Diagnostic Assessment by Sue Wallington Quinlan, Ph.D.

My Goals for Diagnostic Assessment

When I work, I strive to achieve three primary objectives with each diagnostic assessment.

My aim is to provide clear and comprehensive answers to the specific referral questions, along with practical recommendations for any necessary interventions.

The Assessment Process

The assessment process begins with a parent conference to gather background information and discuss the assessment's purpose, needs, and expectations. We work together to determine if an assessment is necessary and will achieve the intended goals. Parents are asked to provide documentation for my review, such as school reports and standardized test records.

Once we proceed with a full assessment, I administer the appropriate Wechsler scale for the individual's age, providing a cognitive ability profile and offering rich observational data. Additional cognitive assessment instruments may be used to clarify specific findings.

The next step is to evaluate academic skills and identify areas of weakness and unusual strengths. I typically use the Woodcock Achievement Battery and other instruments as needed.

In addition to testing abilities and academic skills, I assess any emotional issues that may impact learning, school performance, social relationships, or emotional self-regulation.

My goal is to present parents with a formal written report of the assessment within a week of completing the initial testing.

The Comprehensive Assessment Report

In the report of the assessment, I present a picture of the individual’s level and pattern of cognitive functioning: strengths and assets; characteristic patterns in the processing of information; and any areas of weakness in thinking, learning, information processing, perception, memory, pace, or attention regulation. There will also be a profile of academic skills; and, finally, consideration of any emotional, social, or motivational factors that may affect development or performance. I collaborate with parents to determine what information should be shared with other parties, such as schools or tutors, in the child's best interests.