THE CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PROGRAM (CATS)
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT TESTING SERVICE (CATS)
The Child and Adolescent Testing Service (CATS) provides evaluations for children and adolescents who have neuropsychological and/or psychological difficulties that are interfering with their ability to manage demands at home, at school, and/or with their peer group. The goal of the evaluation is to help parents better understand why their child is struggling and how to be helpful. This can involve providing a diagnosis along with specific recommendations that can be used by parents, the school, and other professionals who are working with the child. The evaluation includes an interview with the parent, 2 days of neuropsychological, psychological, and academic testing with the child, and a follow up meeting to review the results with the parents. A written report with specific results and recommendations will follow within a month from the feedback meeting.
Who do we evaluate at CATS?
We evaluate children and adolescents from the ages of 5 to 22 who are experiencing neuropsychological and/or psychological difficulties. Some of our patients have a primary learning disorder such as dyslexia and others have more pervasive neuropsychological difficulties such as Nonverbal Learning Disability or ADHD. We also see patients whose primary area of difficulty is psychiatric. Often our patients are struggling with both neuropsychological and emotional difficulties. Although our evaluations are “diagnostic,” we also see patients who already have diagnoses, but who still need help with treatment and/or educational planning. Disorders we typically evaluate include:
- Nonverbal Learning Disability
- Mood Disorders
- Specific Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic Disorders
- Executive Functioning Difficulties
- Other psychiatric disorders
- Other neuropsychological conditions
Individuals who are not fluent in English, who have significant sensory or motor difficulties that require specialized testing procedures, or who have Autism or moderate to severe Pervasive Developmental Disorder are not able to be accommodated at CATS and will be referred elsewhere.
What kind of evaluation do we do at CATS?
We provide a comprehensive evaluation that consists of several kinds of testing. We use the testing results from to get a complete picture of your child or adolescent so that we can be as helpful as possible when making recommendations. All components of the evaluation are required and include:
- Interview with the parents
- Review of relevant records and previous evaluations
- Information obtained from the school
- Information obtained from other relevant professionals
- Administration of Neuropsychological Testing
- Administration of Psychological Testing
- Administration of Academic Testing
- Feedback meeting with parents (and adolescent if appropriate)
- Written Report
Who will be evaluating your child?
We use a team model at CATS. You will meet with an Evaluation Coordinator who is a senior clinician and is involved in every aspect of the evaluation procedure and who works closely with the post-doctoral fellow and the academic evaluator throughout the evaluation to conduct the initial interview, the testing, the feedback, and the written report. Case coordinators are experienced clinicians who have a specialized background in pediatric neuropsychology and psychology along with knowledge of the educational system.
How to schedule an evaluation
The first step is to contact our intake coordinator, Theresa Crotty, by calling her at 617-855-3560 or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Referral Form will be sent to you for completion that will allow us to obtain some preliminary information about your child and your reason for wanting an evaluation. The intake coordinator will also obtain your insurance information so that we can verify your benefits. Once the amount that your insurance will cover for the evaluation has been determined, we will send you a Letter of Agreement outlining the costs.
Evaluation costs and payment options at CATS
The evaluation that is provided at CATS is comprehensive and only partially covered by insurance. Some insurance plans will cover some of the cost of the testing. Please note that academic testing is not considered medically necessary and therefore is not covered by insurance. The cost is $1,000. Once we receive your signed Letter of Agreement along with your $1,000 deposit check or credit card payment, your appointment will be scheduled.
- Using Your Insurance. CATS accepts many Blue Cross, Tufts, and United Behavioral Health plans. If your insurance is not one of these plans, we can take your insurance information and verify whether we can accept it. To have your insurance benefits verified, contact the intake coordinator at 617-855-3560.
We will also assist you in determining benefits and prior insurance authorization if necessary. When authorization is required in advance by the plan, typically a form will need to be completed with information regarding the need for testing. If your child already is being seen by a professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker) who knows your child well, you can ask that person to obtain the prior authorization and complete any necessary paperwork.
If you prefer that we submit the form, we will need to schedule a brief telephone interview with you to obtain the information about your child that is necessary for us to submit to your insurance company.
Once Your Appointment is Booked
You will be sent forms to be completed by you, your child’s school, and any professionals involved in the care of your child (e.g. counselor, medication prescriber). This packet will need to be returned along with your child’s records at least 2 weeks prior to your child’s appointment. The packet will include directions, forms, and important information you will need for your child’s first day of testing. We will also send you a schedule with detailed descriptions of the two days of testing.
- Feedback Meeting. We will schedule a one and half hour feedback meeting 2 weeks after the first day of testing. This is an opportunity for parents and guardians to talk with the Evaluation Coordinator about your child’s test results. The goal is use the testing information to address your specific concerns and questions, to talk about diagnostic conclusions, and to make recommendations about next steps. If your child is an adolescent and we determine that it is important for him or her to have a feedback meeting, this will be arranged as well, and will be included in the cost of the evaluation.
- Written Report. We will mail you a written report approximately a month after the feedback meeting. This written report includes information about the different kinds of testing that we did, how your child performed, what conclusions we came to, and recommendations for you, the professionals with whom your child works, and the school.