Children and Testing
If your child is experiencing anxiety and it is affecting his or her personal life and school performance you will want to have your child assessed by a mental health practitioner. A comprehensive assessment will be given including in-depth interviews to determine symptoms, family history, present stressors, etc. The clinician might also request permission to administer any number of psychological tests. Your child may start out with an IQ test, and then be asked to take tests like the Beck Youth Inventories created for children ages seven to fourteen. The self-reporting Beck tests contain statements that are answered either true or false and assess symptoms that include symptoms of anxiety and depression, feelings, and emotions. The Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale (RCMAS), developed from the MMPI, is used in schools, clinical settings, and for research purposes to measure symptoms and feelings to be used in diagnosis and creation of treatment plans. Another test is the Social Phobia and Anxiety Inventory (SPAI-C) used to evaluate the child's physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, sweaty hands, and shaking in a variety of situations that cause fear and anxiety.
Many tests are self-reporting, but others for younger children are read to the child by the teacher or mental health evaluator. Some tests are given individually, but others can be administered in group situations. A number of tests like the Behavior Rating Inventory of
Executive Function (BRIEF) have a separate questionnaire for parents to fill out about their child.
Testing can be very stressful and anxiety producing for your child. It is important to prepare your child to allay his fears and make him feel as comfortable as possible. Tell your child that he cannot “fail” this test. It is a way to help him. Give your child as much detail as possible about what will happen at the test site and during the test. Try to visit the test site with your child prior to the test. If possible shcedule the test at a time that your child functions well. Let your child know he can ask questions about anything, such as results, and will have his questions answered. Some children also feel that something is “wrong” with them because they are being tested. Address this with your child and doctor.
Psychological testing is done in clinical settings, but much of the testing is done by researchers who are studying a specific subject or disorder on groups of people called subjects or respondents. The results are used to gather data to determine why anxiety disorders develop and to look for more effective forms of treatment.