The questions about
how psychological assessments at the BGCenter are different
from an earlier round of your child's testing in another place, or
how to convince your school district
to send your kid to another state for a comprehensive evaluation, or
to convince insurance to pre-approve services of the out-of-network
these questions are nearly every day occurrence at the BGCenter.
Here are our typical responses for such questions that may be
applied to your own case if necessary.
From the Editor
school has its own list of professionals approved for providing an independent
evaluation. Are these specialists appropriate for an initial assessment
of my internationally adopted child?
A. Request the school to
ask their professionals:
- Do they have
clinical experience in assessing adopted children from foreign institutions
- Do they know
the native language and culture of the child and can they read and
interpret the original medical documentation?
- Are they sufficiently familiar
with the educational system in the orphanages of the native country
to assess your child's educational history before adoption?
- Did they work with children who
experience abrupt first language loss? Do they know how to assess
the damage done to their psychological functioning by the rapid first
- Are they familiar with the Fetal
Alcohol Syndrome and proficient in neuropsychological assessment of
this medical condition, characteristic for a significant number of
children adopted from Eastern Europe?
- Are they comfortable with diagnosing
and developing remedial programs for typical emotional and behavioral
issues of international adoptees such as Attachment Disorder, PTSD,
developmental childhood trauma, identity trauma, post-institutional
behavior syndrome and others?
- Are they experienced in assessing
specific cognitive issues of adoptees like Cumulative Cognitive Deficit,
often found in internationally adopted children?
Please ask for a simple "yes"/"no"
answer, and if your selected professional scores better than professionals
from the approved list, you have a good reason and the right to request
an independent evaluator of your choice. See a
Template of a Letter with such request.
How is a combined developmental, neuropsychological and educational
assessment with Dr. Gindis better than the one my son had with Dr. X
two years ago?
A. Having already gone through
the assessment experience once, you can now compare theoretical and
clinical background of the doctors and see which approach appears more
congruent with your own observations of the child. We can't judge your
earlier experience, but that's what we do at the BGCenter:
- The child has to be assessed
with the developmental perspective in mind - everything
what happened to him before affects his development and should be
considered in the interpretation of his test data. That's why we always
request all available clinical and historic data for the analysis:
we want to understand the circumstances of the child's entire life,
not just the latest events.
- The loss of one native language
and the acquisition of another native language is not just a fact
of educational history; it's a fact of tremendous psychological
and physiological importance that can throw the entire child's development
off the track. Our assessments typically devote a lot of attention
to detailed description of all aspects of language development of
- Learning and socializing in school
setting is the "leading activity" for the child ages 5 to
18. The success or failure in the leading activity has considerable
psychological impact on the entire cognitive, emotional and behavioral
domains of the child. The interpretation of the test data in our
clinical reports always focuses on schooling as the main child's activity.
- Social factors (the circumstances
of the child's institutionalization) are very important, but physiology,
hereditary factors and an early neurological damage may play the dominant
role. Thus, the correct leading medical diagnosis has to be
established and addressed first as the basis for any further remedial
work with the child.
- The structural approach to remediation
is important: a large number of remedial interventions does not define
success, but the intensity and timeliness of the right intervention
do make a difference. Our assessments are detailed and practical:
a balanced plan for remediation of the child is structured (what is
to be done first and what will be after that,
) and doable within
school and family environment.
- The specific evaluator's sensitivity
to minor details and indirect signs present in the observed child's
behavior (the intuition of a person conducting the tests) are
as important as any other standardized test and measure. Our reports
typically give a detailed account of various observations of the child
during the tests.
- We believe that good
understanding of the testing process and its goals and outcomes by
the family is important for the overall child's well-being, as
it gives energy and stamina to the family to follow up with the implementation
of the recommended remediation. At the BGCenter we always hold an
extensive consultation of the family, when Dr. Gindis explains all
the details of the proposed remedial plan and answers the questions
about the test results.