to be discussed with the assessor. We expect that. Some assessors have a bachelors degree but an ed psych usually has teaching (or equivalent) experience, a masters and a diploma after that. We are trained in understanding the profile presented, however there are some children who present with complex profiles and are less easy to explain. Clearly our assessments are different (we use the 'gold standard' congitive assessment - the WISC IV) but hopefully we are able to offer a more comprehensive assessment report. Incidentially there is sometimes little difference in the cost between our assessment reports and those of 'level c' assessors other than the GST component. A good psychological assessment report will give you recommendations for the next 2-3 years. Do ensure that your assessor has the experience and skills to offer what you require in the assessment.
For a $1000 i'd expect more from my ed psych colleagues than a four page report! Most of us don't charge as much for this sort os assessment - was it an ed psych that did your assessment or was it a clinical psychologist?
Chris- you may have NZCER certification at level C and be a 'level c' assessor but you are not a psychologist (with a BA degree) . Psychologists undertake masters and a diploma post masters - 1-2 years depeding on the programme. In other countries (e.g Austrialia) you would not be eligible to undertake these specialist assessments, however good you are. I have not seen any of your reports but there are too many 'level c' assessors who do not have the knowledge to correctly interpret assessment information. Caviet emptor!
I'm one 'complaining' about our report, and yes, we saw a registered ed psyc, with a good reputation and all of the qualifications. To say we were surprised to see the contradictions in, and problems with, the report is an understatement.
Alison, I am assuming that when we give feedback to the psyc society we can't give names as then we'd need a formal complaint, and, there would be so many ramifications, eg legal ones? And if we did lodge a formal complaint, what would it be for - not following best practice? There was nothing unethical, it's just *bad* - TBH, the psyc didn't seem to have real indepth understanding at all of giftedness at all, let alone how things like other exceptionalities would manifest themselves. The only unethical aspect was badmouthing another professional.
Reminded me of speaking with a defensive schoolteacher, even telling us at one point when I "argued" about my child that I was wrong because the psyc KNEW my child because the psyc had gifted kids. Hmmm.... maybe I should have taken my child to the best friend's mother for assessment then, she has gifted kids too. And as we know, all gifted kids are identical....
Thank you for the offer of feedback. Unfortunately, it took me two years to discover the helpfulness, or not, of the report. I was in a complete tizz about what's wrong with my boy (who was wanting to die at age 6 and sobbing everyday before school with terror and anxiety). I would have taken anyone's advice and tried everything.
That was a bit nasty of Fiona to attack Chris like that. A degree or two doesn't a great communicator, advocate, support, and insightful person make.
Chris has changed my son's, my family's, and my life around 180 degrees. From my experience she has changed a lot lives, which is far beyond the value of 4+ years institutional learning.
I'm sorry to hear that you had such an unsatisfactory time. The point in any feedback given to me is that in broad terms it can be raised with Ed Psych's in general. Things only improve when something is done about a problem. I really would like to hear back from those of you who have had good bad or otherwsie experinces with Educational Psychologists so that things can improve. One of the good things about the forum is that it can benefit and support all manner of folk who have gifted children.
Clearly your experince wasn't a great one, but only you can decide whether it meet your needs, breached professional or ethical boundaries, [dissing another professional would fall into this category]. Did you contact the Psych in question and tell them you weren't happy and why?
Sometimes this sounds as though it is a waste of time but usually it can help resolve these sort of situations. The Psych Board is the body that accepts complaints, and you could phone them and speak with someone about your experience and seek advice about what to do about it. There is really no point in nursing the level of dissappointment and dissatisfaction you sound as though you feel without addressing it positively.
I would also just like to clarify a couple of things too - parents will choose who they seek advice and assistance from based on others feedback and the issues they face. For many families with gifted children they really just need a 'gate keeping' assessment [meaning does their child meet criteria for inclusion in a gifted learners programme] and venues such as the George Parkyn centre have been doing a good job of doing this. However, this is where it gets big tricker - if there are other issues involved then these things can often be outside the ball park for an assessor. Often assessors will refer these clients on, some don't, and others support some of the numerous 'remedial services' that have sprung up -some of which charge several thousand dollars for services backed only by their own evidence.
In my own pracice I have met kids for the first time as they approach formal exams. These kids have often previously been seen by assessors as youngsters - some have been spot on with their assessment, others have missed a big chunk of the picture and it is such a shame as now the child is often more a teen and more entrenched in feeling disheartened/ disenfranchised/ angry and sometimes just defeated. Some of these kids have been told they are dyslexic when they aren't, others have been told they are gifted but really they have struggled ever since to live up to that label. There is a tendency when you see one particular type of client [e.g. learnign difficulties] to then start seeing this in lots of the children you see thereafter - missing that there are other issues that can show up as 'learning difficultis'
There simply aren't enough Ed Psych's to cover all the need so assessors are a really useful service when accessed for the appropriate purposes. It
is really not a nice place to be to have to explain to a family whose child isn't happy and they have been underinformed or misinformed.
Some of you as customers may have frustrations and I'd like to help sort these out so that service and knowledge improve, but please remember one bad apple doesn't have to spoil the whole batch and there can be different levels of service for different needs.
Alison Kirby - your insights have been so very helpful on here. We are going to 'sit on' our report over the break and decide where to take it from there. We're not happy with it at all (contradictions are an issue) but are also mindful of the implications of raising such an issue. (It's really quite bad - several clearly contradictory statements - and the ed psyc has a good reputation which makes it harder).
Thanks for your insights on here . I know I will be returning to this thread when we mull over what to do and I hope that others can take something from it.
Agree with you - Fiona's comment regarding Chris doesn't reflect well on her and do I detect some defensiveness? My son had Chris assess him and we found her great. The assessment was clear, helpful and he enjoyed his time with her. All good!
Just some clarification - Alison referred to the George Parkyn Centre in one of her posts, but the Centre has not been known by that name for some years now. It changed its name to the Gifted Education Centre back in 2007. :-) The Centre has a mix of 'assessors', some are psychologists and some are assessors.