Still have questions? We’d love to hear from you. Call us (301) 565-0534.
How do I know that my child or I need an evaluation?
Determining whether you or your child needs a neuropsychological evaluation can be a challenging decision. At The Stixrud Group, we understand the vulnerability and complexity that comes with this process. Our approach, guided by the philosophy of our founder, Bill Stixrud, encourages open communication and inquiry. If you, as an adult, parent, or child, have questions or concerns that you believe an evaluation might help answer, we invite you to reach out to us. We offer a free intake consultation with a master’s level clinician to discuss your concerns and determine if testing with one of our doctors could provide the clarity and guidance you seek.
Why should we choose The Stixrud Group?
At The Stixrud Group, we provide neuropsychological evaluations, which is a specialized type of assessment that focuses on understanding the relationship between brain function and behavior. This comprehensive evaluation provides detailed insights into an individual’s cognitive profile, highlighting both their strengths and areas for growth. We prioritize comprehensive assessments that delve into a wide array of domains, including intellectual, language, memory, attention, executive functioning, and academic skills, as well as social/emotional functioning. We view these assessments through a strengths-focused lens, rooted in our belief in the unique talents each individual possesses. Our commitment is to discern these strengths and areas for growth, and to provide personalized reports that include clear, actionable plans for progress. Our dedicated clinicians are readily available for follow-up consultations to ensure ongoing support.
We recognize that evaluations can vary significantly based on the provider, chosen tests, and examined cognitive domains. Our evaluations, while providing diagnostic clarification, offer more than a mere diagnosis. For children, for instance, our evaluations can serve as a motivational tool, offering a better understanding of their abilities and highlighting their strengths. We take the time to explain the results to children in an understandable and relatable manner, emphasizing their strengths and discussing growth areas in a motivating way.
Moreover, we keep pace with the latest research findings in our field, integrating these advancements into our work. This ensures our assessments and interventions are informed by the most recent and relevant scientific evidence, reinforcing our commitment to research-based practice and maintaining our position at the forefront of neuropsychological services.
Why don’t you provide treatment at The Stixrud Group?
At The Stixrud Group, we specialize in providing high-quality, comprehensive evaluations. Our decision not to offer treatment services, such as psychotherapy, directly arises from our commitment to avoid any factors which could sway our conclusions, including potential conflicts of interest. Our goal is to maintain an objective stance, ensuring that our evaluations are solely dedicated to understanding each individual’s strengths and challenges. Choosing not to offer additional services means that our recommendations, including for any possible treatment, are tailored to each client’s specific needs, without any vested interest in a particular therapy or service which we might provide. Our clients, with our guidance and often specific referrals, can then seek out the best treatment options with confidence, knowing that our advice is based purely on what is best for their personal growth and development.
Who does the test administration?
At The Stixrud Group, test administration typically is divided between your licensed psychologist and a licensed psychology associate. For full evaluations, two assessment sessions are typically scheduled. One of these is with the psychologist, who spends a morning with the client, conducting a clinical interview (if this was not previously done) and administering tests. The second is scheduled with a psychology associate for a morning and early afternoon, and includes administration of the remainder of the assessment measures. Brief evaluations or assessments with very young children may follow a different schedule, but the psychologist will complete a large part of the testing.
I heard you use students to do parts of the test administration. Is this true?
No, this is not true. All of our psychology associates are licensed clinicians with master’s degrees in psychology-related fields. Our psychology associates are well-trained and provided with ample support and supervision. Our lead psychology associate, Carol Kurtz, has been with our group for over 20 years, and oversees much of the training. The Stixrud Group is not a training site, as we do not offer externships, internships, post-doctoral fellowships, etc.
Why do you use psychology associates? Why don’t the doctors do all the testing themselves?
