Frequently Asked Questions

Call Us:  (612) 799-6263

What disorders are you able to assess?

Any disorder identified in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR/DSM-V), including learning, attention, emotional/behavioral, mood and personality disorders.

How do assessments help with the counseling process?

Assessments can help identify and confirm diagnostic findings in less time, and in a more objective manner, than it typically would take through the counseling process alone.  Assessments are invaluable in helping with goal setting and provide a way to objectively evaluate progress.

What are the advantages of your assessments compared to assessments at schools, large clinics or HMO’s?

Our evaluations are comprehensive and follow industry best practices/protocols. We use the most up to date standardized
tests.  Reports are thorough and include all information needed for caregivers to make informed decisions regarding
further intervention and planning.  Appointments typically occur sooner and report turnaround time is quicker than larger clinics or HMO’s. 

When students are tested through public schools, the purpose of the testing usually has a very limited scope - to determine if
the student qualifies for a particular special education program (EBD, Speech/Language, reading/math writing, Autism, etc.). “Qualifying” for Special Education services doesn’t equate to having a learning or other disorder.  Students can be academically delayed but not have enough impairment to meet the school district’s (as directed by the MN Department of Education) strict guidelines for Special Education eligibility. 

In many instances, child go undiagnosed because caregivers make the false assumption that “not qualifying” for Special Education services means the child doesn’t have learning, mood or other co-existing conditions.   Many school districts, because of a shortage in School Psychologists and limited budgets, are now using tests that can be administered by less qualified school staff.

Allen is the only person to do the diagnostic assessment, test administration, interpreting, scoring and report writing.  Many large mental health clinics and HMO’s utilize Psychological Technicians, post-graduate students or interns to actually administer the tests.  Psychologists spend minimal "face time" with the client and typically only review the assessment findings and written report.  Direct observation of client behavior, responses and mood during the testing process are key to the overall assessment findings.  

How does a Learning Disability differ from a Learning Disorder?
A Learning “Disability” is a term used in academic settings to identify that a student meets eligibility for Special Education services in the particular subject area (reading, math or writing).  A student has a Learning Disability if their academic achievement in a particular subject area
is substantially below their measured cognitive abilities (typically 2 or more grade level equivalents below their current grade).  So if the student isn’t academically delayed enough, school based interventions are not approved.  In these cases, students typically fall
further and further behind their peers.  This often leaves parents and caregivers confused and at a loss for what to do next.

A Learning “Disorder” is a clinical term also used to describe the discrepancy between achievement and ability but the student’s academic skill gap doesn’t have to be as significant to qualify for Special Education services.  Students with a Learning Disorder typically will qualify for accommodations in an academic settings (referred to as a 504 plan).  In our experience, school districts often don’t communicate that an
academic delay exists because it raises the question of why the student’s performance has to deteriorate further below the school will intervene.  

How does your ADHD assessment differ from other clinics?  

Our ADHD assessments follow researched based industry best practices.  There is no agreed upon protocol amongst medical and mental health professionals for how to assess ADHD.  There is no definitive test that says a person has the disorder or doesn’t have it.  There are industry best practices but many clinics/clinicians don’t follow them.  ADHD is often one of the most misdiagnosed disorder because of the lack of standardization of testing protocols, the common existence of co-existing conditions and the training/experience of the person doing the assessment.  ADHD assessments range from “the quick and dirty”  (e.q. physicians prescribing medication based on having a parent complete a basic diagnostic criteria symptom checklist in the doctor’s office to clinics that administer more tests than are really needed). One of the most common errors in assessing ADHD is not gathering adequate information from other caregivers (teachers, childcare workers, co-workers, etc.).  Information about behavior in a variety of settings is important because like most people with ADHD may present differently in a quiet environment like a mental health clinic compared to the classroom, work or other setting. 

What is Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

ADHD is a group of related chronic neurobiological disorders that interfere with an individual's capacity to behave in developmentally appropriate ways.  It is characterized by the inability to:

    regulate activity level (hyperactivity)    
    inhibit behavior (impulsivity)    
    attend to tasks (inattention)

Research suggests ADHD is most likely caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain.  Careful assessment is essential because co-existing conditions are common and may contribute to presenting concerns.

What are the benefits of an assessment following a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

Our assessment will identify current level of functioning in multiple areas including memory/learning, adaptive functioning, personality, mood and/or behavior.  This can help the person qualify for supplemental services and to plan interventions and monitor progress.   

Does medical insurance cover assessments?

Most insurance companies will cover services related to what they term “medical necessity.”  ADHD, personality, mood/behavior disorders are typically covered.  Because there are so many different policies issued by the same company, consumers are highly encouraged to verify their coverage prior to your first appointment.  We can assist you in verifying your particular coverage for the testing being considered.  Payment options and estimates of out-of-pocket costs will be clearly identified prior to starting any services.

Will you provide assessments at other locations besides your offices in St. Louis Park, Rogers or Edina?
Yes.  In many cases, test administration is done at a physician's, attorneys, other mental health professionals offices or on a school or college/university campus.  If the location is within the 5 county metro area of Mpls./St. Paul, there is no additional charge.  If the location is outside the Twin City area, a fee is charged for travel.  Any follow up sessions can then be done either in person or by telephone.