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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Yates

Family & Child Therapy’s Newest Service: Neuropsychological Testing for ADHD, Autism, and Sensory Processing Challenges

Dr. Iftaiha smiles as she engages with a young client
Dr. Areej Iftaiha is excited to offer testing services to clients.

As a team of clinical therapists, psychologists, and social workers, our practice is dedicated to providing our clients with strategies and support that suit their individual needs. In order to best tailor our approach, we occasionally need more information beyond what we can glean from therapy sessions.


In these circumstances, one of the best ways to gain a big-picture perspective of a child’s skills and needs is to utilize neuropsychological testing. We are pleased to announce that Dr. Areej Iftaiha, one of our licensed clinical psychologists, has just begun offering this crucial service at our practice’s Vienna, Virginia office. Dr. Iftaiha will specifically focus on providing neurodivergent-affirming assessments that screen for autism, ADHD, and sensory processing challenges.



What is Neuropsychological Testing?


Neuropsychological testing is a series of assessments administered and overseen by psychologists. Through these assessments, we are able to gain a deeper understanding of a child’s cognitive, social-emotional, sensory processing, and executive functioning profiles. 


Sometimes, a child’s school will suggest testing in order to obtain data they can use to develop interventions and accommodations in the classroom. On other occasions, we as clinicians may suggest testing to gain more information about how to best support the child. Parents can also request neuropsychological testing if they are in search of answers pertaining to concerning behaviors or experiences. The bottom line is that testing is explored when it is deemed by caring adults to be in the best interest of the child. 


What does the testing process look like?


A view of one of the therapy practice's offices, featuring a chair, couch, desk, and bookshelf
We'll be offering testing in our cozy office space.

Neuropsychological testing is actually a series of smaller assessments that work together to create a big picture of a child’s capabilities and needs. While assessing for autism, ADHD, and/or sensory processing challenges, we will be selecting from the following assessments as they apply to a child’s specific situation:


  • IQ/Cognitive Assessments assess how a child is receiving information by looking at visual and auditory integration, processing speed, and working memory. 

  • Academic Achievement Assessments present math and language arts concepts to help determine how the child is functioning academically in comparison to their peers. 

  • Sensory Assessments observe how sensory experiences affect the child based on their reactions and responses to different stimuli.

  • Social/Emotional Assessments measure a variety of factors, including but not limited to the child’s ability to recognize and manage emotions, maintain positive relationships, and develop empathy.

  • Attention/Executive Functioning Skills Assessments measure a child’s comfort and success with problem solving, time management, flexibility, planning, and organization. 

  • Surveys are administered to the child’s parents and teachers to learn more about observed behavior in different situations, and to search for discrepancies between different environments.


What happens after testing?


Once the selected assessment components have been administered, we put together a profile using the results of the individual pieces. Based on this data, we are able to make diagnoses when necessary and offer recommendations to best support the child at school and home. If the child is also a returning client, we use the data to help shape our approach during therapy sessions. We can provide the results to other clinicians that work with the child, too.


What makes our testing process neurodivergent-affirming?


A neurodivergent-affirming environment is one that recognizes, embraces, and supports neurodivergent individuals, rather than unfairly requiring them to adjust to neurotypical norms and expectations. Here at Family & Child Therapy, our testing process aligns with the following neurodivergent-affirming principles:

A sunny room with a couch, chair, and toys in front of two large windows
Our light, open practice serves as a safe and welcoming testing environment.
  • Rather than looking to label a child as “disordered”, We recognize autism, ADHD, sensory processing challenges and other forms of neurodivergence as welcome biological differences.

  • We strive to create an inviting, sensory-friendly, low-stress environment so that the child feels comfortable and safe. This reduces the likelihood of the test results being affected by anxiety, masking and other factors. 

  • We provide clear instructions and tailor the assessment process to the needs of the child. 

  • We make sure the follow-up information and recommendations we provide are clear and specific.

  • We are responsive to feedback from the child and their family so that we can continue to tailor our approach and recommendations to their circumstances.


Where do I learn more?


Parents and guardians can schedule a consultation on our website to find out more information about testing options. We are also happy to converse with schools who may be interested in referring children and/or contracting our testing services. We look forward to speaking with you about this invaluable new offering!


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