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Assessment and Diagnosis Definitions


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A process of change that occures when two cultures come into contact . Occurs when an individual adopts the cultural traits (e.g., beliefs, attitudes, values, language) of his/her new culture.
Achievement Test
A test designed to assess an examinee's present level of skill in or knowledge o a particular content domain. Usually considered a measure of previous learning but may also assess innate characteristicts.
Aptitude Test
A test that assesses the examinee's potential for learning a specific skill or performing a specific task. Although usually considered a measure of innate ability, often also reflecting pervious learning.
Process by which social workers explore and attempt to obtain a comprehensive understanding of a client's problems and needs, including relevant personal and situational factors. Allows appropriate therapeutic goals to be established. Social workers believe that assessment should continue throught the helping process and that an important focus of assessment should be the problems the client considers important.
Test originally designed to assess visual-motor skills, now also used to assess brain damage, cognitive dysfunction and personality. Test includes nin geometric simple designs that examinees are asked to reproduce.
Culture-Fair Tests
Tests of mental ability designed to eliminate cultrual biases (e.g., by using a nonverbal format and nonacedemic items). Evaluations of existing culture-fair tests have suggested that no completely culturaly-fair test has yet been developed.
The ability to preceive, understand, and experience the emotional state of another person (Barker, 1987). Empathic responding is used throughout treatent to develop rapport, maintain a working relationship, and enable social workers to move toward confronting a client's problematic issues. Fundamental to empathic responding is reflecting an understanding and acceptance of not only the client's overtly expressed feelings but also his/her underlying emotions. Can be conveyed through verbal and nonverbal communication.
Fact-Gathering Interview
Conducted when a client first contacts an agency: involves gathering predetermined and specficic information from the client. This interview is larely nontherapeutic - it does not ofer the client an opportunity to discuss his/ her presenting problem.
A clinical test battery designed to detect brain damage in individuals aged five through adult. Includes a number of tests ; yields an Impairment Index.
Process involving informing the client about services the agency offers and their conditions, obtaining information about the client, includng the nature of the problem, and arriving at an agreement with the client regarding a willingness to be treated. Once an intake interview is completed, clients are assigned to the personal most suited to their needs.
Leiter International Performance Scale
Cross-Cultural nonerbal intelligence test for individuals ages two through 18. Also used for deaf and language-impaired individuals.
Luria-Nebraska Neurospychological Battery
A clinical measure designed to assess and localize brain injury. Provides scores in 11 skill areas (e.g., motor functioning, tactile functioing, visual functioning)
Mental Status Exam
An evaluation of a client's current mental functioing. Most MSEs include an evaluation of both behavioral aspects and cognitive aspects. Information is collected through observation and questioning. This information is then used, along with other assessment findings, to assign a clinical diagnosis and/or facilitate development of an appropriate intervention plan.
MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory)
Widly used self-reported personality test that reports an examinee's performance in terms of clinical scales and validity scales. Althought originally intended as a tool for deriving psychiatric diagnosis, It is more commonly interpreted in terms of score profiles to derive information about an examinee's personality characteristicts.
Nature Helping Network
Flexible, informal, and voluntary relationship that develop amont nonprofessionals who offer vital services and support to people in need. For example, such a network often indludes th needy person's friends and family, neighbors, fellow employees and church members, altruistic community members, etc.
Open-Ended Questions
Interview questions that define a topic area but allow the client to respond in whatever way he/she chooses. Useful for encouraging the client to disclose or expand on information that is personal and, therefore, tend to elicit meaningful information
Problem System
Consists of three systems that interact to produce and maintain human problems. Include the intrapersonal system (biophysical, emotional, psychological): interpersonal system (family, other relationships); and environmental system (support system, resources)
Projective Personality Tests
Relatively unstructured personality tests in which the stimuli presented to examinees are ambiguous and the responses required from examinees are open-ended. The development and use of projective tests (e.g., Roschach, the TAT) are based on the " projective hypothesis" which proposes that a person's interpretaton of ambigious stimuil provides information about his personality traits, needs, feelings conflicts. etc.
Psychosocial Assessment
The process of exploring a client's problems and ascertaining his/her expectations for treatment. Can be viewed as an ongoing assessment or judgement of the client throughout intervention that leads to a clinical understanding of his "world" and helps the social worker determine the most desireable clinical application for use with the client. Involves an evaluation of all areas in a person's life and the results describe problem areas, relationship dynamics, and level of client functioning. Can include a clinical diagnosis, testing results, problem description, description of client assets and resources, prognosis, and treatment plan.
The degree of accuracy (repeatability, consistency) of a test.
Standard-Binet Intelligence Scale
An individually-administered intelligence test for individuals aged two through adult. the current version (Fourth edition) yields standard age scores for the test's 15 subtests, certain combinations of subtests and a test composite.
The usefulness of a test; i.e., the extent to which a test measures what it purports to measure
Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scale
Test designed primarily to access adaptive functioning in mentally retarded childern and adults.
Wechsler Intelligence Scales
Individual intelligence tests that yield Verbal Performance and Full Scale IQ scores as well as scaled scores on each of the test's verbal and Performance subtests. Interpretation involves a consderation of IQ scores, Verbal-Performance score discrepancies, and scatter analysis. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Third Edition (WAIS-III) is appropriate or individuals aged 16 through 89; the Welchsler Intelligence Scale for Childern- III (WISC-III) is used with childern aged 6 years through 16 years, 11 months ; and the Weschsler Preschool Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R) is appropriate for childern between ages 3 years of months and 7 years 3 months.

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