It is not uncommon for parents to have a variety of questions regarding diagnoses and their child. We ensure a comprehensive evaluation process tailored to each child to better understand a number of presenting concerns.

Magnolia Connection psychologists conduct consultations as the first step for each evaluation client, and they are available for psychological testing, neuropsychological testing, psychoeducational (academic) testing, and intellectual disability evaluations.

The typical “concerns” evaluated include:

ADHD may be questioned when the primary concerns are related to executive functioning skills. This relates to a child’s ability to manage their attention and focus, body and movement, and emotion regulation.  Children with ADHD may have difficulties managing multiple-step instructions, organizing tasks or materials, or sustaining attention.  Some children with ADHD may also experience difficulties with impulsivity, waiting their turn, and managing their bodies.

Autism is commonly suspected when a child is experiencing social challenges, has difficulties regulating emotions and sensory sensitivities. Individuals with autism have a tendency to be repetitive in behaviors or interests and show a preference for sameness (which can also look like inflexibility or a tendency to be black and white in terms of their thoughts). It is often difficult for children with autism to communicate thoughts and emotions effectively, which is a common reason for referral.

Learning disabilities are often suspected when a child is not progressing in one or more academic areas as expected based on the academic instruction provided. Learning difficulties are a neurodevelopmental disorder with biological origins and tend to run in families. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is categorized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, along with poor spelling and decoding abilities. Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder of written expression that impairs writing ability and fine motor skills. Difficulties in math may indicate the presence of a specific math disability.

Note: Learning Disability testing is not covered by insurance and is subject to cash pay.

There are some underlying medical conditions or treatments that contribute to changes in memory, processing speed, attention, or other aspects of learning. Testing is often recommended for children with a history of brain tumor, sickle cell anemia, genetic syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, or seizure disorders. It is also recommended for children post-treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

It is often difficult to discern typical teenage angst from a clinical diagnosis of depression. Or perhaps your child is presenting with high and lows in mood, leading to questions about bipolar disorder or a disruptive mood disorder. At times, you may wonder if your child is simply choosing not to do a task or whether they truly can’t do a task. Regardless of the psychological question or concern, our comprehensive evaluation process will help give you answers regarding clinical diagnoses that may be impacting your child.
Accompanying intellectual impairments are not uncommon in some children with autism or other genetic or neurological diagnoses. Testing can be conducted to determine if a child will qualify for the Iowa Intellectual Disability Waiver program.

If you are ready to join us on the journey of better understanding you or your child, you may complete the intake packet found here. Once the packet has been submitted, we will contact you to schedule the evaluation appointments.

If you have questions regarding any of our services, connect with us to share what you are looking for in regards to testing on our website under “Get in touch” or by calling us at (515) 994-8255.

Download our Welcome Letter to better understand the testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Psychological/Neuropsychological testing includes using a range of testing materials, assessment tools, and observations to arrive at a diagnosis and guide future treatment. The process is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the child’s unique strengths and needs.

We typically conduct 3 separate appointments for evaluation clients.

The first appointment is our virtual consultation. In-person appointments are also available by request. At this appointment, the clinician meets with the parents (or young adults if the client is over the age of 18) to learn more about the child and gather important history information. This conversation helps the clinician determine the best testing plan for each unique client. This appointment generally takes 90 minutes.

The second appointment is our in-person testing appointment. At this appointment, the child (or young adult) will meet one-on-one with the clinician to complete the testing. Testing appointments range between 2-6 hours, depending on the amount of testing that needs to be completed and the age of the child. Unless your child is under 5 years old, parents are generally not needed for this appointment. Parents may opt to wait in the lobby or when appropriate, may leave the office for a nearby location.  Breaks are offered throughout the appointment.  If the appointment is scheduled across the morning and afternoon, a lunch break will be offered.  There will be some limited snacks and drinks for you and your child, and we also recommend bringing preferred snacks.

