The Ins and Outs of A Psychological Testhttps://mythrivecollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/pexels-startup-stock-photos-212286-scaled.jpg25601707Dr. TerryDr. Terryhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/f246e1e2a880d1fa66aa616d7aec1fc4?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Many people wonder if a psychological test could help them answer questions about themselves or their child. They may be looking for an accurate ADHD or autism diagnosis. Or they may be concerned about a learning disability but aren’t even sure where to start. They’ve heard about psychological tests but these sound intimidating. Plus, they aren’t sure what the process would be like. It can, indeed, 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 make sure you understand your rights and options. Thus, we are proud 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, 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. You or your child may be having difficulties in one or more of these areas and you’ve exhausted other strategies. This is when our psychologists can provide you new insights or strategies to help. Education and medical providers can also use testing results 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?” We also 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). This may often lead to a diagnosis. However, our 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 in identifying testing or work accommodations. It can also help in providing insight into long standing patterns of behaviors and relationships.
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. This is followed by a feedback session to discuss the report and recommendations. We are typically able to complete the testing process in 3-6 weeks from start to finish. However, an expedited testing service is also 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. It aims to understand the underlying processes that may be affecting one’s cognitive, academic, or social/emotional functioning. For instance, it may be recommended for genetic disorders or physical trauma, like a concussion or brain injury.
Testing at School
Schools complete psychological (and other types of) testing to determine if a child is eligible for school-based special education services. They complete the evaluation to know if the educational disability adversely affects the child’s education. Schools, however, do not provide diagnoses. Their services can include academic instruction, social work/counseling, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. School-based special education services can also provide other accommodations and modifications. Children are eligible to be evaluated for this through their home district. They can start at the age of 3, regardless of whether they have attended school 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. For instance, a school in the state of Illinois has 60 days to complete the testing once a parent have given consent for it.
Dr. Menon and Dr. Terry of Thrive Collective are both dually credentialed school and clinical psychologists with years of experience working in schools. Hence, they are well-prepared to collaborate with families and school teams to help promote the success of your child. They are also registered on the Illinois State Board of Education independent evaluators registry and can provide independent evaluations for special education teams. You can request in writing a special education evaluation for your child and his/her school will walk you through the process. If you have other questions about your child’s rights regarding this matter, more information can be found here.
Paying for Testing
You or an in-network psychologist or neuropsychologist who completed the testing needs to request pre-authorization if your insurance benefits will be used. Your insurance company will then decide which tests they are willing to pay. They will also determine how much testing time they will allow based on what they consider as “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.
The psychologists at Thrive Collective are considered out-of-network providers. With the consent of the individual/family, an out-of-network psychologist or neuropsychologist determines the tests to be administered based on the question(s) they are hoping to answer. Insurance companies vary greatly on how much out-of-network testing costs they will cover. It usually depends on your plan and whether you have met your deductible for the year. Your insurance company may also 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 license 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
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 and walk you through your options with us, or we can refer you to other providers. Schedule a free consultation call here to chat with one of our psychologists.