Psychological Testing Now Uses Interactive Technology

Posted on June 4, 2015 by cgallagc

Psychological testing, which used to be extremely time-consuming and costly, has entered the digital age.  Interactive testing via iPad is now available.

internetIn the last few years, many standard psychological tests have been adapted so that licensed psychologists can administer them using the Apple iPad.  The psychologist will use one iPad to give the test, and another iPad, connected via Bluetooth, is used by the test-taker,  to record responses to the test items.

In addition to the increased convenience, the application allows us to get the test results quickly and more easily, because the scoring is done automatically as responses are recorded and tests are completed.  With the new iPad administration (called “Q Interactive”), anyone who can benefit from this type of information can have quick access to the results.

Psychological testing can measure many types of mental function

Psychologists typically start diagnostic testing with a standard measure of “cognitive functioning”, which includes measures of verbal abilities (understanding and using language) and non-verbal, or perceptual reasoning abilities (which most people associate with hands-on tasks).  In the technological world in which we currently live, what we do often requires a combination of these verbal and non-verbal mental functions and abilities, a combination of thinking and doing.

This type of testing is usually thought of as “IQ testing” but may encompass much more than that implies.  In addition to verbal and non-verbal abilities, psychological tests can also provide measures of memory, attention, learning and “executive functioning”.  Executive function incorporates all the cognitive functions  mentioned above.  It measures cognitive efficiency, organization, and planning abilities. (For more information on executive functioning, see http://blogs.psychcentral.com/living-with-adhd/2016/07/executive-functioning-skills-and-adhd/).

Measuring these supportive functions is especially critical in diagnosing attention problems and ADHD.

Why Do Testing?

boy in detention

In some cases, testing may be suggested by teachers or employers.  In other cases, a psychiatrist or therapist may request help from a psychologist who uses testing to confirm or rule out a diagnosis. In still other cases, a parent, a spouse, or even a client may wish to confirm or disconfirm what others have suspected or other professionals have diagnosed.

For example, many children and adults are referred to see if they have the diagnosis, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Various testing and observational rating scales can help to demonstrate whether the person really has ADHD, and if so, the type of ADHD.  Observational ratings scales, in contrast to direct testing, are comprised of a long series of questions about the client.  They look for symptoms and describe personality profiles.  These highly structured questionnaires are completed by the client and, in some cases, are also completed by those who know the client well.

There are other conditions that might also benefit from psychological testing.  While psychological testing is not the same as neuropsychological testing, it can still measure many areas of cognitive and personality functioning in older adults, such as those experiencing memory loss or other symptoms associated with aging.

In recent years, there is much concern about the prevalence of concussions, especially in school-age children.  Now, on a daily basis, high schools maintain long lists of students who need physician-supervised accommodations because of ongoing concussion symptoms.  While baseline testing for identifying concussion in students is good for identifying the condition, for persistent symptoms it might be useful to obtain a more comprehensive measure of cognitive functioning and performance parameters that can be assessed by formal psychological testing.

For students with learning problems, schools generally want to see a full battery of tests, but partial test batteries may supplement the school’s evaluation by confirming, challenging, or updating the results.  When a pediatrician refers a child or adult for testing, they are likely seeking to support their own assessment with objective test data and other information from outside the doctor’s office.  Doctors may refer patients who are suffering from depression or anxiety, or children who are exhibiting unusual behaviors, such as those seen in Autistic Spectrum Disorders.  Therapists, counselors, and other clinicians might be able to profit from information provided by partial batteries of testing that target specific areas of concern, like cognitive functioning, memory, attention, or executive functioning.

Testing at Psych Choices of the Delaware Valley

At Psych Choices, psychological testing is now available through the state-of-the-art, innovative Q-Interactive technology.  If an entire testing process or full battery is needed, I estimate that it may be completed in about 6 – 8 hours and can be scheduled over 2 days of testing.  The results can be analyzed and presented in a summarized format within one week.

Psychological testing is often covered by insurance.   For a full report with interpretation, there will be an additional cost to the patient.  At Psych Choices of the Delaware Valley, we will first verify insurance coverage and then discuss any additional costs or payment options before testing is scheduled.

To make an appointment for Q-Interactive psychological testing by Dr. Charles Gallagher at Psych Choices, please use our Make An Appointment page or call the Intake Coordinator at 610-626-8085, ext. 213.

 


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