Diagnostic Assessments and Evaluations

A diagnostic assessment is a set of evaluation procedures administered and interpreted to obtain information about the person’s development, learning, memory, academics, behavior and mental health. Different assessment procedures, or combination of procedures, are used, depending upon the clinical questions, presenting problems along with careful consideration of cultural differences and possible impairments in speech/language, hearing, vision and motor development. Also, current status of basic health care, hearing and vision need to be established.

When indicated, we offer comprehensive diagnostic assessment and evaluation services. Our evaluation services are used to determine suitability for employment, personality type, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, and cognitive impairments. We also do career inventories, functional living evaluations, and custody evaluations.

We have a CALOCUS certified mental health professional on staff. CALOCUS services are offered at any of our offices or at a mutually agreed upon location in SC.

What is CALOCUS?
It is the Child and Adolescent Level of Care Utilization System. It is an evaluation for children that rates their risk level and severity of mental health issues. The results of completed CALOCUS with a diagnostic assessment are used to determine the type and frequency of supportive services that a child should receive with a Rehabilitative Behavioral Health Services (RBHS) company.

How does a child qualify to receive CALOCUS testing for potential placement of services?
A child would need to be on one of SC DHHS’s Medicaid plans and would need a referral from a facility or physician indicating a need for the evaluation. Then a certified CALOCUS provider would need to be selected to perform the evaluation. The provider rates the child accordingly and outcomes are submitted to the appropriate SC Medicaid plan for review. The results are then shared with the selected RBHS company; then if approved for any services, they would be performed by the RBHS company.

Why participate in diagnostic evaluation and testing?

Diagnostic evaluations are intended to provide a structured, organized, and succinct description of current behavioral and emotional functioning including cognitive abilities and emotional experience. A diagnostic evaluation offers insight as to the severity of a particular disturbance and of the capacity for adequate functioning. It is a formal and structured way of gathering objective information about a person for the purpose of making decisions and sorting out questions about the particular child, adolescent, or adult. In addition, a diagnostic evaluation may be used to confirm or modify the impressions formed by referring therapists or educators through less structured interactions in therapy or in the classroom. A comprehensive evaluation can identify needs in therapy, highlight issues that may come up in treatment, recommend particular forms of intervention, and offer guidance about potential outcomes of treatment.

What is involved in a diagnostic evaluation?

A diagnostic evaluation is conducted using different sources and assessment methods (norm-referenced, criterion-referenced tests, screeners/checklists, self-report ratings, observation, and review of history and development).

A comprehensive diagnostic evaluation begins with a clinical interview, and then includes any number of diagnostic assessments depending on the nature of the questions posed about the client. Testing generally takes several hours to complete and usually requires separate appointments. Diagnostic tests can include assessments of personality styles, tests of emotional well-being, intellectual (or IQ) tests, tests of academic achievement, tests for possible neurological damage, and tests for specific emotional or behavioral disturbances and their severity. The evaluation may also include interviews with significant others (such as parents, spouses, or teachers), as well as a review of past records and relevant documents. After the assessment (information gathering), the therapist scores, interprets the results compiling this into a formal integrated written report of findings and discusses the findings with the patient or parents. Finally, feedback is provided along with recommendations based on the findings presented in a personal interactive meeting, when applicable.