This information is for Georgia Tech students who are having difficulties with academic performance, learning, or concentration, and who may be interested in a professional assessment. Some students might be wondering if they have Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or a Learning Disorder (LD), and may be also interested in determining whether they qualify for educational accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This page describes the nature of psychoeducational assessment, where one may obtain an assessment, and information about the assessment-related services offered by the Georgia Tech Counseling Center.
What is psychoeducational assessment?
Psychoeducational assessment is a specialized service, typically offered by psychologists, that is intended to develop a full understanding of the nature of difficulties with academic performance, learning, or concentration and provide detailed recommendations for clinical or educational services and accommodations (if warranted).
There can be many possible causes for these types of difficulties, including LD, ADHD, psychiatric disorders, substance use, medical conditions, brain injury, problems with motivation, and/or stress. For this reason, a psychoeducational assessment must comprehensively evaluate all aspects of a person's functioning and life history. These assessments typically consist of interviews with the client and significant others (e.g., a parent or close friend), a series of questionnaires and tests, and a review of records such as previous tests (e.g., the SAT), transcripts, and report cards. It is common for these assessments to require 6 to 8 hours, including interviewing and testing, and to result in a lengthy report (often 8-16 pages).
What are educational accommodations?
The Americans with Disabilities Act provides for appropriate educational accommodations for students who meet the criteria for several conditions, including Learning Disorders, ADHD, and psychiatric disorders. In order to qualify for accommodations, a student must provide adequate documentation from a professional psychoeducational assessment. For more information, see The University System of Georgia Academic Affairs Handbook, specifically, Section 3.11; Section 3 Appendices D and E; and Section 4.1.5 of the Board of Regents Policy Manual.
The Georgia Tech Office of Disability Services determines the adequacy of a students' documentation of a disability, and ensures that students receive appropriate accommodations. If you are interested in applying for educational accommodations, it is recommended that you contact the Office of Disability Services for further guidance.
Where can I obtain an assessment?
There are at least three possible sources for obtaining an assessment in the Atlanta area:
The Regents Center for Learning Disorders has been designated by the University System of Georgia as the primary provider of assessment for Georgia Tech students, and is staffed by psychologists who specialize in assessment. The university system subsidizes part of the cost of the assessment, and as of 1/1/14 the cost to students was $500. To access the services offered by the Regents Center, students must first obtain a referral and an assessment packet from the Georgia Tech Office of Disability Services office.
(3) From a psychologist in private practice (see our referral page)
Private practice psychologists typically charge over $1000 for a psychoeducational assessment, and this may or may not be covered by health insurance. As of 1/1/14, the cost for an assessment at Emory was $700, and is not typically covered by insurance.
Services offered by the Georgia Tech Counseling Center
At our center, we offer Psychoeducational Consultations and Psychoeducational Screenings:
- Psychoeducational Consultation
The purpose of this service is to answer students' questions about assessment and/or about educational accommodations. This may take the form of an email correspondence or a phone conversation, or we can schedule a time to meet with the student in person. This is a free service. If you have questions and wish to consult, please schedule an appointment for a testing consultation or call our main number (404) 894-2575 and ask to speak to our assessment coordinator, Dr. Lauren Marx (or she can be contacted directly by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org ).
- Psychoeducational Screening
The purpose of this service is to screen for a variety of conditions and to determine whether more in-depth assessment is warranted. Often, our Screenings are sufficient to identify the factors that are contributing to the problem, and to make helpful recommendations. However, Screenings are not sufficient to assess for eligibility for disability accommodations, which requires a full assessment. For this reason, some students may want to skip our Screening and be referred to a professional who can provide them with this service.
If you choose to do a Screening, you will complete a set of questionnaires and meet with a member of our assessment team for an interview and a feedback session. The total time commitment is about 2-3 hours and there is no charge. To schedule a screening, please come by our office and complete the paperwork for an initial screening appointment.
More information about the process can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. Should I get a screening at your center or should I pursue a full assessment elsewhere?
Our screenings are designed to help determine whether a full assessment is warranted. In some cases, the screening may be sufficient to understand the problem. However, if it appears likely that ADHD and/or LD are present, further assessment will be needed. If you are fairly certain that you have ADHD and/or LD, you may be best served by investigating all of your options for obtaining an assessment, including checking with the Regents Center and with your insurance. If you are unsure of the nature of your difficulties and want a professional opinion before committing to a full assessment, our screenings may be the way to go.
2. I am feeling a sense of urgency regarding getting an assessment for the purposes of applying for educational accommodations, what should I do?
First, read the university guidelines regarding the documentation and accommodation of disabilities in the University System of Georgia Academic Affairs Handbook. You can also find much of this information on the Office of Disability Services website. Second, contact the Office of Disability Services for further guidance. Third, explore all of your options for assessment, including the Regents Center and psychologists in private practice, to find the service that is most expedient.
If you think you may have ADHD and/or LD, a screening at our center may only delay you. Our screening can only estimate the likelihood of ADHD and/or LD, but cannot establish a diagnosis. Also, our screening report will not be accepted by Office of Disability Services as adequate documentation of a disability due to ADHD and/or LD. However, our screening process is often sufficient to diagnose a variety of other disorders (e.g., mood or anxiety disorders), and in these cases, we may be able to produce a report that provides adequate documentation for accommodations due to impairment from these disorders.
3. How do I pursue an assessment at the Regent's Center for Learning Disorders?
Students must first obtain a referral and an assessment packet from the Georgia Tech Office of Disability Services office. Complete the packet and return it to Office of Disability Services, who will send it to the Regents Center, who will contact you regarding scheduling an appointment.
4. I think I have a learning disorder, where should I go?
We can screen for learning disorders, but we do not have all of the tests to diagnose them. In other words, our screening can estimate the likelihood that you have LD (based on your history and a limited number of tests). We recommend that you consider the services offered by the Regents Center and contact your insurance company to see if you have coverage for an assessment.
5. If I choose to pursue an assessment with a psychologist in private practice, what should I ask?
Ask them: "What is your training and experience in conducting psychoeducational assessments?"; "Are you familiar with the criteria for providing documentation for accommodations contained in University System of Georgia Academic Affairs Handbook?"; and “Will my insurance cover the cost of the assessment and do you file or do I file for coverage?” Please see our guide to using your insurance coverage to access a referral.