Gifted and Learning Disability Testing Still Matter During the COVID-19 Outbreak

By Dr. Irma Campos, Licensed Psychologist

During this crisis, it is understandable that many other needs have taken precedent at this time, including the need to maintain personal and familial safety. However, if you or a family member have been referred to testing with a psychologist, try not to lose sight of the importance of this task in the near future. Or if you or your family member could benefit from testing with a psychologist, the near future is a suitable time to explore this option through a consultation with a psychologist. Gifted testing and learning disability testing—with the appropriate safety precautions—can still accomplish the following:

-Assess what individualized support to seek during the remainder of this academic year and upcoming year

-Prepare you or your loved one for success during the upcoming academic/fiscal year through additional training or development

Gifted testing assesses an individual’s IQ, or intelligence quotient. It can assist in determining where the individual is performing on a variety of indices that comprise the general psychological construct known as intelligence. IQ assessments (e.g., Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-V, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-IV) are available for children, adolescents, and adults. True IQ assessments must be administered by licensed psychologists (doctoral-level mental health providers with a licensed psychologist title). IQ assessments inform gifted placement or special education placement decisions.

IQ assessments also inform broader academic and career accommodations, if relevant and applicable. For example, a person may perform significantly above themselves on one index of an IQ assessment, which may indicate a key strength to continue to implement through a specific accommodation recommendation in a school, academic, or workplace setting. Alternatively, a person may perform significantly below themselves on one index of an IQ assessment, perhaps indicating a need to assess that weakness further with additional testing in order to reveal the cause of the weakness. Subsequently, those findings can inform the career or academic accommodation suitable to the individual.

As discussed in other posts, learning disability testing helps determine if a person is demonstrating a profile consistent with a learning disability in a particular academic domain. Learning disability testing can assess for a Specific Learning Disability in Reading, Specific Learning Disability in Writing, Specific Learning Disability in Mathematics, Nonverbal Learning Disability, and more. Learning Disability testing requires the administration of multiple assessments, such as IQ, learning approach, and academic achievement assessments, to name a few examples. It also requires a thorough evaluation of an individual’s history, particularly in academic domains and mental health as well as clinical consultations with multiple sources who know the individual well across various settings. Learning disability testing should entail careful interpretation of all acquired evidence using a research-informed and current model of learning disabilities (e.g., PSW model), That guided interpretation leads to a diagnostic conclusion. Gifted testing and learning disability testing help to identify the additional areas of support the child, adolescent, or adult needs in a school, university, or workplace setting. The recommendations provided by a psychologist can still be implemented in some way during the remainder of the academic year and the upcoming academic year.

Regardless of the conclusion or diagnosis, gifted and learning disability testing usually provides some insight about what skills (i.e., measurable and specific academic abilities) a person should further develop. Academic skills, for example, include reading fluency, reading prosody, calculation skills, and number sense. Academic skills measured are directly related to academic and vocational success. Through standardized assessments, a well-trained psychologist can precisely identify strengths or developmental areas, inclusive of academic skills across a range of domains. Therefore, testing results can underscore the areas a person should receive further training and development in order to reach academic, career, or workplace goals. The results can serve to create a plan of action regarding what strengths and weaknesses to address with actionable behaviors. For example, if a person demonstrates a key weakness in reading fluency as an academic skill, an action plan can be created in order to address this key weakness so the person can reach higher levels of success during the remaining academic year and/or the following academic year.

Psychological, academic, and workplace well-being are important to our community, especially during trying times, because they create the bedrock for a successful and thriving community. If you are interested in pursuing gifted or learning disability testing in the near future, Interface Consulting and Psychological Services is here to support you or your child or adolescent. We proudly serve children, adults, and teens with a warm, evidence-based, and client-centered approach.