The mission of the Heritage Diagnostic and Assessment Center is to offer excellent, state-of-the art assessment services, rooted in best practices from the professional literature and focused on being responsive, collaborative and relevant to the needs of those served.
- Personality assessment
- Psychiatric concerns (anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating concerns, etc.)
- Emotional/social functioning
- Learning Disabilities
- ADHD/Executive Functions
- Behavioral/conduct concerns
- Neuropsychological evaluations (intellectual, memory, visual-motor, etc.)
- Ministry evaluations (clergy/ordinand, missions pre-field)
- Adoption evaluations
- Gifted testing
- High functioning Autism/Spectrum related concerns
- Cognitive/Academic strengths and challenges
- Testing for Accommodations (ACT, SAT, AP, etc.)
- Wellness evaluations (for International Student Programs)
Testing & Assessment
Psychological testing and assessment provides valuable information toward better understanding of one’s presenting concerns. Practical recommendations are also given to guide and direct treatment (or educational/vocational decisions) for more timely and effective outcomes.
Achievement testing looks at what a person has learned in specific academic subjects such as math, reading, written language, oral expression, and spelling. Achievement tests such as the Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement or Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Third Edition are often times used for this purpose.
Frequently, an achievement test is given together with a standard intelligence test such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC-V for children and adolescents; or WAIS-IV for late adolescents and adults) or Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ IV COG). The IQ test can tell us what someone should be capable of learning whereas the achievement test tells us what the person has actually learned.
Achievement testing can provide useful information on what a problem may be (if any), but more in-depth testing is typically needed to answer why a problem may exist. In the latter case, testing for either a learning disability or processing strengths and weaknesses may be warranted.
To request this kind of testing, call (630) 325-5300 and ask to complete an intake.
In the course of pursuing an international or domestic adoption, prospective parents are oftentimes asked to complete a psychological evaluation. The focus of this evaluation is typically geared towards obtaining a picture of their psychological well-being, relational style and readiness for adoption. Heritage psychologists who specialize in adoption evaluations understand the lengthy and involved process of adoption and work closely with the sending agency and the prospective parents to provide timely and helpful evaluations.
To request this kind of testing, call (630) 325-5300 and ask to complete an intake.
ADHD/Executive Functions Testing
At times, a person may experience difficulties in completing tasks, staying focused, organized and/or managing impulsivity. This may raise a concern related to possible Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD, either inattentive, hyperactive presentation or both) and/or executive dysfunction.
An ADHD evaluation consists of:
- A diagnostic interview to get a better picture of presenting symptoms and concerns (including how long they have occurred, the extent to which they are creating impairment and if they occur in more than one setting). Often with younger children, the parent interview may occur first before the child comes for the evaluation. This diagnostic interview will also seek to determine the possible presence of other conditions which may mimic ADHD (such as depression, anxiety, motivational problems, substance abuse problems, learning disabilities and in rare cases, psychotic disorders).
For school-age children and adolescents, this may also include a review of any prior evaluations and school records including report cards and standardized testing.
- If ADHD looks like a possibility, then standardized rating forms are distributed. With children, the rating forms are completed by parents and teachers. With teens, parents, teachers, and the teen fills out the forms. With adults, the adult being evaluated fills out a self-report form and then others complete these forms as well (such as a spouse, friend, co-worker). A key question answered by these forms is whether or not the symptoms are beyond what is typical for someone’s age and gender. Common rating forms used at Heritage include the Behavior Rating Form of Executive Function (BRIEF2/BRIEFA) as well as the Conner’s Scales.
- In some cases, direct measurement of ADHD symptoms and/or executive functions is also recommended. This oftentimes includes direct measures of various executive functions such as attention, concentration and impulsivity (to name a few). Performance measures and/or neuropsychological tests may be given based on the age of the person and the presenting concerns.
- It is not unusual for other conditions to develop because of the presence of ADHD. Given this, there may be additional testing to evaluate for depression, anxiety, or other conditions which commonly occur in conjunction with ADHD.
- The results are then synthesized into a brief report which includes the findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
If you would like to have an ADHD evaluation conducted at Heritage Professional Associates, call our main number at (630) 325-5300 and ask to complete an intake.
Character Strengths and Virtues Evaluation
This type of evaluation looks at the presence in someone of the six primary virtues and the various character strengths which are part of each virtue, based upon Peterson and Seligman’s seminal work: Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. These include:
1. Wisdom / knowledge
- Love of learning
- Perspective (wisdom)
- Social intelligence
- Forgiveness and mercy
- Humility / modesty
- Self Regulation
- Appreciation of beauty
This model has been combined with the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (PDM) to produce a new, experimental instrument developed by Keith A. Baird, Ph.D., ABPP of Heritage Professional Associates, called A Brief Survey of General Strengths and Weaknesses. This is a different model to help determine the goals of treatment, and to highlight a person’s character strengths which will be called upon to help the person meet his/her goals.
