Psychoeducational, or Learning Disability, testing is often done to determine if you qualify for accommodations in the college setting or for high stakes exams (e.g., GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.). This testing typically needs to be updated every three years, so sometimes it is given to update past testing. In either case, the testing process is essentially the same.
This type of assessment requires a significant amount of time. It includes an intake, or initial interview, a reading screener, ADD/ADHD testing, cognitive ability testing, and measures of your academic achievement. It may also include measures of your memory and emotional functioning. It can take up to 6-8 hours of testing time to complete. This is rarely done in one meeting, but typically can be done in three meetings. The reason it takes so long and is so involved is that a good assessment rules out other possible causes for the presenting difficulties. So, since reading problems can be attributed to attention problems and/or reading issues, it is important to assess to what degree either or both of these may be affecting one's reading.
The testing that is done includes all standard batteries and some supplemental subtests of the measures to get a comprehensive sense of the presenting concern. If you are comparing services or trying to meet the documentation requirements for a specific school or testing agency, be sure to know exactly to what extent the testing will meet those requirements or how many tests will be given. Some administrators use abbreviated tests, or short forms, to speed the process along, but this often will not meet the requirements of where the documentation will go.
When all the testing is done, we meet to discuss the results and a report is made of the various tests and a determination of a diagnosis is made. That meeting typically takes about an hour, but I'll meet as long as is needed to answer any questions you may have. Sometimes, even after all this work, the difficulties don't meet the criteria for significance found in the DSM-5 for a learning disability. There are two basic models that are used to diagnose a learning disability: the discrepancy model, where a big enough difference between your cognitive abilities and your academic achievement constitute a diagnosis; and the average person model, where an average IQ is compared to below average achievement scores to constitute a diagnosis. I am familiar with both models and can discuss either in the report if the circumstances merit it. But I can't give a diagnosis if it isn't there.
The report that is given is typically sufficient for submittal to testing agencies, university disability offices, or other professional entities that require the documentation. It includes all the various scores along with an explanation of what they mean.
The cost for this type of testing is $500, but will be going to $600 in July 2015. The reason for the increase is the increased costs for the testing protocols and scoring. These have nearly doubled in the last few years. I charge a flat fee for a couple of reasons. In the past when I've done this, I've charged by the hour, and people have expressed concern that someone could then take a lot of unnecessary time thus increasing the charge. While I could typically do the entire evaluation in about 10 hours, and my final charge was typically quite close to my initial estimate, I think people were more hesitant than they needed to be.
Here's what you get for your time and money: First, you get an experienced evaluator who has been involved in hundreds of evaluations over many years. Second, I am happy to show you my costs for the testing and professional expenses (licensure, insurance, and other business costs), but suffice it to say that roughly 30% of my fees go to these types of concerns. The test materials alone run about $50 for each evaluation. So if you figure $200 is just for stuff to keep the business running, $300-400 divided by about 10-12 hours of work, from a licensed professional, I'm only charging about $25-40 an hour for the work of a licensed psychologist, which can run upwards of $80-125 an hour.
ADD/ADHD testing is given, in concert with physician's visit, to establish a diagnosis, and the impacts of, difficulty maintaining focused attention. Often people will report the ability to accomplish tasks, but that they take more time to do it, find themselves distracted or side-tracked, and may experience times where they start many projects, but seemingly complete few. This assessment typically involves an intake meeting, the filling out of two self-report measures, the administration of an objective computer-based measure, and a reading measure. After the testing, I'll score the tests and write the report. We'll also meet to discuss the results and their meaning. You'll be given three copies of the report. It can be used for submittal to testing agencies, university disability offices, or other professional entities that require the documentation. It includes all the various scores along with an explanation of what they mean. This is something most agencies, especially groups like ACT, GRE, LSAT, etc., are interested in and often require. This testing takes about 2 hours in the office and about 2 hours to score the tests and write the reports. For this testing, I charge a flat rate of $150, with the exception being that if emotional concerns need to be accounted for I will charge an additional $50.
Some testing is also provided for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and those assessments are defined by VR.