Evaluations

What sets us apart? The Insights Model™.

The assessment team at Insights, Colorado Assessment & Therapy utilizes a unique approach to diagnostic evaluations. We believe that an in-depth assessment of an individual should never be done in isolation with only one clinician. Instead, we employ a team of skilled clinicians; Dr. Cason and Dr. Dumke, both founders and directors of Insights, are involved in every evaluation, lending their 50+ years of experience to every diagnostic evaluation that comes through our door. By utilizing The Insights Model™, we have a team of specialized professionals participating and contributing to the outcome of each evaluation. Having two or more clinicians involved in each evaluation allows for an in-depth analysis regarding diagnosis and recommendations. Additionally, using this team approach also allows all the testing to typically be completed in one day, instead of multiple visits to the office.

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Autism Spectrum

Our clinical assessment team has extensive experience conducting diagnostic evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are experts in the field and use the gold standards in autism assessment tools such as the ADOS-2 (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition) and the ADI-R (Autism Diagnostic Interview, Revised).  Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy offers diagnostic evaluations to individuals of all ages.

The presentation of Autism Spectrum Disorder is variable across individuals due to differences in severity, age, gender, personality, life experiences and many other factors. Our assessment team takes an individual approach to each evaluation, with a focus on seeking answers regarding next steps. We understand that the process may be anxiety producing and stressful, and we take our time to listen to your story.

Autism Evaluation Information:

We evaluate children as young as 12 months, with a focus on the development of reciprocal interactions, developing communication, play skills and other behaviors. Early intervention services are important for addressing developmental delays. An ASD evaluation is important for accessing community services and establishing initial treatment goals. The assessment results also allow for future comparisons to measure growth.

Disorder undetected or missed until they are older. Other diagnoses, such as ADHD or language delays may make accurate diagnosis of ASD more difficult to determine. As a result, social-communication differences associated with ASD may not be as noticeable until the early teenage years. Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy also conducts re-evaluations of older children and teenagers with prior diagnoses of ASD in order to determine progress and identify needs as they transition into adolescence or young adulthood. Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy clinicians conduct thorough clinical interviews as well as administer psychological testing to obtain clarification of the teenager’s diagnosis and develop appropriate treatment recommendations.

An adult’s life can be greatly impacted by symptoms of ASD, whether they are subtle or more overt. Adults with ASD have often spent their life struggling to effectively communicate with others, connect in relationships, and successfully put their skills to use in the workplace. Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy clinicians seek to support the adult through the assessment process in order to determine if they meet criteria for ASD based on the results of clinical interviews and psychological testing. For adults with a prior diagnosis of ASD, re-evaluation can help to determine current levels of need and assist with treatment planning.

Girls and women on the Autism Spectrum often present differently than males on the Spectrum. Current research has found that females with ASD are often misdiagnosed due to their different presentation paired with historically male-biased research. Dr. Dumke and Dr. Cason both have extensive experience evaluating girls and women with ASD, as well as working with them in psychotherapy. Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy clinicians are able to use their clinical experience to assess women for ASD characteristics which may be masked through various coping skills or societal norms. We have a reputation in our community for understanding the nuances and uniqueness of women on the spectrum.

Individuals seeking evaluation may not fit neatly in society’s traditional expectations regarding their gender or sexuality. Insights, Colorado Assessment and Therapy is welcoming of all individuals seeking diagnostic evaluations.

  • Difficulty with Social Communication
    • Reduced social-emotional reciprocity such as limited conversation skills or difficulty expressing empathy
    • Difficulty using or reading nonverbal communication such as limited use of eye contact, gestures, or facial expressions
    • Difficulty playing with peers or developing friendships appropriate to their developmental level.This can look like a total disinterest in peers or lack of skills to make friends
  • Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities
    • Repetitive speech (repeating things over and over) or motor mannerisms (such as hand flapping)
    • Excessive adherence to routine/resistance to change
    • Special interests (becoming obsessed or fixated on one or more activities/topics/areas of interests
    • Highly sensitive (defensive or seeking) to certain sensory input such as sound, light, or touch

The evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorder, at its core, uses the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scales, Second Edition and the Autism Diagnostic Interview- Revised, considered the gold standard for ASD evaluations. Additionally, the clinicians obtain relevant history and other important clinical information. Because mood disorders, executive dysfunction and sensory processing are often impacted in individuals with ASD, our clinicians obtain information about those possible symptoms as well. Following the evaluation, a feedback appointment will be scheduled, at which time the results and recommendations will be discussed and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. A thorough report will be provided to you soon after the feedback meeting.

