As part of Verbal Beginnings’ new Telehealth suite of services, our New Beginnings diagnostic service has launched a virtual option as well! Here to share more about this program is licensed psychologist and head of our New Beginnings program, Allison Maletsky, Psy.D!
How is a virtual diagnostic session different than an in-person session?
A virtual diagnostic session differs from an in-person assessment in a number of ways. The main difference is that, rather than me doing all of the playing and talking, I ask parents to do so! For example, during an in-person evaluation, I initiate interactions and play activities with children to see how they respond to me. Instead, as part of a virtual diagnostic session, I instruct parents on how I want to see them initiate certain interactions and activities. I am ultimately able to assess how children respond to their parents, initiate interactions with their parents, and play with toys, as well as observe their overall behavior.
Can you walk us through a typical virtual session?
Virtual parent interviews and recommendation meetings are approximately one hour in length and are adults-only appointments. A typical virtual diagnostic session with parents and children lasts approximately 20 minutes. I email parents a few minutes prior to their session time to invite them to join a Zoom meeting. Once the session has begun, I instruct parents on exactly how and when to interact with their children.
What are you expecting from parents before, during, and after the session?
Beforehand, parents receive an email and phone call from me that outlines the requirements of the session. This includes having a freestanding device that allows for me to observe parents and children together along with a few toys and other materials. During the session, parents are required to follow instructions that I provide regarding exactly how and when to interact with their children. Parents are expected to complete questionnaires in addition to participation in the parent interview and virtual session in order for the recommendation meeting to occur.
What’s so unique about Verbal Beginnings’ overall approach to diagnostics?
Our telehealth diagnostic program continues to allow for families to receive a comprehensive evaluation despite the evaluation occurring over telehealth as opposed to in-person. A thorough intake is completed with parents, who also complete standardized rating scales assessing multiple aspects of their children’s social, emotional, behavioral, and adaptive functioning skills. Moreover, a detailed report is provided that outlines results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations for moving forward. Time is taken to meet with parents to thoroughly review what is discussed in this report and answer questions.
Any advice for parents wondering if they should schedule this now?
Please reach out to me! I am happy to talk more with you about what our evaluation process looks like, answer questions, and discuss whether your child would be an appropriate fit for our telehealth assessments. In this time of COVID-19, telehealth assessments are helping to provide families with answers sooner rather than later in a safe and convenient manner.
To learn more about our New Beginnings program please visit our website