Oakley Psychological Associates strive to make our offices as welcoming as possible. We have comfortable adult and child seating areas with water, coffee, tea, and small snacks. We have a television with streaming services available for families who are waiting. Our treatment rooms are soundproof to ensure privacy. In the evaluation room, we have developmentally appropriate seating and two therapy rooms: one for family/talk therapy and one for group treatment. For families attending full-day evaluations who opt to bring their lunch, we have a small refrigerator and microwave available, and you are welcome to eat in the group treatment room as long as it is not in use. The offices are professionally cleaned on a weekly basis and all treatment rooms and supplies are cleaned after each use.
Metered street parking is available on Lincoln Avenue in front of the office and on Cullom Avenue that can be paid at the meter or by using the Park Chicago app. There is also free parking on side streets in the neighborhood and at the parking lot behind Sulzer Regional Library at 4455 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60625.
Oakley Psychological Associates evaluates children/youth aged 3 to 18 and adults for ADHD evaluations. With every evaluation we conduct, we look at all aspects of an individual's history, environment, and development when making diagnoses. In addition to using a trauma-informed lens, we understand that biology, prenatal factors, and the environments the individual is in impacts every aspect of a child’s development. Therefore, we take all of these factors into consideration in our evaluations.
Preschool age evaluations
It is important for parents to understand that every child develops on their own trajectory. With preschool age children, we are merely evaluating for global delays, challenge areas that we can address through treatment/intervention/ancillary therapy (e.g., speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy), and early behavioral concerns. We do not diagnose specific learning differences at this stage because there is such variability in how children acquire skills. We tend to be cautious in our diagnoses at this age and opt for pursuing supportive treatments when we have concerns that there could be other contributing factors.
While Dr. Telford has extensive experience evaluating infants, Oakley Psychology Associates is not currently providing these evaluations. If you are looking for an infant or early childhood evaluation, please contact Children's Research Triangle or the Erikson Institute.
School age evaluations
As children advance into elementary school, we are able to evaluate and more reliably diagnose a wide range of challenges and concerns. In addition to common childhood concerns, such as ADHD, anxiety, and depression, we can diagnose specific learning differences and intellectual disabilities. Unlike evaluations conducted at many centers, when we have concerns about specific learning differences, we conduct more in-depth testing to determine what factors are contributing to their learning differences. For instance, instead of merely saying that a child has a reading disorder (dyslexia), we can identify the specific areas with which they struggle such as phonemic awareness (the ability to identify and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words), reading comprehension, fluency, or morphological awareness (the recognition, understanding and use of word parts that carry significance).
Many people look at adolescents as small adults and assume that testing is the same with them. While it is true that many of the actual tests that we use are the same as those that we give to adults, at Oakley Psychological Associates we understand that adolescence is a specific developmental period with its own challenges. In adolescence, we can continue to evaluate for issues that we see in childhood, as well as more severe problems that begin to emerge in adolescence such as more chronic mental health issues and substance use disorders. However, we also understand that many behaviors are transient and a normal part of development and strive to differentiate between typical and more concerning behaviors.
Outside of evaluations due to concerns about ADHD, Oakley Psychological Associates typically does not see individuals past age 18. The exception to this is if we previously worked with an adolescent and they need assistance transitioning to college or in cases where there are concerns about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. However, if we believe that an individual would be better served seeing a different clinician, we will help facilitate a referral whenever possible.
Absolutely! Please continue to give your child's medication as prescribed. We want your child at their best. There are times where we may work with you and your child's doctor to briefly delay their medication to complete attentional testing, but we will discuss this ahead of time.
Oakley Psychological Associates has extensive experience evaluating individuals with autism spectrum disorder. When it emerges as a concern during the course an evaluation, we are comfortable assessing and diagnosing it. However, in more challenging cases, or in situations where this is the only referral question, we recommend that the child be seen at a center specializing in autism spectrum disorders. While there are several centers in the Chicagoland area specializing in autism spectrum disorders, families can contact the Pediatric Developmental Center or Rush University Medical Center.
Currently, we do not conduct parenting capacity evaluations. Caseworkers or parents interested in this service can contact Interaction Dynamics or Family First Domestic and Family Counseling Clinic.
We encourage you to be as open and honest with your child as possible about why they are coming to see us. Giving them information about what to expect will help alleviate anxiety. Telling them something like, “We are going to talk with a doctor about how you have been feeling/some of the hard times you have been having at school/how things have been going at home to try and make things easier for you. The doctor we are going to see works with kids and families to help them feel better.” With young children, it may be necessary to clarify that the type of doctor that they are seeing does not have needles and there is nothing that can hurt them at the office as they commonly associate “doctors” with shots. If your child asks you a question about the evaluation or therapy, answer it to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t know the answer, let your child know that you will try to find out the answer. The following guidelines may be helpful for specific ages.
It can be difficult for preschool age children to understand why they are participating in therapy or having an evaluation. Help your child understand what is going to happen by telling them that they will be talking and playing with the clinician and that you will also be talking with the doctor. Feel free to have your child bring their favorite toy or comfort item, though sometimes this has to stay in a special place outside of the treatment room to minimize distractions. Reassure your child that you will be there the entire time and that you can even come back with them for part of the session.
In addition to explaining that they will be meeting with a doctor to help them with how they have been thinking/feeling, doing at school, or how things have been going at home, provide more specific information about what they can expect. If your child is participating in therapy services, let them know that they will be in a safe place where it is okay to share how they are feeling and what they have been thinking about. In therapy, they may play with toys or play games, and sometimes other family members may participate as well. Again, reassure them that there are no shots or things that can physically hurt them. If your child is participating in an evaluation, let them know that they will be playing different thinking games and doing some activities like they do at school. Emphasize that no one expects them to get everything right and that many times there isn’t a “right” answer. Instead, focus on having them try their best.
Continue to expand on the information you would give a younger child. Reduce your child’s anxiety by talking about the visit ahead of time and help them come up with a plan for the day (e.g., snacks, toy, or game they will bring).
At this stage, youth are capable of understanding what therapy and evaluations are. Oftentimes, they have had friends who have participated in these activities in the past so ask them what they have heard from their friends. Try to clarify any inaccurate information and/or encourage them to ask the doctor questions. It is important to keep in mind that, at this age, privacy is crucial. Reassure them that privacy is important throughout the process and that it is a safe place for them to talk and share.
Great question! There are a few things to keep in mind: