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Q: What psychological tests do you recommend for the evaluation of internationally adopted children?
 

A: There is no straight and simple answer to this question: it depends on how long the child is in the adoptive family, on the nature of referral issues, and on the situation with the language in general, etc. Each and every time this must be decided individually, there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer. I have developed a template of testing procedures for screening (on arrival) and for full evaluation (both on arrival and within the next 2-5 years in the country) for IA children ages 3 to 14+. You can look at Screening for School Placement and Services on Arrival to see my recommendations for the initial screening tests and procedures, and at Full Psychological, Educational and Developmental Assessments for the similar recommendations about the full assessment. I have to repeat again and again: tests are only instruments; the most important thing is the interpretation of the results. And here a lot depends on who does the interpretation; if this specialist has
experience with IA children and is familiar with the issues of institutional behavior and dynamics. In general, psychological assessments are done with different goals in mind, including one of eligibility for a service, placement, or an acceptance to certain program/school. The goals determine the selection of instruments. I talk about all these in more details in the online class: Course BG3 - Initial Psycho-Educational Screening And Full Assessment of an Internationally Adopted Child.

As for the specific issue of using non-verbal tests, the best one on the market is UNIT (Universal Non-Verbal Intelligence Test). It surpasses any other non-verbal test in practically all aspects, including psychometric properties, diversity of the measured cognitive abilities, and relevancy to school performance. I use all the existing non-verbal tests with IA children, and my personal professional preference is for UNIT as the most appropriate instrument for IA children. The really big problem with all non-verbal tests (including my favorite UNIT, although to a lesser degree) is that they have a relatively weak predictive validity (from .4 to .7) for academic functioning, which is mostly language-based. Would you buy a thermometer that shows a correct temperature in only 40 to 70 percent of all measurements?

 

 

Psychological services for internationally adopted children. Copyright ©1998-2017
Last update on September 12, 2017

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