How Psychological Evaluations Work
A psychological evaluation involves gathering information about the child’s behavior and abilities, from parent report, observations, and their performance on age-appropriate assessments. Though the type of information gathered varies according to the purpose of the evaluation, this typically involves an interview with the parent about the child’s background and functioning, rating scales completed by the parent about their typical behavior at home, a developmental assessment which looks at their receptive and expressive communication, cognitive development, and fine and gross motor skills, and a play-based assessment to evaluate social-communication skills. These assessments use books, toys and puzzles to see how the child plays and what they are capable of doing. I might do an observation with them at their school or daycare, if it would be helpful for me to see how they interact with other kids. By using standardized assessments, I can compare a child’s performance to the way other children the same age typically do to see if there are any areas of concern.
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For many children, evaluations can be conducted online. Signs of autism and developmental delays can be evaluated through parent interviews, detailed checklists, and observations through video or telehealth. Dr. Myszak has more than 10 years of experience working with young children, and she is comfortable working with families online to help them identify areas of concern and recommended next steps.
COVID-19 has significantly changed the way that people interact with one another, and how safe people feel in public settings. Dr. Myszak recognizes that families may not want to bring their young children to unfamiliar settings right now, but she does not want this to prevent families from receiving needed care for their loved ones. Children who are showing early signs of autism and children who have already been identified with autism but are needing reevaluations to continue therapeutic services cannot wait months or years for help.
Online evaluations work for many children, but for some families, testing may not be necessary or recommended at this time. For this reason, consultation appointments are an opportunity for a family to share information, discuss concerns, and form a plan with Dr. Myszak which may or may not include testing.
Dr. Myszak is currently able to work with families who reside in Illinois, Tennessee, and internationally.