Our 3-Part Strategy for Individualized Assessments During COVID-19

At SD Kids First we are proud to offer individually tailored comprehensive assessments and scientifically-proven treatments to support attention, social/emotional development, & learning and mental health in children, teens, & adults. COVID-19 has turned all of our lives upside down, but some things haven’t changed.

Our evaluations will always look at more than just attention, learning or mental health alone. We aim to be comprehensive, while eliminating extraneous tests that would not prove useful for diagnostic clarity. We tailor each evaluation to directly suit the need of each individual, meaning that no two evaluations are the same.

While each evaluation vaires based on the concern and age of the client, they may include interviw, standardized tests, questionnarires, behavioral observations, feedback sessions and written reports. All evaluations result in a concrete Action Plan, which is a set of specific and concrete recommendations to follow.

COVID-19 means some changes to testing, but we can still get started!

COVID-19 has changed how we offer our assessments at this time. Psychoeducational Testing for Learning Disabilities involves in-person testing. For the safety of all during COVID-19, we postponed in person testing, beginning mid-March 2020, to observe social distancing measures. But COVID-19 doesn’t stop your concerns about your child’s or teens mental health. If you’re an adult in university of the workforce trying to maximize your performance, your concerns about learning and focus certainly don’t stop because of COVID-19.

So we’re not stopping either. In fact, on-line learning while schools are closed and working remotely during this time presents new challenges for anyone who struglles to focues and learn, so let’s get started so we can help!

Our New 3-Part Strategy for Individualized Assessments

Starting now we are implementing a new 3-Part Strategy for all of our Individualized Assessments. The first 2 parts can be done over secure video sessions from the comfort of your home. Part 3 involves in-person testing which will take place at our office once it is safe to do so. With this new 3-Part Strategy, some treatments can start after Part 2— before the coronavirus situation resolves—because COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you from receiving the support and treatments you need.

Here are some more specifics:

Part I: Attention, Social Functioning, Development/Behavior, and Mental Health Assessment

In Part 1 of our 3-Part Strategy, we will focus on obtaining relevant background, history, and current concerns pertaining to your child or teen’s social skills, development, behavior, attention and/or mental health. At this stage, you or your family will have an Intake appointment with Dr. Pontillo or Dr. Gamboa via secure video sessions. You will discuss relevant history, share your concerns, and during the 1-hour session, helpful strategies will also be discussed. Basic academic skills will also be examined through a screening interview. Assessment questionnaires can be mailed out to you and/or your child or teens teacher to further assess for attention issues or social/behavioral issues present at home or at school. Your child or teen will also receive a subsequent 1-hour direct assessment appointment on video, where the clinician can directly interact with your child or teen, and assess the areas of concern.

Part II: Feedback Appointment to Explore Treatment

After these sessions, parents will receive a feedback appointment. You might want to start additional therapies, recommended by our team, such as Executive Functioning Coaching for ADD/ADHD if on-line learning/remote work is difficult, or therapy for anxiety/depression. If the academic screening tasks show difficulties, academic tutoring can also be started. All these interventions can be delivered through secure video sessions.

Part III: In-Person Testing After COVID-19

Most standardized tests involved in Learning Disability/Psychoeducational Assessments cannot be done remotely through video sessions. Once the risk of COVID-19 subsides, we’ll resume the Cognitive and/or Psychoeducational Testing portion of your assessment to see if a Learning Disability exists. You will also meet with the psychologist at the end of this testing for feedback. At that time, more interventions to boost skills and accommodate any learning challenges will be discussed.

With this new 3-Part Strategy, you don’t have to wait until the COVID-19 situation subsides to start necessary treatment & experience success!

Looking forward…

If you are thinking about an evaluation with us or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email us at contact@sdkidsfirst.com, or call 858-692-4187. We can’t wait to see you back in our offices when the time comes!

COVID-19 had forced us to adapt. But in adapting, we have evolved. Let’s stay connected, together.

As always, we try to respond to the needs of children, teens, young adults, and families. If you have an idea for a topic for a future workshop please don’t hesitate to reach out! We want to hear from you!


Dr. Deb Pontillo, Ph.D.

Director (and home school teacher of 2!)