The Alcott Center Testing

Cognitive and Achievement Testing at The Alcott Center

Testing at The Alcott Center for Cognitive Enhancement consists of a Comprehensive Assessment with a follow-up consultation and program recommendation. The assessment examines your child's underlying cognitive and processing skills, and is designed to ensure that the program plan we recommend is custom tailored to meet the unique needs of YOUR child.

Our Comprehensive Assessment includes standardized cognitive and achievement testing. Standardized tests can provide more information as to the possible causes of academic struggles, such as a potential Auditory Processing Disorder, or a Working Memory problem.

We charge a flat fee for our Comprehensive Assessment which includes testing with your child, scoring and analysis of results, review of any outside evaluations or information you provide, full report, post-testing consultation, and program recommendation. If your child has recently been evaluated by another professional, consultations are available to review the history, records, prior assessments, family concerns, etc. and to make a recommendation for treatment options. An hourly fee may be charged for consultations where a Comprehensive Assessment is not performed. Please call our Program Manager for more information on our Assessment and consultation rates.

What you can expect at testing

The Comprehensive Assessment lasts approximately two hours. It can be conducted either at our Center in Richland, or at the BRAINS facility in Grand Rapids.

The parent or caregiver will be asked to complete a series of forms and questionnaires while the child is being tested. These include general information forms, as well as a historical questionnaire and a learning and behavior rating questionnaire. These questionnaires are part of the complete testing profile, and it is important to answer the questions as fully and as honestly as possible so that we may get a clear determination of your child's core needs. A parent or caregiver's perspective is a critical piece in the testing process.

Any additional information you would like to bring, such as your child's IEP, most current school or outside evaluation, is encouraged.

We have a series of testing tools that we may use depending on the child's age, parental concerns, and any existing conditions or diagnoses. These include:

  • Gibson Cognitive Test Battery (GCTB): a series of tests that determine cognitive abilities including processing speed, working memory, visual processing, word attack, auditory analysis, logic and reasoning, and visual selective attention.
  • SCAN-C or SCAN-A: standardized tests for auditory processing disorders (C = for children, A = for adolescents/adults)
  • CTOPP: Comprehensive Tests of Phonological Processing are standardized tests for deficits in phonological processing skills necessary for mastery of written language, including phonological awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming. Composite scores are calculated based on the results of several different subtests.
  • WRMT: Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests are a comprehensive battery of standardized tests measuring several important aspects of reading ability, including visual-auditory learning, letter and word identification, word attack, and word and passage comprehension. Reading readiness, basic skills and reading comprehension scores are calculated based on the results of several different subtests.
  • PPVT-3: Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, measures receptive vocabulary and verbal ability.
  • LAC-3: Lindamood Auditory Conceptualization Test directly tests phonemic awareness. This is generally used for younger or lower-functioning children where the CTOPP and WRMT are not appropriate.
  • Dunn Sensory Profile: measures a child's responses to everyday sensory processing, modulation, and behavioral/emotional events. The Profile is completed by the parent or caregiver and includes a series of questions with responses given on a 1-5 scale.
  • Alternative testing may be performed in situations where the above tests are not appropriate due to age, prior diagnosis or other concerns. Our Program Director will be able to determine your child's testing needs based on information you provide during your initial scheduling phone call. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

At little bit more about testing

Your child will sit at a table across from the test administrator, and will be asked to respond to a series of questions. Depending on the test being administered, he or she may be asked to wear headphones, look at pictures, remember and repeat information from a story, repeat a sequence of information, or other tasks. Responses will be either verbal or written, depending on the test being administered.

In the event that your child is unable to complete a particular test due to age or disability, alternative testing will be attempted in order to determine the underlying need. For example, if a child is unable to wear headphones for the auditory assessment, we can use another technique to determine the depth of phonological processing.

We prefer that the parent or caregiver not remain in the room when testing is being administered because we have found that it can be distracting for the child, or that the parent/caregiver feels compelled to "help" the child or "explain" a child's answers, all of which can sway, or at worst invalidate, the results. We have an observation window between the waiting area and our therapy/testing room so you can view your child during testing.

It is important to remember that testing and therapy have two very different objectives. During testing, we are probing for a ceiling, or limit, on a child's ability in specific areas. For example, a child might have to respond incorrectly to three questions in a row before the examiner stops asking questions and moves on to the next test. Testing must be conducted in a controlled environment, with no "coaching" beyond the practice items from the test administrator, in order to ensure accurate, valid results. We can't tell a child, for example, if the response is correct or not. We also cannot guide the child towards the correct response. While this may feel cold and impersonal, it is critical that the child respond to all test questions from their own knowledge and skill base so that we can determine the areas of need. Therapy, on the other hand, is a very encouraging and fun environment! Children receive support, coaching, tips and rewards for achievement, no matter how small. Every step forward is celebrated as a success, and every struggle is one that the therapist and child work through together. Our therapy philosophy is to build strengths and have the child experience success!

What to expect at the results consultation

After the testing is complete and the results evaluated, we will call you to schedule a follow-up consultation. This may be a phone or in-person consultation, depending on circumstances.

At the consultation we will discuss the results of your child's Comprehensive Assessment and provide you with program recommendations, if any. You will receive a full copy of the results report, a written proposal for any recommended programming, and information on each of the recommended programs. A list of parent and professional references is available upon request. We will also send a copy of the report to your child's physician, specialist, school or other professional after the consultation is complete, at your request and authorization.

One final note

We welcome your questions at any time! We recognize that your concern for your child extends to ensuring that he or she gets the best possible care, and it is our goal to exceed your expectations. We look forward to having the opportunity to help your child meet his or her goals and promote both academic and personal success!

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