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What is psychological assessment?

"Your child needs an assessment," is a statement heard by many parents that often brings confusion, worry, and feelings of not knowing where to start. Often, school districts are limited to a small number of in-house assessments per school year. These are typically reserved for the most disruptive and overtly behavioural children. Many time, children with internalizing problems -- like anxiety, depression, and even the inattentive type of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- get put on 3-year-long waiting lists. Many parents don't realize that these assessment can be completed quickly and thoroughly in private practice.

Here are some answers to a few questions you might have about assessment:

What is psychological or psychoeducational assessment?

A psychological or psychoeducational assessment is a process of gathering information that helps to understand how an individual learns and processes information. Assessments can be completed with children, adolescents, and adults to potentially identify what might be impacting their academic, social, work, or overall psychological well-being.

An assessment includes standardized tests (e.g., intelligence tests, tests of academic achievement), observations, rating scales, detailed history, and consultation. The process may lead to the identification of language or learning disabilities, attention and behaviour-related disorders (e.g., ADHD), executive functioning and self-regulation deficits, intellectual disabilities, giftedness, or mood and anxiety disorders. Assessment can provide a profile of your individual cognitive strengths and areas of need that we can use to collaboratively develop a plan to succeed in the classroom, at work, and in your everyday life.

The assessment process:

Each psychologist and practice may differ in their assessment approach. At minimum, no diagnosis should ever be made without a combination of standardized testing, rating scales, interviews, and collateral information from parents, teachers, and/or other health professionals.

A High Point, our psychologist will contact you directly to explain the full process, explore your motivation for the assessment, and to set up an intake interview and obtain relevant history. Assessment occurs one-on-one and frequently requires several two- to three-hour sessions. The assessment may include obtaining information from school personnel and other professionals, with consent from you. At the end of the assessment, a feedback meeting will be scheduled to review the results and recommendations. If applicable, the psychologist will also be available to consult with you or your child’s school to provide classroom recommendations or during the development of individual program plans (IPPs). Depending on the referral question and the needs of the client, the assessment process takes 6-8 weeks (on average) from intake to final report.

What will an assessment provide for me?

An assessment may provide details about your learning, processing, and emotional and behavioural profile. It can help you develop insights into needed changes or provide you with new strategies and accommodations to improve different areas of life, including learning or your therapy progress. A profile of your strengths and areas of needs, or an identified disability, is useful in developing accommodations, and obtaining supports and resources at school and in the community. Assessment may also assist with identifying individuals who may be eligible for certain educational placements (e.g., gifted and talented education; private schools), funding, or government benefits (e.g., AISH, PDD).

If you have additional questions about assessment or would like to talk more about it, please contact us. We would be happy to have a complimentary phone consultation to answer your questions.

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