We are sometimes asked if coming in for an ASD evaluation means that the diagnosis will definitely be given. We are bound by our ethical code to provide as accurate a diagnosis as we are clinically able to determine. By the time individuals have found us, they have ruled out many other diagnoses and have been referred by providers who reasonably believe the individual has ASD. However, many diagnoses have similar symptoms and another diagnosis (or even no diagnosis) may be a more accurate finding.

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FASD

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDS) is an umbrella term encompasses other conditions associated with fetal alcohol exposure such as fetal alcohol effects (FAE), partial FAS (PFAS), alcohol related birth defects (ARBD) and alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND).

The majority of  individuals who have FASD live with significant cognitive, behavioural, health and  learning difficulties, including problems with memory, attention, cause and effect reasoning, impulsivity, receptive language and adaptive functioning difficulties.  These difficulties are lifelong and have a significant impact on behaviour.  Positive outcomes can be achieved when parents are appropriately supported to understand their child’s behaviour as a symptom of brain damage.

The effects of FASD vary considerably and  it is sometimes referred to as the ‘invisible disability’ as it often goes undetected, whether it be overlooked, ignored, attributed to another known non-genetic condition or even simply blamed on ‘poor’ parenting or post birth environments. Characteristic features (physical, developmental and/or neurobehavioural) within the FASD spectrum are seldom apparent at birth unless accompanied by specific facial and growth factors that occur less frequently. FASD is often not noticed until the child reaches school age when behavioural and learning difficulties become more evident.

 

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ADHD

Do you wonder if you or your child might have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? AD/HD appears differently depending on age, personality, life experiences, the setting, and type of AD/HD.

ADHD Evaluation Information:

PREDOMINATELY INATTENTIVE TYPE

Individuals with this type of AD/HD may have trouble paying attention/focusing, difficulty finishing or following through with tasks and are typically easily distracted by what is going on in the environment. While people with inattentive AD/HD may be able to focus on highly preferred or stimulating activities such as video games or TV for long periods of time, the inattentiveness is a problem for school, work, or chores. Their distractibility may also cause them to miss important social cues, causing them to have difficulties in forming or maintaining relationships or seem socially immature.

PREDOMINATELY HYPERACTIVE TYPE

Individuals with this type of AD/HD may have difficulty sitting still and may talk excessively or interrupt others. They may have difficulty waiting their turn or act without thinking, which interferes with completing necessary daily activities. Although people with hyperactive AD/HD may be able to sit still when engaged in a highly stimulating activity such as playing videogames or channel their energy into sports, their impulsive behaviors often result in difficulties in settings where they are required to sit still and attend, such as in the classroom or workplace.

COMBINED PRESENTATION

It is possible to have both Inattentive/distractible and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms of AD/HD, resulting in a diagnosis of “AD/HD, Combined presentation”. People with both inattentiveness and hyperactivity may find it difficult to complete tasks and sustain focus, as well as manage their activity level, to such a degree that it interferes with their ability to be successful in the workplace, school, or even relationships.

Children may show symptoms of AD/HD in early childhood, but, due to the normal variation of behavior and energy levels in children, AD/HD cannot be diagnosed until the child is at least 6 years old. On a rare occasion, however, symptoms may be so severe that a provisional diagnosis of AD/HD can be given to a 5-year-old child.

It is not unusual for adolescents or adults to seek a diagnosis of AD/HD. Increased school or work demands may make symptoms more apparent. Sometimes the parent of a child recently diagnosed with AD/HD may recognize symptoms in themselves. It is not too late for a teenage or adult to be evaluated for AD/HD.

