When you get yourself or your child tested for learning disabilities: two things happen:
- First, the individual is tested and observed.
- Then, the results of those tests are analyzed and you are diagnosed.
I feel it is critical that the person doing the diagnosing is also the one who is directly involved in the testing process so they can clinically observe the patient.
It can make a huge difference in a diagnosis
when the diagnostician is NOT the tester/observer.
Ask who’s doing the testing?
What you’ll find is that whenever professionals or institutions are trying to test as many people as possible and/or there is a waiting list for service, separate individuals test and diagnose each case. Generally, a graduate student or someone with very little clinical training or experience does the testing and then the primary diagnostician comes in to do the diagnosis.
I shudder to think of the time I found a clear case of dyslexia when the previous diagnostician (who had spent only 20 minutes with the child) stated that the child had “no reading problem”. The result of the misdiagnosis was inappropriate treatment that went on for years, until I met the patient.
Clinical observation means…
Clinical observation is the main ingredient in any comprehensive testing of learning disabilities.
- It presumes a vast amount of experience over time with a critical understanding of test responses on each test that the child or adult performs.
- It requires understanding the child’s response in terms of their experience and cultural background to determine whether what the test is trying to assess is really being assessed.
Observations by a technician are not sufficient. When the primary diagnostician is not involved in this process but only reviews test results or does an interview, they are lacking the most critical information they need on a first-hand basis to make reasonable decisions about test findings.
Testing + Clinical Observation + Diagnosis
I started testing children and adults for learning disabilities some 35 years ago and have always done all of the testing and observations on my own – an extremely rare and valuable offering – so that I can believe 100% in my diagnosis.
Over the years I have often been the 3rd or 4th professional to evaluate someone for a learning problem, only to find out that critical observations were missed in previous testing. Consequently, individuals were either misdiagnosed or a co-occurring disorder was not identified or unaddressed in treatment – until they came to me.
I want you to know up front WHO is doing the testing and clinical observation of you or your child before you get your diagnosis. If it is a different person than the primary diagnostician, go somewhere else.
Contact me and we can talk in more detail about your specific case. — Markus