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About Psychoeducational & Neuropsychological Evaluations

Psychoeducational evaluations are typically conducted when parents and/or teachers are concerned about a child or teen’s learning. However, evaluations to assess for learning disorders like dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia can be conducted at any age.

At Brain Spectrum, we believe that your family deserves the best, most accurate evaluation, and we take no shortcuts when it comes to diagnosing you or your loved one. We conduct comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations for Learning Disorders of Reading (e.g., Dyslexia), Writing, and/or Math (e.g., Dyscalculia). We also look at aspects of fine-motor control (e.g., Dysgraphia), including handwriting quality and speed.

Our evaluations typically also include aspects of neuropsychological testing, such as tests of memory and attention, in order to gain a more complete understanding of our client’s profile.

Possible Signs Of A Learning Disorder

  • Slow, effortful word reading
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of what’s been read
  • Spelling difficulties
  • Difficulties with the rules of grammar
  • Difficulty organizing writing tasks
  • Messy or illegible handwriting
  • Slow writing speed
  • Difficulty mastering number sense, math facts, or calculation
  • Memorization of math steps, but difficulty with math reasoning or applying math concepts
What Is The Process?
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At Brain Spectrum, we understand the magnitude of the decision to get evaluated. We also understand the importance of getting it right. Dr. Thurlow takes the diagnostic process very seriously, and only uses the most up-to-date, robust, and empirically-validated testing instruments in all of her evaluations.

She uses a combination of tools to achieve diagnostic accuracy, including a psychosocial and developmental interview, cognitive testing, neuropsychological testing, and detailed assessment of reading, writing, and/or math. A variety of questionnaires are also completed by parents, teachers, and other professionals involved in the child or teen’s treatment. She will also review academic records and prior evaluation reports as a component of her comprehensive evaluations.

Dr. Thurlow uses a comprehensive battery of tests that is specifically tailored to the client, to determine whether a specific learning disorder is present. She also conducts an in-depth developmental interview, and obtains input from parents, teachers, and other professionals.

What Are The Benefits To You?
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Academic Accommodations & Special Education Services:

In many cases, a recent and comprehensive evaluation is required by the school to help determine a child’s eligibility for special education services and accommodations. At Brain Spectrum, we can assist you in this process by providing you with the necessary evaluation and report.

Specialized Teaching Methods:

Having a learning disorder just means a person learns differently.  Oftentimes, this means they might benefit from a teaching method that is specifically designed for their unique learning needs. In the case of Dyslexia, for example, there are a number of teaching programs for children, teens, and adults who struggle with reading. Orton-Gillingham, Lindamood Bell, and SpellRead are three of the more popular and effective programs.  Brain Spectrum can help guide you to the program that best fits you or your child’s particular learning needs.

Standardized Testing and Exams:

Standardized tests and exams are primarily those used to make decisions about admissions to college, medical school, business school, law school, or other educational programs. Examples of such exams are the ACT, SAT, AP, GRE, GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT.

Psychological and neuropsychological testing, along with a documented diagnosis, can be helpful in obtaining testing accommodations. Typical accommodations include extended test-taking time, multiple breaks, or a distraction-free testing environment.

It is important to keep in mind that a diagnosis, previous history of classroom accommodations, and/or recommendations for testing accommodations are not a guarantee that you will be provided with testing accommodations. A clear documented history and the presence of functional limitations must be demonstrated, and the bar is being set increasingly high to qualify. This type of evaluation should be completed approximately 6-12 months before the scheduled exam date.

What Results Can You Expect?
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At the completion of testing, you will be provided with a detailed evaluation report of the results, along with evidence-based recommendations tailored to specific areas of strength and weakness. If indicated, recommendations will also include school recommendations for special education services through an IEP, or accommodations through a 504 plan.


Dr. Cheryl Arutt, PsyD, Clinical & Forensic Psychologist

"I have known Dr. Thurlow for 25 years and give her my highest recommendation! She is that special kind of expert who really listens, combining her deep knowledge and experience as a neuropsychologist with her compassion as a human/parent/friend to illuminate ways to really support and deeply understand young people whose brains work differently. Her evaluations improve lives, and I always know those I refer to Dr. Thurlow will be in excellent hands."

Dr. Mandy Moradi, Clinical Consultant Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center

"I have collaborated with Dr. Thurlow in various capacities over the years. She is an exceptionally bright psychologist who is committed to the wellbeing of our neurodivergent community. There is wide variability when it comes to evaluation quality, and finding a professional who offers best practice evaluations using gold-standard measures can be challenging. Dr. Thurlow offers the kind of sensitive, thorough, and evidence-based assessments that I trust. I recommend Dr. Thurlow without hesitation."

Dr. Jesse Olague, Child Psychologist, Del Mar

"Dr. Thurlow is without a doubt the best diagnostician in San Diego. Not only does she have the experience and high-level skills to understand even the most complex cases, she is also incredibly compassionate and kind. Families and professionals alike love working with her. I trust her clinical judgment without reservation."

David Teitelman, parent of a neurodivergent child.

"Dr. Thurlow is a spectacular psychologist/diagnostician. I can attest to her expertise in the areas of autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and Neuro divergence. Dr. Thurlow was able to determine significant flaws in a previous evaluation of my neurodivergent child. With her help, we were finally able to obtain an accurate diagnosis after many years of struggle.

Dr. Thurlow's consultation, compassion, and support in obtaining an accurate diagnosis has truly been life-changing for our family."

888 Prospect Street, Suite 200, La Jolla, CA 92037