Commonly Asked Questions
What types of evaluations do you offer, and how can they help?
We offer a wide range of assessments, designed to meet the individual needs of children and adults. They include academic, psychological, neuropsychological and developmental assessments for ages 18 months through adulthood. These tests are non-invasive in nature and are a combination of interview, questionnaire, and behavioral measures. The testing process provides valuable information about an individuals’ cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and under what conditions they can thrive. Assessments are often a vital component of treatment and educational planning. Families and individuals leave the testing experience with questions answered about possible diagnoses, and a better understanding of how to help their child or themselves.
In case you are still wondering what an assessment can offer you or your child, let us walk you through some common reasons people seek evaluation services. In the preschool years, parents come because they have concerns about their child's social or emotional development. Perhaps they have noticed differences between their child and peers, or gotten worrisome feedback about their child not meeting verbal milestones or displaying lack of social connectedness. Parents may wonder if Autism is affecting their child. Early identification of these diagnoses is important so early intervention can be started, which has been shown to significantly improve developmental outcomes for children. At the time of school entry, we help parents make the decision about school readiness based on their child's social, academic development. Another common scenario is when children start to struggle in school as the coursework gets harder, and parents and teachers feels they aren't learning at the rate they would expect for the child. In this case, evaluation for learning disabilities, including dyslexia, can provide the information teachers and parents need to best tailor the child's educational experience so they can thrive. Often, it is necessary to also rule out if ADHD or mood disorders (such as anxiety or depression) are present, as they can also account for academic struggle. Questions about possible giftedness are also a common reason for referral. We also help homeschool parents know if their children are meeting grade level expectations in their academics. For adolescents and young adults with a pre-existing diagnosis (e.g., Autism, ADHD, Learning Disability), sometimes an evaluation is needed when applying for accommodations on standardized exams (e.g., SAT, ACT, MCAT, LSAT, etc.), or academic supports at the college level. We have also worked with young adults who always suspected an ADHD or Autism diagnosis, and are seeking the evaluation now to get answers to their unanswered questions. Regardless of the reason for the testing, all of our evaluations culminate in a feedback session with our psychologist where you can ask questions, and a comprehensive report that clearly explains all results. Individually tailored recommendations are also provided so that the client leaves the assessment experience with a clear understanding of how to best proceed to ensure that they thrive.
Who will do the evaluation?
At Strong Foundations, all of our evaluations are only completed by a licensed and highly experienced psychologist. Dr. Tanya Banda has been providing evaluations for over 10 years. She has experience working with individuals as young at as 18 months old, through the young adult age. More information can be found about Dr. Banda in her bio on this website.
Will the results of the evaluation be shared?
By going privately through our practice, you are in control of who sees your results. Given the value of the information you will gain, families and individuals often ask that we communicate with other care providers (such a therapist or physician), schools and employers to explain the results and to inform what types of accommodations would be useful to the individual. Your preferences for this can be discussed during the feedback session.
What safety precautions are you taking during Covid?
Masks are worn by the examiner and patients during testing. Social distancing is also kept whenever possible. Our office is operating at reduced capacity to allow for more space, and doors are left open to improve air circulation. During testing, there is a plexiglass divider. All materials and surfaces are sanitized between each patient.
What is the process like and how long does it take?
Evaluations are typically completed over three to four appointments. The first appointment, which is done virtually, is an interview with parents to gather a full history and understanding of the concerns. The second appointment (and sometimes third) is in person testing with the child and takes approximately three hours. Breaks are provided as needed. The final appointment, which is done virtually, is a feedback session in which results are explained, questions are answered, and recommendations are made. Reports are given to families in a timely manner after the last appointment.
How much does an evaluation cost?
Our testing is likely covered by your insurance. We offer in-network testing for UPMC costumers and will submit your claim for you. For other insurances, we do not submit claims directly to your insurance because we are considered out-of-network providers for this service (therapy services are in-network). For non-UPMC customers, we recommend calling the number on the back of your insurance card to inquire about your Out-of-Network benefits to find out how your insurance will reimburse you for the cost of testing.
We have chosen to be out of network for many insurances (in-network for UPMC) for a few important reasons. By being out-of-network providers, we have the freedom to conduct the testing we think is most clinically appropriate, as opposed to being restricted by what insurance companies deem necessary. This allows us to provide the most comprehensive and tailored evaluations possible. Second, this method also allows us to only have licensed and experienced assessors, as opposed to psychologists in various parts of their training. Finally, we can schedule your assessment quickly and provide you with a completed report in a timely manner.
As a result of going through out-of-network benefits, the testing process involves paying us directly for the services, and submitting the claim to your insurance for reimbursement. We will provide you with documentation you will need to submit that claim.
The out of pocket cost for evaluations depends on the type of testing that is needed. The cost for the intake session is $175. After completing this diagnostic and developmental interview, our psychologist will outline the testing she would recommend. The price range is between $500-2,000. An ADHD evaluation, for instance, is $1250. We are happy to provide more information on pricing based on your needs. Again, much of this out of pocket cost will likely be covered by your insurance.