About this time last year, I wrote a post outlining five reasons one may consider a virtual neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation. At the time, COVID-19 was still very much disrupting the way we interacted, and schools were faced with tough decisions regarding in-person versus remote learning once again. For many parents, virtual evaluations still made sense given the continued dominance of COVID-19.
Fortunately, we are in a much better place as we enter the 2022-2023 school year. COVID-19 is under control, and children as young as 6 months are now eligible for a vaccine. Talk of remote learning has pretty much ended.
Interestingly, although my practice consists mainly of in-person evaluations, I continue to receive requests for virtual evaluations. The three main reasons why clients request virtual evaluations are:
- Convenience – scheduling virtual evaluations is much more flexible since it can be done anywhere and almost any time.
- Geography – clients anywhere in the state of Texas can receive a virtual evaluation.
- Comfort – many clients, particularly adolescents, prefer the remote nature of a virtual evaluation.
Since I began offering virtual evaluations in 2020, I have grown increasingly comfortable with the testing process. When I first started, I had questions regarding the value, validity, and reliability of virtual evaluations.
Well, those questions have been answered: YES! Virtual evaluations are not only valid and reliable, but they are also highly effective at identifying ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and other social/emotional difficulties, such as anxiety and depression.
What the Research Says
As early as Fall 2020, when it became clear that virtual evaluations would be necessary, researchers examined the effectiveness of remote neuropsychological examinations. Results of the study found that:
“Administering neuropsychology evaluations to children online in the comfort of their own homes is feasible and delivers results comparable to tests traditionally performed in a clinic, a new study indicates.”
Additionally, of the 58 children and adolescents who participated in the study, 94% of their caretakers and 90% of the clients stated:
“they were satisfied with home-based testing. If given a choice between remote or in-person, most indicated no preference.”
In another study in February 2021, researchers once again examined the “validity and clinical utility” of in-home teleneuropsychological evaluations. The study compared the effectiveness and experience of 111 virtual patients versus 120 in-person patients. With the exception of one particular assessment, the study found “[virtual] test scores did not significantly differ from in-person testing.” In general:
“These findings support the validity of in-home TNP testing compared with in-person neuropsychological testing.”
As virtual and remote environments become more commonplace in our daily lives, I expect the demand for virtual evaluations only to increase. Personally, I have found that children, adolescents, adults, and parents find virtual evaluations surprisingly effective, convenient, and, in many cases, preferable to in-person. And, as we see above, research exists to confirm this.
If you or your child suspect you are experiencing difficulties with attention and focus, or if you suspect a learning disability may impact reading, writing, or math, a virtual evaluation may be the quickest, easiest, and most affordable path to identifying the underlying issues.