The evaluation of AD/HD looks at a variety of cognitive, behavioral, social and organizational symptoms that are associated with a diagnosis of AD/HD. Because mood disorders, executive dysfunction and sensory processing are often present in individuals with AD/HD, our clinicians obtain information about those possible symptoms as well.  In children, mood disorders and sleep disorders may elicit AD/HD symptoms, and differential diagnosis is required. Following the evaluation, a feedback appointment will be scheduled, at which time the results and recommendations will be discussed and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. A thorough report will be provided to you soon after the feedback meeting.

We are sometimes asked if coming in for an AD/HD evaluation means that the diagnosis will definitely be given. We are bound by our ethical code to provide as accurate a diagnosis as we are clinically able to determine. By the time individuals have found us, they may have ruled out other diagnoses or have been referred by providers who reasonably believe the individual has AD/HD. However, many diagnoses have similar symptoms and another diagnosis (or even no diagnosis) may be a more accurate finding.

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Learning Differences

Do you wonder if you or your child might have a Learning Disorder? Learning disorder appear differently depending on age, personality, life experiences, the setting, and type of learning disorder(s).

A learning disorder is considered to be a biologically based neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs the ability to process information at an expected level

Learning Disorder Evaluation Information:

TYPES OF LEARNING DISORDERS

Specific learning disorder, with impairment in reading

This diagnosis if given when there is a substantial and qualitative difference in reading accuracy, rate, fluency and/or comprehension. This disorder is also known as dyslexia. An individual with dyslexia often struggles to accurately or fluently read, may struggle to sound out words, and may misspell words. The individual may also have difficulty with tasks of reading comprehension. Dyslexia frequently impacts math skills as well.

Specific learning disorder, with impairment in written expression

This diagnosis if given when there is a substantial and qualitative difference in spelling accuracy, grammar and punctuation, and written organization such as leaving out letters, words or spaces. The individual’s handwriting skills are often well below expected level, making their writing difficult to read. This disorder is also known as dysgraphia.

Specific learning disorder, with impairment in mathematics

This diagnosis if given when there is a substantial and qualitative difference in mathematical skills, such as mathematical concepts and quantities, memorization of math facts, fluency in calculation and accuracy in reasoning necessary for mathematical calculations. This disorder is also known as dyscalculia.

Learning disabilities cannot be determined until in elementary school, when instruction formally addresses the skills of reading, writing and mathematics. Although early signs may be present in preschool years, such as problems with language development, different learning styles and developmental trajectories make it necessary to wait until later to accurately identify a learning disorder.

Leaning disorders are lifelong, but present in different ways. For example, although they may be able to read, it is often an effortful process. Other symptoms may include deficits in spelling, mathematical reasoning, and difficulty pronouncing complex words. Adolescents and adults with learning disorders may struggle to understand concepts and draw important information from what they have read and may seek to avoid tasks that are impacts by their learning differences.

The evaluation of learning disorders looks at a variety of cognitive, achievement, attention, language and other symptoms that are associated with symptoms of learning disorders. Following the evaluation, a feedback appointment will be scheduled, at which time the results and recommendations will be discussed, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. A thorough report will be provided to you soon after the feedback meeting.

We are sometimes asked if coming in for a learning disability evaluation means that the diagnosis will definitely be given. We are bound by our ethical code to provide as accurate a diagnosis as we are clinically able to determine. By the time individuals have found us, they may have ruled out other diagnoses or have been referred by providers who reasonably believe the individual has a learning disorder. However, many diagnoses have similar symptoms and another diagnosis (or even no diagnosis) may be a more accurate finding.

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Adoption/Surrogacy

We specialize in providing assessment for individuals and couples pursuing domestic and international adoption as well as prospective parents interested in third party reproduction using such techniques as donor egg, sperm, embryo, surrogacy or gestational carrier.  We understand this can be an emotional and long journey.  Let us guide you through this piece of your journey to parenthood in a gentle, empathic, and experienced way.  Our clinicians have professional expertise as well as personal experience of the world of adoption and surrogacy.  We support ALL intended parents including single parents and LGBTQ couples.  We understand and are here to help!

