Individualized Evaluations for Learning & Behavior
Individualized evaluations of learning and behavior are our specialty. Wherever your child is in his/her journey of learning and personal growth, an evaluation at Individual Matters will deliver unique perspectives, diagnostic clarification, and treatment planning recommendations to help you support their success.
With nearly two decades’ experience in comprehensive evaluation, our approach is a bit different than most clinical or medical practices. While many clinicians and psychologists may dabble in evaluations or assess a wide range of developmental or mental health concerns, at Individual Matters, comprehensive learning and behavior evaluations are our forte.
Our approach is rooted in the belief that every person is as unique as their fingerprints – with their own distinctive styles of learning and perceiving – and that every individualmatters. We all have a gift to share with the world, and the goal at Individual Matters is to find and celebrate this potential in each of our clients. Therefore, our evaluations go well beyond the fundamentals that should embody any quality diagnostic evaluation – and highlight the many, wonderful, one-of-a-kind gifts that make our clients unique.
We are also committed to providing an inviting, non-clinical experience for children and their families. Our focus is to create a supportive environment where children can express themselves comfortably. Our philosophy is that every child is as unique as their fingerprints, and we utilize gold standard measures to understand each child’s unique strengths and challenges.
At Individual Matters, every child matters, and every evaluation is an opportunity to shape a brighter future.
Contact us today at (970) 628-5589, send us an email, or reach out via our Contact Us form with any questions you may have.
The first step in the evaluation process is to contact Individual Matters. Feel free to do this by phone, email, or by using our contact form. We’ll gather some initial information and talk to you about how the process works.
The next step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Katen. During this 90-minute meeting, you (the parent) and your child (attendance is optional) can share your concerns, ideas, and goals for testing. Dr. Katen will listen, ask questions, and take notes. Feel free to bring copies of any previous testing, relevant medical records, and academic records. Dr. Katen will review these documents, explain how the evaluation process works, go over costs and scheduling, and design a test scope/price that fits your needs. When the consultation ends, you will know exactly what service you are getting and how much it will cost.
If you are unsure whether you want or need an evaluation or are unclear about what type or scope is most appropriate, a consultation with Dr. Katen is still an excellent first step. This meeting is designed to provide answers to your questions and offer you a “road map” of considerations, options, and resources. You will leave the consultation feeling more knowledgeable and confident to make the right decisions for your child.
In addition, Dr. Katen can share insights and direction about how to apply for school-based or clinical services or accommodations. If your child has already been assessed elsewhere, Dr. Katen can review those reports and deliver clarification about scores, analyses, and diagnoses. From time to time (depending on the unique needs and situations of a family), an evaluation might not be the next best step; instead, another treatment or direction may take priority (such as counseling, medication management, or an occupational therapy or speech-language assessment). In these cases, Dr. Katen can help design a plan and connect you with appropriate providers.
How do I know what type of evaluation my child needs?
During your consultation with Dr. Katen, she will works with you to design a evaluation scope that is most appropriate for child’s unique needs. Scope and cost will be determined prior to beginning the evaluation process.
What is included in the evaluation process?
Following the initial consultation, the evaluation process proceeds as follows:
Clinical Interview – Clinical and developmental history is gathered through a semi-structured interview. You, your child, or the entire family may take part in this process.
Test Administration – The number and length of sessions required to complete test administration depends on the type of evaluation and, most importantly, the needs of the client. Administration for neuropsychological learning evaluations is typically completed in two or three sessions, each of which may be 3-4 hours long. On the other hand, learning assessments for adults may entail only one session.
Test Analysis – Scoring, analysis, and report generation is completed over the next couple weeks.
Feedback – The evaluation process is concluded with a 90-minute feedback session, during which Dr. Katen provides an in-depth explanation of test measures, findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Report – Clients receive a comprehensive report that clearly outlines test measures, findings, conclusions, and recommendations. Recommendations are specific and highly individualized evaluations.
What should we bring to the testing session?
We encourage you to bring snacks and a drink. We also recommend that children bring a favorite toy, photos, or other comfort items (Yes, “Mr. Wiggles,” your child’s snuggle buddy, is absolutely welcome!) We’ve also created a “Welcome Video” you may choose to show your child prior to visiting Individual Matters (we all do better when we know what to expect).
What should I tell my child about testing?
We feel it is important that you use your own judgment when deciding how and what to tell your child about the evaluation. Helpful approaches can be discussed at the initial consultation.
