Psychological Testing
Psychological Services of Naperville offers comprehensive academic, cognitive and psychological testing for children, adolescents and adults.  Valuable information gained from these evaluations can often clarify a specific diagnosis and aid in determining the best course of action for developing new strategies to manage emotional and/or academic difficulties.

The Testing Process

Although assessments are tailored to each specific individual based on the questions and concerns being addressed, evaluations generally include the following elements:

Cognitive Testing

Cognitive testing assesses an individual’s intellectual strengths and weaknesses related to verbal comprehension, nonverbal abilities, memory, attention and processing speed.  This information provides the foundation for understanding other areas of functioning, including academic, attention and emotional.

Academic / Psychoeducational Testing

These evaluations can be useful in providing academic/career direction based on an individual’s learning style and cognitive strengths and weaknesses.  Psychoeducational assessments can also determine whether a learning disability in a specific area exists that might merit accommodations, special education or 504 services.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD) Testing

Evaluations aimed at determining whether a possible diagnosis of ADHD/ADD exists, assess areas including attention, concentration and impulsivity. It is important to remember that there is no definitive test to diagnose ADHD.   Additionally, a variety of other disorders and conditions, including depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, slow processing speed and stress, amongst others, can have a negative impact on an individual's  attention and concentration and need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of ADHD is given.

Symptoms related to ADD/ADHD include inattentiveness, distractibility, impulsivity and in some cases, hyperactivity

In children, you may notice the following behaviors:

  • Difficulty sustaining attention
  • Careless mistakes and failure to pay close attention to details
  • Difficulty organizing tasks or school assignments
  • Avoidance of tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Difficulty following through with instructions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Appearing not to listen

If symptoms associated with hyperactivity are present, you may notice the following behaviors:

  • Excessive restlessness
  • A tendency to fidget with hands or feet or squirm in the chair
  • Difficulty remaining seated when expected
  • Excessive running or climbing
  • Difficulty waiting one's turn
  • A tendency to interrupt others
  • Excessive talking

In adolescents, you may notice some of the following behaviors:

  • Poor organization
  • Forgetfulness
  • Excessive daydreaming
  • Poor follow-through on tasks
  • Needing excessive directions
  • Engaging in risky behavior

In adults, you may notice some of the following behaviors:

  • Underachievement in work and/or academic settings
  • Difficulty with organization
  • Chronic procrastination
  • Difficulty getting started on tasks
  • Easily distracted
  • Impatience, low tolerance for frustration
  • Impulsivity, either verbally or in action
  • Sense of insecurity; chronic problems with self-esteem
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Addictive behavior
  • Need for highly stimulating behavior
  • Tendency to blurt out whatever comes to mind, often interrupting others

Psychological / Emotional Testing

A comprehensive evaluation of personality features and current emotional and behavioral concerns can often provide a more in-depth understanding of underlying emotions to guide you in finding the best solutions to your current struggles.  In the case of children, emotional testing can help parents better understand their child’s inner functioning, including feelings of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem as well as reveal information about a child’s ability to problem-solve and cope with stress.  Oftentimes they can also provide valuable information about the underlying feelings and emotional struggles that may be causing certain behaviors (e.g., poor school performance, self-harm, acting out or noncompliance).

Psychological assessments can often include screening of intellectual and academic abilities, in addition to standardized questionnaires and tests to clarify diagnoses and personality features.  Some of the procedures involved in evaluations of individuals experiencing emotional and/or behavioral challenges include a clinical interview (and parent interview in the case of a child), behavior checklists, self-report (and parent-report) measures of personality and behavior and projective measures (e.g., drawings, sentence completion, story telling and inkblots). 

Cognitive Disorders related to Age and/or Medical Conditions

Sometimes changes occur in a person’s thinking and daily functioning in relation to their age, the onset of dementia, and/or as a result of a medical condition. Some of these changes may be temporary and reversible, but others are more permanent and related to changes in the brain. Sometimes these changes appear suddenly and other times you may notice a gradual onset. A physician may recommend an evaluation of your or your loved one’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioral functioning as part of diagnosing and treating particular disorders. This evaluation may include an assessment of independent living skills and safety as well. If you notice any of the following changes in yourself or a loved one, it is important to contact a physician.

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty communicating
  • Inability to learn or remember new information
  • Difficulty with planning and organizing
  • Difficulty with coordination and motor functions
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to reason
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations

Academic testing evaluates an individual’s skills in broad areas of learning such as mathematics, reading speed and comprehension and written expression.  In combination with cognitive testing, this information can be used to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual’s intellectual abilities, learning styles and academic achievement.  As needed, tests that assess more specific areas of difficulty are given, which can provide information regarding academic strengths and challenges as well as possible learning disabilities in specific areas (e.g., Dyslexia, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Reading, Writing and Math Disorders).
  • A clinical interview
  • Interviews with other important members in the individual/child's life as needed - i.e. parents, teachers, therapists, psychiatrists, spouses.
  • Review of developmental, medical, behavioral and family history.
  • Testing in areas such as memory, attention, cognitive abilities, academic skills/achievement and emotional/behavioral functioning.
  • A comprehensive report that addresses the referral question, identifies stregnths and weaknesses, provides diagnoses and offers recommendations.
  • Feedback session in which a Licensed Psychologist will explain the findings.

Areas of Assessment
Psychological Services of Naperville