Children and teens facing challenges at school can turn to a new testing service for help understanding why and for recommendations to overcome their struggles.
Wedgwood Christian Services, a Grand Rapids nonprofit focused on providing social services to children and their families, now is offering basic assessment and extended assessment of psychoeducational testing at its facility.
Dr. Elizabeth Raese, a Wedgwood psychologist who is overseeing the psychoeducational testing program, said the testing can provide information about a child or teenager’s cognitive strengths and struggles, mental health issues, personality and coping styles.
“Our focus is particularly when there are behavior or learning issues at school,” Raese said. “To be able to dig in and understand the factors that may be contributing to that and to be able to give recommendations of what might be helpful.”
Wedgwood’s psychoeducational testing is completed in three appointment assessments, including an initial interview, a testing session and a feedback session.
The feedback session includes providing the child or teen with age-appropriate information, as well, something Raese said is unique about Wedgwood’s program.
Raese said tailored recommendations are a particularly important part of the testing because “you can see the same behaviors in two different children, but the underlying issues and what is going to be helpful may be different.”
She said recommendations might include counseling or other social services, with which Wedgwood can help families connect.
“For example, if we determine part of the reason for distraction is anxiety, then we might recommend ongoing counseling, and we can help connect them,” she said.
Raese said while psychoeducational testing is an established field in psychology, it is a developing field, and therefore, new advances are incorporated as they are discovered.
“They are coming out with new and better ways of testing and updating the tests to reflect current norms,” she said. “It’s important to have the most current test information, and that you are using the current materials to give the best feedback.”
For instance, Raese said technology has changed psychoeducational testing.
“We do some of the testing on a computer, because kids are surrounded by technology in their daily lives,” she said.
Raese, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology, will supervise Wedgwood’s psychoeducational program, but a master’s level clinician with extensive training and experience will administer the tests.
Wedgwood is offering a basic testing package for $550 and an extended assessment package for $800.
Raese said psychoeducational testing still is limited in the greater Grand Rapids area, so many families seeking the service have a lengthy wait to endure, which is what Wedgwood hopes to address.
“When your child is struggling academically and emotionally, having to wait two to three months can seem like an eternity,” she said. “We want to help families find answers to understand their child’s learning and behavior challenges and maximize their learning potential.”
Wedgwood’s program does not currently have a waiting list.