Every year our office offers a limited number of pro bono evaluations. The client participates in the typical test battery process—test administration, scoring, a parent interpretative conference, a brief student interpretative conference and a written report. The second component of the evaluation process is the implementation of the proposed treatment plan, as outlined in the written report. This component can be more challenging because implementation of the treatment plan involves time AND financial commitments. Therefore, families with some available resources tend to benefit more from the evaluation.
The following are guidelines we use to determine who would qualify for a pro bono evaluation:
- Ideal candidates are students who exhibit difficulties which are often related to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and/or executive dysfunction rather than problems where the primary concern is psychiatric.
- Students whose families are involved in issues related to separation, divorce, or legal custody are beyond the scope of this offering. For pro bono evaluations we CAN NOT be involved in legal issues.
- Students who have significant medical problems are very appropriate candidates because the evaluation is well designed to understand the educational impact of the medical condition, and in these instances it would be highly likely that the family is already working with a medical team.
- The families must be able to provide transportation and be available on three separate days during the work week in order for us to complete the testing and the parent interpretative conference.
- With regards to English as a second language, there are no hard and fast guidelines. The student must at least be reasonably fluent in English. As for the parent interpretative conference, IF the parents are not fluent in English, we can utilize an interpreter. Although, it is worth keeping in mind that significant cultural differences may exist and linguistic challenges only adds to widen this gap.
- Note that the written report will look exactly the same as for our other clients; however, please remember that the recommendations may be modified to reflect what is actually realistic for the family because we are committed to making a valiant effort to create a viable treatment plan.
The procedures for referring a student for a pro bono neuropsychological evaluation are as follows:
- Identify the student
- With parental permission, forward the contact information to the Administrative Director, Starr Stixrud at 301.565.0534×225 or email@example.com. Include the name(s) of the parents, their contact numbers and the name and age of the child
- Have the parent contact the office and speak to an administrative assistant to arrange an initial intake appointment. This is a telephone conference which is arranged at a mutually convenient time in order to gather background information on the client, explain our process and answer any questions that the family may have. During this conversation, evaluation dates/times will be scheduled with the family
Prior to the evaluation, the parents will be given the standard informed consent form, which details the scope and sequence of the evaluation. We want to be clear with the referral sources that this informed consent does not give them automatic access to the written report or even permission for the psychologist to speak to the referral source. We will provide the parents with an Authorization of Release for Written and Oral Communication, and we will strongly encourage the parents to complete this authorization.