Who completes the evaluation?
Dr. Katen works closely with each family throughout the evaluation process – from consultation to feedback. She performs every assessment herself and does not utilize technicians or student interns.
How do I get my test results?
Test results are provided at the feedback session with Dr. Katen in a comprehensive, hardcopy report and thorough explanation of findings. Electronic versions of reports are also available through our confidential client portal.
What if I still have questions after the feedback?
Additional or ongoing consultation with Dr. Katen is available at your request (with additional fee).
Are my child’s evaluation results shared with anyone else?
It is completely up to you whether, how, and with whom to share your child’s evaluation records. Individual Matters keeps client evaluation records confidential and secure, you are the owner of your child’s evaluation report. The only situations in which Individual Matters will release an evaluation record is 1) with a parent’s written request, 2) when failing to do so could put someone else at severe risk, or 3) in response to a court order.
Importantly, if you utilize insurance to pay for your evaluation, the insurance company has the right to view the report, and the resultant diagnosis becomes part of your child’s permanent medical record. On the other hand, if you choose to self-pay for your child’s evaluation, no one but you have access to the report, records, or diagnoses (see benefits of insurance vs. self-pay).
What is the difference between a neurodevelopmental, neuropsychological, and psychoeducational evaluation?
These terms are often used interchangeably, even though they may have small differences depending on specific provider and test battery. Generally, all three evaluation types are completed by a clinical psychologist (Psy.D. or Ph.D.) using standardized measures for the purpose of understanding a child’s cognitive functioning, behavior, and social-emotional development. These evaluations can identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as underlying disorders, that impact a child’s growth, wellbeing, and learning. Psychoeducational evaluations may also include measures of academic achievement (reading, writing, math) to understand a child’s learning and to identify possible learning disabilities.
What if the school says my child is “fine,” but I feel like he/she is struggling?
If you believe your child is struggling, they probably are. In any case, you don’t need the school’s recommendation to pursue a private evaluation. Even when you are told your child is “fine,” you should probably trust your parent intuition.
What are some reasons a parent may seek a private evaluation?
If you have any questions about your child’s learning or development, or you are seeking to better understand their unique patterns of strengths and struggles, a private evaluation is a good option.
Why are Individual Matters evaluations so individualized?
We believe that every child is as unique as their fingerprints. There is no “one size fits all” approach to understanding a child’s gifts, interests, joys, and struggles. A well-done evaluation should be tailored to the specific needs of the child and their family.
Does Dr. Katen attend school IEP meetings?
Following an evaluation, Dr. Katen will attend IEP meetings for an additional fee.
Does Individual Matters offer homeschool evaluations?
Yes, Individual Matters offers evaluations for homeschooled children. In Colorado, state homeschooling law requires that children in grades 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11 be assessed by a “qualified person to determine if they have made sufficient academic progress according to their ability.” As a licensed psychologist, Dr. Katen is a “qualified person” and can administer the required nationally standardized achievement test.
Are evaluations covered by insurance?
Typically, health insurance will NOT pay for learning evaluations, as these are considered “educational” rather than “medical” services. However, there are some clinical and mental health diagnoses (e.g., ADHD, anxiety, and depression) that may be covered by insurance. Depending on your policy and the purpose/outcomes of the evaluation, your insurance company may cover some or all of the cost.
Individual Matters accepts limited insurance plans. For clients with other plans, we can provide you with a detailed invoice (“super bill”) that you can submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.
What are the pros/cons of self-pay vs. insurance?
When it comes to paying for testing, there are advantages to both insurance and “private-pay.”
Depending on your insurance plan and referral need, insurance may (but does not always) reduce the cost burden of an evaluation. Importantly, insurance does not typically pay for academic testing. Also, since insurance is part of the medical model, a client must be diagnosed with a mental health condition. Insurance companies also retain the right to view evaluation reports and resultant diagnoses become part of the child’s medical record.
While self-pay evaluations can at first seem to be a more “expensive” option, in the end, many clients actually spend less (due to deductibles, refusals to cover “authorized” services, and other hidden costs of insurance). The self-pay option also lets you to pick your provider, allows the psychologist determine appropriate scope of care, and takes a comprehensive approach to understanding your child unique profile. Self-pay allows more privacy and avoids “hidden costs” or “surprise bills” associated with insurance.