This is a list of some of the many questions Dr. Sorci has answered for families over the years. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Sorci (info@melissasorci.com) if you have a question not covered here.

Why is testing so expensive?:

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the cost of the assessment which include the cost of the testing materials, the one on one nature of the process, the time involved outside of the face to face sessions, Dr. Sorci’s level of education/specialty, time spent consulting with other professionals, and so on. Essentially, the cost of the assessment is driven by time spent on the case, the materials involved, and Dr. Sorci’s level of expertise. Dr. Sorci’s hourly rate of $375 is comparable, if not lower, than many Bay Area clinics or private practicing professionals.

Will my insurance pay for the testing?:

In Dr. Sorci’s experience insurance companies are driven by diagnosis, so many will not claim to pay for testing upfront. For example, if the testing were to show that your child has a learning disability, it might be unlikely that your insurance company will reimburse you for the testing because they will not see the learning issue as a medical issue. However, Dr. Sorci has seen families have some success obtaining some reimbursement if the diagnosis is related to a mental health or emotional issue, such as anxiety or depression, as you may be accessing your medical insurance for to get treatment. Each insurance plan is different and the “rules” change frequently. Dr. Sorci always encourages families to contact their insurance company and ask if they cover expenses related to testing or if they have a pre-authorization process. Even though Dr. Sorci is not an in-network provider for any insurance plan, because few professionals provide testing services some insurance companies will agree to let their members go out of network because they do not have a professional in network to meet the needs of the patient. In a nutshell, it’s complicated.

What will the experience be like for my child?:

Testing is done one on one with your child and Dr. Sorci in a quiet office setting. Dr. Sorci uses the latest technology available by using an iPad to iPad format for many of the tests.  This format is both fun and familiar to most children and adolescents.  Some of the tests involve answering questions out loud, some require pencil and paper responses, and some can be completed on Dr. Sorci’s laptop. In all cases providing a comfortable, respectful, and low-stress experience are very important to Dr. Sorci.  Patients are encouraged to bring snacks, drinks, or whatever they feel they might need to be as engaged as possible with the experience.

How long does the testing take?:

Depending on the tests needed to answer your specific questions, Dr. Sorci may need anywhere from 1 – 8 hours with your child face to face. Typically, except in cases of older adolescents or crisis situations, testing sessions are scheduled in two hour increments. At each appointment Dr. Sorci frequently “checks in” with the patient to make sure that they are not becoming too fatigued or overwhelmed. If at any time a child feels too tired to continue, the testing is stopped and continued at another appointment. Each child’s attention span and endurance level is different. The one on one setting of the assessment is fun, but it can also be exhausting for a child who is not used to being the entire focus of attention.

How long will it take me to get an appointment?

Dr. Sorci schedules appointments 10 – 14 days in advance. If there is a crisis situation that requires immediate attention, Dr. Sorci will make every effort to accommodate the request as soon as possible.

When will we get the results?:

About one week after the testing is completed Dr. Sorci will schedule an appointment with you to review the data in person. A review appointment can take 60 – 90 minutes depending on the situation. If your child has a therapist, teacher, tutor, or other professional involved it is often beneficial, although not required, to have those individuals attend the review appointment as schedules and finances permit.

If the testing indicates that my child needs therapy, medication, tutoring, or some other assistance, will Dr. Sorci provide those?:

No. Dr. Sorci’s specialty is assessment and diagnostics. Through data Dr. Sorci will cultivate an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to address the needs of the child. Although Dr. Sorci has expansive experience as a therapist, it would be unethical (and self-serving) for the report to advise a family to continue to work with Dr. Sorci outside of the original service of assessment. Dr. Sorci strives to provide families with appropriate referrals in their geographical and financial comfort whenever possible.

Why does Dr. Sorci come to the home?:

In many cases, depending on the questions being asked, Dr. Sorci pays a visit to the patient and/or family at their home. This is not meant to be nosy or intrusive, rather a personalized and effective way to gather more information about a patient. Dr. Sorci is interested in seeing patient’s rooms, iPod playlists, posters, toys, and other interesting things that cannot be communicated in an office setting. A home visit is not a judgement of a family’s home or lifestyle, but a way to get to know a patient on a more personal level that may be helpful in the assessment process.

Who will see the results of the assessment?:

Only individuals you release Dr. Sorci, in writing, to give the report to will see the results.  It is typically not advisable for a child to learn of the specifics of their IQ or other aspects of their testing.  Dr. Sorci is happy to set a separate appointment to review data with the child or adolescent in terms appropriate to their developmental level and experiences.

Why do you need to test my child’s cognitive ability (IQ) if we are worried about a possible learning disorder?:

IQ and academics (achievement) should predict each other. This means that if a person’s IQ is at the 50th percentile their academic output should be around the 50th percentile as well. When the two areas are not predictive of each other it helps to build the case for exploring a learning difficulty either in a specific subject area or processing domain.

I’ve made an appointment for testing, what should I tell my child?:

Always tell them the truth in an age appropriate way. Let them know that they are going to be taking some tests to get an understanding about how they think, feel, and achieve at school so that you (and maybe others) can help them do and feel their best.

Can’t I have my child assessed at their public school?:

Yes, of course. Dr. Sorci encourages families to consider utilizing their local public school district for testing, if appropriate. However, some differences between private assessment and assessment through your public school include:

  • Timeliness of appointment; some school districts have very long waiting periods for assessment. Dr. Sorci can typically schedule patients in 10 – 14 days, or less.
  • Breadth of data; Dr. Sorci can assess in numerous domains including executive functioning, clinical issues (e.g., anxiety, depression, phobias, relationship issues, etc.), attention deficit, and interpersonal challenges, to name a few. Schools are often limited to academics and cognitive functioning.
  • Depth of data; Dr. Sorci spends private, one on one time with each patient. The resulting data is not only statistical and numerical, but also informed through going “beyond the numbers” to take into consideration family dynamics, developmental history, family history, and psychological aspects that schools are not trained to examine or include in their assessments.
  • Diagnosis; For the most part, school districts will not diagnose children beyond a specific learning issue. This is because of legal restrictions as well as limited training of staff. For example, in most cases, school-based testers are not trained to explore or make recommendations relative to intra-cognitive processing. This is not to say that there are not some amazing School Psychologists, there certainly are, their role is merely different than a private assessor.
  • Confidentiality; A private assessment with Dr. Sorci remains private. It is the family’s choice who receives the information. If a school district performs testing the results become part of your child’s cumulative record. This is not necessarily a negative thing; however, some delicate family issues or health issues may be communicated to teachers and other staff on a need to know basis – a private assessment keeps a family in control of who sees the report, diagnoses, and recommendations.

Can I pay with a credit card or in installments?:

Yes, Dr. Sorci accepts Visa and MasterCard. Installment plans, agreed upon at the beginning of the assessment process, may be arranged. A deposit of $1500 is due at the first testing appointment.

Do you prescribe medications?:

No, medical doctors (M.D.s) prescribe and monitor medications. An M.D. could be a pediatrician, psychiatrist, neurologist, or general practicing physician, for example.

Do you assess adults?:

Yes, Dr. Sorci assesses adults with regularity, although not as often as minors. Many adults are seeking information to inform career choices or answer mental health questions. Adults are often referred by their therapist to help pinpoint a diagnosis in order to inform continued treatment.