Forensic Evaluations refer to a specific kind of assessment that occurs within the context of some kind of court-related activity. This can include assessing someone’s fitness to stand trial, or to assess mental health factors which could have a bearing on someone’s capacity to understand that what they did was wrong. These assessments sometimes occur in order to assist the court in what to do with someone at sentencing. Often, the assessments include a variety of psychological tests.
Gifted testing is a specific type of testing which can identify exceptional students who may benefit from an enriched learning environment. Heritage psychologist can provide this testing and make recommendations for school placement (ex. gifted schools) and/or various enrichment activities geared to specific intellectual and emotional needs of the student. Social and emotional testing may also be included in these evaluations as needed.
Learning Disability Evaluation
A learning disability (LD) evaluation is designed to look into specific processing deficits which are not due to intelligence, motivation problems, or other diagnosable factors such as ADHD/ADD, depression or anxiety. Concerns may be initially raised when a student does not achieve adequately for his/her age or meet state-approved grade-level standards in one or more of the following areas:
- Basic reading skills
- Reading fluency
- Mathematics calculation
- Oral expression
- Written expression
- Reading comprehension
- Mathematics problem solving
- Listening comprehension
Newer approaches to LD evaluations use a variety of tests (cognitive, neuropsychological, educational, achievement) in order to examine both the achievement areas of concern (ex. reading comprehension, math calculation) along with the underlying neurocognitive processes which support this area of learning. Achievement testing alone provides information on “what” a problem is, but does not provide information on “why” it is a problem. A comprehensive LD evaluation which focuses on patterns of strengths and weaknesses (PSW) provides valuable information on both the “what” and the “why” which are contributing to the academic difficulties; this provides greater clarity on what specific interventions and accommodations would be most helpful.
A good LD evaluation also includes a comprehensive diagnostic interview by a licensed clinical psychologist. The purpose of this interview is to make sure that other problems, which can look like learning disabilities are the primary cause of the learning difficulties. Issues such as ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, psychotic disorders, and low intelligence may contribute to (or mimic) difficulties in learning. In some cases, if other concerns are present, is may be important for them to be treated before formal LD testing can occur. This helps to clarify that the learning difficulties are due to true, underlying processing deficits rather than other factors.
If you would like a LD evaluation conducted by a Heritage psychologist who specializes in providing these comprehensive evaluations, call our main number at (630) 325-5300 and ask to complete an intake.
Evaluations such as clergy/ordinand evaluations or pre-field assessments may be requested for those who seek greater involvement in ministry, either within the local church or parachurch organization or abroad within a missions context. These evaluations typically provide information on a person’s emotional and relational health, interpersonal style, and coping strategies. The evaluation process typically involves a personal interview and some tests completed independently. With your written permission, the Heritage psychologist providing the evaluation will also be in contact with your organization or religious denomination as needed to provide the information needed.
If you would like to get started on a psychological evaluation, please call our main number at (630) 325-5300 and ask to do an intake.
Neuropsychological evaluations vary in complexity. At Heritage, we offer neuropsychological testing related to neurodevelopmental disorders such as learning disabilities, ADHD and autism spectrum related concerns (see website areas on Learning Disabilities and ADHD/Executive Functions for more information). Testing related to traumatic brain injury, concussions, memory functions and dementia is also available. This testing is conducted by clinical psychologists who have received additional training in neuropsychology and/or the use of neuropsychological tests.
We also can measure attention, concentration, intelligence and achievement. We can assess for mental flexibility associated with frontal lobe functioning. But for the more complex kinds of neuropsychological evaluations designed to detect other kinds of functional brain impairments, we may refer out to neuropsychologists in the Chicagoland area.
Personality Assessment and Testing
At times, it may be helpful to gain clarity on aspects of one’s personality, including one’s relational style, approach to conflict, style of handling stress and emotions as well as one’s view of the world and others. These evaluations typically include an interview with a psychologist, personality tests; sometimes projective tests may be included as well. One’s personality strengths/adaptive factors are identified as well as areas for growth/possible risk factors.
If you would like to obtain a personality assessment, please call our main number at (630) 325-5300 and ask to do an intake.
At times, a person may struggle with behavior/conduct, social, emotional and/or psychiatric concerns (anxiety, depression, bipolar, eating concerns, trauma, etc.); psychological evaluations can provide diagnostic clarity and helpful recommendations to guide therapeutic care.
Typically, an evaluation consists of a review of previous information (ex. prior evaluations, prior treatment records, school records of job performance reviews), clinical interview, psychological testing designed to address the referral question(s). A report is then written which contains a summary of the testing results along with specific recommendations. Our evaluations conform to the standards of the American Psychological Association regarding psychological testing.
If you would like to obtain a psychological evaluation, please call our main number at (630) 325-5300 and ask to do an intake.
Wellness evaluations can be provided as a part of Boarding Programs/Exchange Programs for international students who are studying in the United States. These evaluations typically focus on the adjustment of the student to the U.S. culture, including their strengths and any possible risk factors (such as emotional concerns) which may affect their positive adjustment. Heritage psychologists work closely with schools/boarding programs in order to provide culturally relevant and timely evaluations to help facilitate the student’s positive well-being while enrolled in the program.