Providing a Personal History
There are many factors that can influence a child's success in school. It is important to have a thorough social, developmental and educational history to see if the child has displayed delays in various areas.
Review of Previous Interventions and Evaluations
If the child has been evaluated or interventions have been tried, it is important to have a complete accounting in the current report. It is necessary to compare testing results of the past to the present to determine key areas of change, both progression and digression. Previous interventions should also be noted to build on the the positive elements and avoid negative elements.
The psychological assessment test for intelligence quotient (IQ) is usually one of the Wechsler tests but others can be used if required. These tests are made up of verbal and visual perceptual components and encompass processing speed, working memory, and the ability to attend to information. These tests are designed to be bias free and examine innate intelligence. They do not require reading and therefore even a child who is unable to read can still take these tests.
The educational battery consists of several tests and examines different areas of school learning. Specific tests given are dependent upon the child’s age, educational level in school, and the perceived problem. Grade equivalent scores are usually reported along with standard scores and percentiles. Some of the educational tests are timed to compare how a client performs with and without time pressure.
Neuropsychology is the science of brain-behavior and understanding how brain processes affect one's ability to function at home, work, and school. Neuropsychological evaluations can pinpoint specific weaknesses affecting a client’s ability to function, so that an effective remedial program can be designed specifically for an individual. One of the most important benefits of such examinations is to document cognitive strengths that can be used to compensate for areas of weakness.
The Final Report: Test Results and Recommendations
Finally, what helps Dr. Rappaport connect so well with her clients is her own history of dyslexia. Having spent many years as a child struggling with feelings of humiliation and inadequacy in the classroom, she has a deep understanding of the psychosocial effects as well as the learning challenges that her clients live with. This background and personal understanding goes beyond what can be taught in a classroom, giving her a special sensitivity to break through barriers when children or adults are uncomfortable or embarrassed. She is often able to connect to her patients where others can not.
After completing the final report, there are two conferences: one for the parents only, reviewing the results and recommendations and addressing any questions and concerns that parents may have. Dr. Rappaport thoroughly reviews the recommended remediations and course of action. A second conference is specifically for the child where Dr. Rappaport goes over the results and recommendations in detail and explains the child’s strengths and weaknesses (without revealing IQ scores or any specific numbers to the child). A direct explanation is important. The child’s understanding of the diagnoses and recommendations is often key for their buy-in, motivating them to put in the hard work to help their progress.