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What is Involved in Getting an Evaluation for Learning Disabilities and ADHD? (Part 3 of 3)

February 4, 2019 - Conclusion of interview with Cindy Goldrich, EdM, ADHD-CCSP. Reprinted with permission from PTS coaching newsletter. 


OK, I understand how assessment provides relevant information and recommendations for interventions to help a student succeed. But what if a child is having significant emotional or behavioral problems related to their area of difficulty?


Individuals experiencing academic difficulty may also struggle with their emotions. For example, many students with learning disabilities experience anxious feelings. Academic difficulties can also be manifested through behavioral problems in some children. Some clinicians also provide individual therapy to help mitigate any related emotional or behavioral challenges.


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If I am bringing my child in for an evaluation, do you have any suggestions on how to best prepare him or her for what he or she will experience? And if my child is on medication, should he or she take as usual or skip for the evaluation?


It is important that a child is well-rested and has had proper nutrition before evaluation sessions. Any medications that the child is taking needs to be discussed at the initial interview session between the parent/guardian and the clinician. Typically, children adhere to their medication protocols. If a child is on ADHD medication, that medication may be postponed for subsequent sessions if a comparison of performance on/off medication is part of the diagnostic question. Any concerns regarding the overall evaluation process can be discussed at the initial interview session.


Rather than telling a child that he or she will be evaluated or is “going for tests,” it is helpful when parents explain to their child that he or she will be doing lots of activities during his or her visits. Some of the activities will be familiar, and others may be new. Many of the activities will be easy, yet some will be harder. Breaks in the sessions are taken as needed. Typically, children find many parts of the sessions to be enjoyable.


Cynthia Johnson, PhD, NCSP is a Licensed Psychologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating children and adolescents with learning disabilities, gifted/2e, complex attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injury, intellectual disability, and related emotional, social and behavioral difficulties. StepStone Psychological Assessment and Therapeutic Services works extensively with families and schools to support children and adolescents, and offers therapeutic services to help students utilize their strengths and successfully negotiate any areas of difficulty.

Cindy Goldrich, Ed.M., ADHD-CCSP, is a mental health counselor, certified ADHD Clinical Service Provider, parent coach and teacher trainer. As an ADHD Specialist, she supports parents, educators, and other professionals to mitigate the impact of ADHD & Executive Functioning on learning, motivation, and behavior.  www.PTScoaching.com.  [email protected]



Cynthia Johnson PhD, NCSP is the owner of StepStone Psychological Assessment and Therapeutic Services in Boulder, CO. [email protected] She is available for consultation.

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