Assessment Services

Types of Evaluations Assessment Services

Independent Educational Evaluations

Federal law (and common decency) mandates that students deserve and are required to receive access to a free and appropriate education. Sometimes, factors exist that make a student’s ability to receive such an education more difficult. When that happens, special support is required so that they can have the same opportunities to learn and socially interact as other students who do not experience those same challenges. Understanding a student’s unique needs is a partnership between the student and their parents or guardians, schools and educators, as well as clinical experts in the field who can help identify the unique challenges that students may face in the educational process.

At Capstone Psychological Services, we have trained clinicians who specialize in determining eligibility for special education – allowing us to assist in tailoring services, accommodations, and even school placement that is specific to the needs of each individual student. Each of our psychologists bring a wealth of knowledge and experience working with and evaluating school aged youth through young adults in the context of education law. Our experience includes working with translators to accommodate the needs of monolingual families, as well as extensive experience providing testimony (including in Due Process Hearings) based on our evaluations. 

What is involved in an IEE?

IEEs typically occur when there is a disagreement between the IEP Team and a student’s family or advocate, resulting in the need for an independent evaluation. Whether it is the District or the student’s family to request and pay for the evaluation, the school must always consider the results in an IEP meeting after it is completed.

Our psychologists at Capstone observe the student at school, interview school staff and family members, and then design an individualized battery of tests to be written into a comprehensive report. In addition to providing feedback to the student’s family, our psychologists also attend the next IEP Team Meeting to discuss the results in context of supporting the student’s needs. Our psychologists also have extensive experience with expert testimony, including Due Process Hearings, and are able to provide such services if needed.

ADHD and Learning Disability Evaluations

At Capstone, we provide comprehensive ADHD and Learning Disability evaluations for both children and adults, utilizing the most up to date and comprehensive testing measures. ADHD and Learning Disabilities are both developmental disorders that, at times, can occur together and cause difficulties at school or at work. Such difficulties can result in mounting stress and it is common for individuals to feel a sense of frustration, anxiety, or depressive symptoms as a result of feeling as though things are more difficult for them than for other people their age.

A typical ADHD and/or learning disability evaluation will include an in-depth clinical interview with both the client or student, as well as additional information being gathered from family and school settings. Clinical and neuropsychological tests assessing for key areas of functioning are also included, allowing for an in-depth understanding of a person’s functioning across a variety of environments. Additional consideration is given to the variety of mental health conditions that can also impact and affect a person’s functioning across a variety of settings. A Comprehensive report and feedback is also provided and also may include eligibility for accommodations, if appropriate. Academic accommodations, such as extra time, extended breaks, or a private room can help level the playing field and allow you to perform at your true potential.

Standardized Testing Accommodations

At Capstone, we provide comprehensive evaluations to determine eligibility for accommodations for the following standardized tests: SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, GRE, State of California Bar Exam, among others. As part of the process we will request a copy of the evaluation requirements so as to ensure that we are addressing each of the required areas to assess eligibility for accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is important to know that our evaluations in this area are comprehensive and include a clinical interview, review of school records, review of previous mental health records or evaluations, and psychological testing designed to address the impact of a person’s functioning on their ability to perform on standardized testing consistent with their true abilities. A feedback session is also provided. 

Emotional Support Animal Evaluations

An often overlooked treatment and wellness support is the inclusion of an emotional support animal. Unlike a service animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, Emotional Support Animals or Comfort Animals are often used as part of a medical treatment plan as therapy animals. By contrast, they are not considered service animals under the ADA. These support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. In contrast to service animals, therapy animals provide people with therapeutic contact to improve their physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning.

Our psychologists will conduct a psychological evaluation specific to understanding whether you are eligible for an emotional support animal and discuss with you the results. If you are eligible, we will provide you with a report documenting our findings and any other required documentation. As our evaluations do not guarantee any particular finding, people that do not meet criteria for eligibility will be provided with additional treatment recommendations to help address their areas of need. 

Forensic Evaluations

Our psychologists at Capstone Psychological Services have extensive experience in the assessment and diagnosis of mental health issues that can impact an individual’s legal proceedings.  Our forensic evaluation services include a wide range of psycholegal issues including; competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility (i.e., insanity defense), dangerousness risk assessments, and issues related to mitigating circumstances surrounding the case or sentencing for a judge or jury to consider.  Our forensic evaluations include a review of all relevant documentation and collateral data, a thorough clinical history, and the administration of psychological and forensic specific testing to make determinations about the person’s mental health, personality functioning, neurological profile, and others aspects of functioning that may impede rational decision making, judgment, or awareness. Our psychologists have extensive experience providing thorough evaluations and reports, testing as needed in correctional settings, and providing testimony based on the findings of the forensic evaluations. In addition to criminal evaluations, our psychologists also have experience providing evaluation related to custody determinations, conservatorship, and psychological injury.