The third appointment is a virtual feedback session. In person appointments are available by request. This appointment typically occurs 2-4 weeks after the testing. At this appointment, the clinician meets with the parents (or young adults if the client is over the age of 18) to go over the results from the testing. The clinician will discuss recommendations for the child and provide additional resources tailored to the child’s unique strengths and needs. The detailed report is generally provided within 1 week of the final appointment and includes this information, as well as data from the evaluation. This appointment generally takes between 60-90 minutes. For adolescents, an additional feedback session can be scheduled to review results. At this meeting, the focus is on providing positive feedback on the child’s performance and areas of strength. The child’s identification of challenges is often used as a starting point for a discussion on diagnosis (as appropriate). This meeting is typically brief and takes around 30 minutes.

You may schedule a follow-up visit with your clinician after the feedback session if additional assistance is needed regarding interventions or recommendations. A follow-up evaluation is often recommended in 2-3 years to monitor progress and re-evaluate treatment goals. Most commonly, the clinician will equip you with the information you need to take the next steps in supporting your child.

We provide testing for children aged 18 months through young adults up to age 22.

My child is on psychotropic medication. Should they take their medication on the day of the testing appointment?

This will be discussed during the intake appointment. Generally, we will have your child take their prescribed medications unless we agree upon an alternative plan.

The evaluation appointment will be completed with your child (or young adult) and the clinician. This testing process includes puzzles, blocks, visual challenges, and conversations. These are the tools used to best understand how your child’s brain works. If you have a younger child, let them know that they will be working with a teacher and playing different games and doing fun activities. For older children, you can explain that they are working with a doctor who helps children with school, friends, and feelings. The clinician will be figuring out how they learn best, help them with making friends, help them with their fears/worries, etc. (Feel free to tailor this to your child’s unique experiences).

The idea of taking your child for psychological testing can be intimidating or even scary. Here are some tips to help prepare your child.

  • Stick with the routine: Try to keep your regular schedule before the testing day. Make sure they eat a good breakfast and are well-rested.
  • Avoid the word “test”: When speaking with your child, do your best to avoid using the word “test” as this is intimidating to some children and may skew test results. Rather, explain to them that the clinician works with children and families to help them understand how they think and learn, and ultimately, to offer suggestions on how to help in areas where they may be experiencing difficulties. For younger children, referring to the clinician as a “teacher” rather than a “doctor” may be more appropriate.
  • Offer some insight: Be sure to give your child some information about what is happening. Remind them that their provider is who they will be seeing to increase their familiarity and comfort. Tell younger children that there will be toys and games for them to play with. School-aged children need to know they will be doing activities that could involve listening, talking, looking at pictures, building things, and drawing. Adolescents often benefit from knowing more about why they should want to participate. Often relating testing to areas they have complained about helps increase buy-in. For example, “I know that you have been frustrated with math this year, and the provider wants to try and help figure out why.” Offering this information will help prepare your child for what to expect and can set a positive tone for the day.
  • Take a breath: Trust the providers.t They will meet your child where they are and get the information needed. If you are nervous, your child may sense it. Take a breath and know it will be okay.

AETNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield/Wellmark, HealthPartners, and Midland’s Choice/Cigna.

Yes! When there are questions or concerns about academics and learning, we evaluate academic achievement performance across the areas of reading, writing, and math. Please note that learning disability testing is not deemed “medically necessary” by insurance providers, and therefore, it is not covered by insurance. This type of testing is subject to cash pay.

Yes! A consultation is an excellent option when you are navigating some difficult scenarios with your child, but are not sure where to start.  Within the consultation appointment, your clinician will address your concerns and identify the next steps to help you and your child.

Our Testing Team

At Magnolia Connection, we have two licensed Pediatric Psychologists and a licensed school psychologist who specializes in comprehensive testing for children, adolescents, and young adults.

Dr. Heather Soyer
Licensed Pediatric Psychologist
Meet Heather

Dr. Taylor Kutchen, PsyD
Licensed Pediatric Psychologist
Meet Taylor

Amanda Khader, Ed.S, tLMHC
Licensed School Psychologist and Mental Health Counselor
Meet Amanda