The Ins and Outs of A Psychological Test

The Ins and Outs of A Psychological Test

The Ins and Outs of A Psychological Test 2560 1707 Dr. Terry

Many people wonder if a psychological test could help them answer questions about themselves or their child. You may be looking for an accurate ADHD or autism diagnosis. Or maybe you’re concerned about a learning disability but aren’t even sure where to start? You’ve heard about psychological tests but they sound intimidating and you aren’t sure what the process would be like. It can be overwhelming to wade through the options and terms related to psychological testing.

At Thrive Collective, we are passionate about providing high quality testing services. We are passionate about making sure you understand your rights and options. And we’re proud to be able to offer these services in underserved and rural areas through telehealth in 20 states and in our office in Ottawa, IL. Below is information about the reasons people seek testing, the different kinds of psychological testing, and ways of paying for that testing. If you get to the end and still have questions or want to speak directly with us about our testing services, please reach out to schedule a free consultation. 

In this post, we’ll use the terms “psychological testing” and “psychological evaluation” to refer to all the activities and tools a professional might use to help answer you questions or find a diagnosis.

Why Do Psychological Testing?

Psychological testing is useful to answer a variety of questions about learning, behavior, emotions, and social relationships. When you or your child is having difficulties in one or more of these areas and you’ve exhausted other strategies, our psychologists can provide you new insights or strategies to help. Testing results can also be used by education and medical providers to determine appropriate goals or treatments. At Thrive Collective, we complete testing for narrow questions, like, “I’m having trouble focusing. Do I have ADHD?” Additionally, we provide comprehensive testing for more broad questions, such as “My child is struggling at home and at school and we can’t figure out how to help.” Through the intake process, we work together to determine which questions need to be answered and the tools we will use to do that.

Testing by a Clinical Psychologist

At Thrive Collective, we complete psychological testing to help determine a person’s strengths and weaknesses (cognitive, academic, behavioral, emotional, and social). Sometimes this may lead to a diagnosis, but the primary purpose is to empower the client and/or family with information and to guide goals for clinical therapy. For school-aged children, the results of testing can be shared with their school and may be used to develop their IEP services and goals. For college students and adults, testing can be useful for identifying testing or work accommodations or for providing insight into long standing patterns of behaviors and relationships. 

At Thrive Collective, our clinical psychologists follow a testing process that includes a comprehensive interview, direct testing and observations, and questionnaires. Once the testing is complete, we prepare a detailed report with personalized recommendations and hold a feedback session to discuss the report and recommendations. For clients interested in our testing services, we are typically able to complete the testing process in 3-6 weeks from start to finish, with expedited testing services available on a limited basis.

Testing by a Neuropsychologist

Neuropsychological testing is similar to the testing completed by a clinical psychologist, but may include additional tests related to specific medical diagnoses or tests aimed at understanding the underlying processes that may be affecting one’s cognitive, academic, or social/emotional functioning. For example, this type of testing may be recommended if there are genetic disorders or physical trauma, like a concussion or brain injury.

Testing at School

Schools complete psychological (and other types of) testing for the purpose of determining if a child is eligible for school-based special education services. They complete the evaluation to determine if a child has an educational disability that adversely affects their education. Schools do not provide diagnoses. School-based special education services can include academic instruction, social work/counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy, as well as other accommodations and modifications. Children are eligible to be evaluated for special education services through their home district starting at the age of 3, regardless of whether they have attended school yet or not.

As part of a school-based evaluation, a school psychologist may complete testing and/or review records of testing and school performance, but school-based evaluations tend to have a more narrow scope. Parents have the right to request an evaluation, but ultimately, the school team decides if they will evaluate and which tests they would like to complete. In the state of Illinois, when a school is completing an evaluation, they have 60 days to complete the testing once you have given consent for testing. 

Because our psychologists are both dually credentialed school and clinical psychologists with years of experience working in schools, they are well-prepared to collaborate with families and school teams to help promote the success of your child. Dr. Menon and Dr. Terry are also registered on the Illinois State Board of Education independent evaluators registry and can provide independent evaluations for special education teams. If you would like your child to be evaluated by their school, you can request a special education evaluation in writing and the school will walk you through the process. If you have other questions about your child’s rights as related to special education services, more information can be found here

Paying for Testing

In-Network

If testing is completed by an in-network psychologist or neuropsychologist using your insurance benefits, you or the psychologist will need to request pre-authorization for the testing. Your insurance company will then decide which tests they are willing to pay for and how much testing time they will allow based on what they determine to be “medically necessary.” Typically insurance companies will not pay for academic testing because they don’t see it as medically necessary. However, we always encourage you to reach out to your insurance company for more specific details on their coverage.

Out-of-Network

The psychologists at Thrive Collective are considered out-of-network providers. If the testing is completed by an out-of-network psychologist or neuropsychologist, the tests administered are determined by the psychologist with the consent of the individual/family based on the question(s) we are hoping to answer. Insurance companies vary greatly on how much   out-of-network testing costs they will cover, depending on your plan and whether you have met your deductible for the year. Your insurance company may specify which testing codes they are willing to reimburse. We are happy to provide a superbill that specifies the codes that match the types of testing we do to meet your needs. A superbill is a statement that summarizes the psychologist’s licence and tax ID, the dates and CPT procedure codes of the testing, and any diagnosis that was given as a result of the testing.

How to check your Out-of-Network Benefits (for psychological testing or therapy)

Before you call, have

  • 15-30 minutes of available time
  • Insurance card
  • Any diagnoses that have already been given to you/your child
  • A way to take notes

During the call, request the following information:

  • Do I have out-of-network coverage?
  • Are mental health/behavioral health benefits included in that coverage?
  • Is prior authorization and/or a physician referral required to use those benefits?
  • Do I have an out-of-network deductible? If so, how much of the deductible has been met?
  • Do they have specific testing CPT codes that they will cover? If so, what percentage do they cover?

Still feel confused or overwhelmed by the process? We’ll be happy to talk by phone to help walk you through your options with us or to refer you to other providers. Schedule a free consultation call here to chat with one of our psychologists.