Adoption/Surrogacy Services:
  • In the state of Colorado, women who are considering becoming a surrogate or gestational carrier must complete a psychological assessment by a trained, licensed psychologist. We understand that for each woman considering surrogacy, her decision process is unique.  At Insights, Colorado Assessment & Therapy, we are here to support you in your wish to help others become parents.  The purpose of the evaluation is intended to ensure the woman fully understands the journey she is about the embark on.  The assessment typically includes:

 

    • In depth Interview
      • The interview is a place to talk with a psychologist who is trained in issues related to infertility, surrogacy, embryo adoption, etc. about your reasons for your decision, how the pregnancy may affect you and/or your family, what emotions to expect when it is time to relinquish the baby to the intended parents, etc. If you are in a relationship, your partner will be interviewed as well.  The psychologist will be assessing your resolve and readiness for proceeding with the process.
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    • Psychological Evaluation
      • The psychological evaluation portion of the assessment consists of a standardized measure called the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI). The PAI is an objective inventory of adult personality, the PAI assesses psychopathological syndromes and provides information relevant for clinical diagnosis, treatment planning, and screening for psychopathology. Administration time usually takes about an hour.
  • Adoption is close to our hearts here at Insights, Colorado Assessment & Therapy. We recognize that the road to adoption is a long one and that everyone’s story is unique.  While everyone’s adoption story will be different, the assessment piece remains the same.  We understand, both professionally and personally, what a daunting experience this can be and we are here to support you through the assessment process required of prospective adoptive parents.  The assessment typically includes:
    • In depth Interview
      • The interview process usually takes about 3 hours during which time you will talk with one of our clinicians as a couple (if applicable) and then individually. The psychologist will gather information related to your childhood history, support system, reasons for pursuing adoption, and your readiness to become parents. 
    • Psychological Evaluation
      • The psychological evaluation portion of the assessment consists of a standardized measure called the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Second Edition (MMPI-2). The MMPI-2 is the most widely used psychometric test for measuring adult psychopathology in the world. It is used in mental health, medical and employment settings.
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Cognitive/IQ

We frequently conduct cognitive/IQ testing for children and adults.  These measures assist in capturing an individual’s overall cognitive strengths and weaknesses including processing speed and working memory skills.  Cognitive testing is often required for private school admission testing, as part of applying for community centered boards, and/or disability determination.  Additionally, cognitive testing can be very helpful in learning more about an individual’s learning profile, which benefits educational and treatment planning.

We administer the following cognitive measures:

For children:

  • Mullen Scales of Early Learning
  • Differential Ability Scale, Second Edition (DAS-II) Early Years Battery
  • Differential Ability Scale, Second Edition (DAS-II) School Age Battery
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V)

For adults:

  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale– Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)

 

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Adaptive Testing

We routinely administer adaptive testing as part of a comprehensive evaluation, but also conduct adaptive testing for children and adults.  We use the Vineland-3, to yield a snapshot of an individual’s current functioning in the areas of communication, activities of daily living, social skills, and coping skills.  The measure is a structured interview administered to a parent or caregiver and can be done in person or remotely.  The Vineland-3 is often required as part of an application to apply for social security disability services or for waiver services through community centered boards. 

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Giftedness

Cognitive testing is important for identifying intellectual giftedness. We offer cognitive testing using the Wechsler intelligence tests, the Woodcock Johnson, or the Differential Abilities Scales, depending on the client’s specific needs. Not all intellectually gifted individuals present in the same manner. Some gifted children thrive in educational settings and present in a classically gifted manner. Other academically gifted individuals may appear to be either highly sensitive and requiring a great deal of support and reassurance or they may be more obstinate and defiant, often challenging teachers and not conforming to systemic expectations.  Gifted children may also have learning differences, which classifies them as twice exceptional. Identifying learning differences can assist in supporting those individuals with additional supports through an IEP or 504 Plan, in addition to an Advanced Learning Plan. If you have concerns about learning disabilities in addition to giftedness, please see our Learning Differences section.

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