Psychology associates, who in assessments function as psychometrists, have been utilized in the field since the 1930s. All of our psychology associates are members of the National Association of Psychometrists (https://napnet.org/). They are commonly utilized, and even preferred in the field of neuropsychology, due to their specialized training in administering and scoring certain neuropsychological tests, ensuring assessments are standardized and reliable. They additionally are skilled at observing subtle behaviors during testing, providing insights into cognitive functioning, and contributing to a comprehensive understanding of test results. Involving a second clinician in the testing process often enhances the evaluation. They may notice subtle behaviors or responses, offering a different perspective, and contributing to a more comprehensive assessment. Moreover, because individuals may react differently to two distinct individuals, this offers valuable information.
In neuropsychology, similar to medical imaging, the testing and interpretation are divided among professionals. Trained technologists conduct imaging procedures, while radiologists interpret the images. Likewise, psychology associates administer and score some of the tests, and neuropsychologists interpret the results. This division enhances efficiency and accuracy, leading to improved patient outcomes.
Why is there an emphasis on conducting comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations for children instead of targeted evaluations, such as ADHD-only assessments?
At The Stixrud Group, we typically conduct comprehensive evaluations for children because we believe that it is critical to understand the whole story of a child’s health and development. Individuals with conditions such as ADHD and autism often have additional challenges, or “co-occurring disorders”. Missing these co-occurring conditions can have a negative impact on a child. For instance, if a child who is diagnosed with ADHD and is receiving appropriate treatment and supports also has an undiagnosed learning disorder, they may continue to struggle in school, and to experience stress and frustration, because of the learning disorder. This could affect their self-esteem, social relationships, and overall quality of life. In addition, particularly in children, specific symptoms may have a variety of root causes; a student who appears to be inattentive or lost in the classroom may have an attention disorder, a language disorder, or both.
Think about it as though we are baking a cake. If we only focus on measuring one ingredient, say adjusting the amount of sugar, we might not realize that there is not enough flour, or too many eggs. It’s like this with understanding a child’s neuropsychological health. If we only look at one condition, like ADHD or autism, we might miss other important issues, such as anxiety or learning disorders.
By doing a full evaluation, we’re making sure we understand all the parts of the recipe for a child’s well-being, learning, and development. At the same time, we want to stress that there can be reasons to make an exception to this approach – examples that come to mind include very young children or children who already have had recent partial or full evaluations – and we encourage you to reach out to us for further discussion.
What does the evaluation process entail?
The first step is calling our office to set up a free intake, where you talk with a client care manager, who is a master’s level clinician. At this time, you will be asked a series of questions, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions as well. During this process, the care manager strives to gain a clear understanding of the reason for testing, while simultaneously understanding the client’s personality style in order to determine which psychologist(s) are best suited to evaluate the client. Our psychologists have different personality styles and specialities. The evaluation schedule can also be created at this time.
After the intake, the office will send you HIPAA-protected emails confirming the evaluation schedule. A month before the evaluation starts we will send consent forms and links to complete various rating scales. The office will also send you instructions on how to send us documents in an HIPAA-encrypted manner.
The evaluation schedule is typically as follows:
We will schedule an in-depth interview, which could take anywhere between 1-2 hours, depending on the complexity of the challenges. We will also schedule two in-person testing days, one with the clinician and one with a Psychology Associate. The days do not build on one another, so they can be done in any order. Finally, we will schedule one session to review the results, which is usually done virtually. The results session gives the clinician a chance to present families with the data and diagnosis and begin to tailor their recommendations to the specific client. They will be able to not only give you a handful of recommendations and resources but also be able to prioritize them based on your immediate needs, location, and situation.
All four appointments usually take place within a 2 to 4 week period from Monday through Friday, depending on your schedule and our availability. We try to accommodate our clients’ schedules. If the appointments have to be postponed due to sickness or emergencies, we will not make you wait long for the new appointments.
Will I receive a report at the feedback session?
We believe that the feedback session should be an opportunity for further collaboration between the psychologist and the client/parents. During this session, we not only talk about the results of the evaluation and diagnostic formulations, but we also discuss how these results are playing out in the client’s daily experience. This discussion also provides the clinician with an opportunity to gather additional relevant information, as the assessment results may highlight areas of strengths and challenges which had been touched upon but not covered in detail. Finally, the psychologist and client/parents work together to develop a “roadmap” of recommendations for home, school/the workplace, and other relevant environments, and to prioritize those recommendations. Given the collaborative nature of this meeting, as well as the breadth of the discussion, we do not write our reports before the feedback session, and do not provide them to clients/parents until we have had an opportunity to incorporate points from this meeting.
The wait for an evaluation seems long! What can we do in the meantime?
While encountering long wait times for evaluations can certainly feel frustrating, it’s crucial to recognize that this waiting period can be constructive and even beneficial. For example, if an adult is experiencing emotional distress, they could use this time to consult with a psychiatrist. Similarly, if a parent notices their child is having reading challenges, it’s advisable to seek educational support during this waiting period. These proactive steps can provide valuable assistance while waiting for a comprehensive evaluation. This also opens up an opportunity for the evaluator to collaborate with tutors or teachers during the testing phase, which can be highly beneficial. We often seek insights from those who know the child well across different settings to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the child.
Additionally, scheduling a consultation with a provider in our office before testing appointments can indeed be a beneficial step. This allows for an exchange of ideas on how best to support you or your child during the waiting period and enables the evaluator to offer appropriate referrals. At The Stixrud Group, we provide this option to our clients, ensuring that the waiting period is effectively utilized for the benefit of the individual.
We view evaluations as an important investment in the future. Although they do address immediate needs, they will also help plan for years to come. Many of our clients refer back to our written report over many years.
Do you accept insurance?
The Stixrud Group is a fee for service business. We do not accept third party reimbursement from insurance carriers. Clients are responsible for full payment and for submitting claims themselves. From an insurance perspective, we are considered non-participating, non-network providers. After your intake we can provide you with a list of questions to ask your insurance company, upon request. While our practice does not have a dedicated billing department, we will do our very best to attend to your insurance needs in a timely manner. We would also like to remind you that while we are happy to assist you, we have no say in the final determination or reimbursement.
How much does the evaluation cost?
Evaluation fees depend on the breadth and depth of the services needed to address our clients’ needs. When you first call, our office managers can provide a range of fees for the evaluation and explain what the range means. During the intake, the client care manager will usually be able to narrow this down to a fee that is relevant to your case.
Severe Weather Policy
We DO NOT follow Public School or Federal Government Closing policies because they have vastly different parameters by which they make their decisions.
Our policy is as follows:
Between 7:00a.m. – 7:30 a.m. the clinician with whom you or your child will be working with that day will telephone you at your home telephone number, to discuss traveling conditions, therefore we expect that you will be available and answering your telephone at this time.
Our aim is to make a potentially confusing situation as simple as possible. In some cases, the weather will not be a factor and both of you will be able to travel safely arriving at the appointed time. In some cases, you will decide that it is feasible to travel, however a later start time will be mutually agreed upon, e.g. you might agree to meet at the office at 10:00 a.m. In some instances, you will not be able to make a decision and will agree to talk again later that morning. In some cases, it will not be feasible for one or both of you to arrive safely.
P.S. Several of the clinicians prefer to contact the client the evening before to discuss possible scenarios, so don’t be surprised if you receive a call that evening.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: SAFETY FIRST
Please consider these factors when making a decision: (1) everyone has a different comfort level with regards to traveling in inclement weather, (2) the type of car you drive influences travel viability –e.g. driving a Mini Cooper is quite different from driving a 4 wheel drive Range Rover, (3) consider the availability of public transportation as an alternative means of travel, and finally (4) conditions vary greatly because we serve such a large metropolitan region which makes individual decisions quite relevant.
SAFETY FIRST, CONVENIENCE SECOND
What if I have other questions not listed here?
Please do not hesitate to contact our office at 301-565-0534 for answers to any questions you may have.