Psychoeducational Assessment & CDBC, FASD
Psychoeducational assessments are detailed assessments that help identify an individual’s learning style and needs. Oftentimes, parents order psychoeducational assessments on behalf of their children after personally witnessing or hearing about their learning difficulties. Such psychoeducational assessments can help identify strengths, weaknesses, and alternative learning methods that may provide a better educational experience for children.
Most modern educational institutions provide information to their students in a highly regularized & standardized way. Not all children benefit from this teaching method, and sometimes a child learns fundamentally different from the rest of their cohort. This usually results in complaining, struggling, and a lack of confidence that stems from their inability to internalize, interpret, or remember information that comes more easily to other children their age. Figuring out your child’s learning style sooner rather than later can make a massive impact on their self-worth and their ability to succeed in life, and can allow you to plan better for their future.
What We Diagnose
The psychoeducational assessment may include testing of the following areas:
- Academic Functioning including reading, math, written expression and phonological awareness
- Attention/ concentration (ADHD)
- Executive Functioning/Planning
- Behavioral Strengths & Challenges
- Input from parents and teachers is encouraged via completion of standardized questionnaires.
Our psychoeducational clinicians take the standardized tests, review of report cards, input from parents and teachers, in order to determine what patterns of behaviour emerge. They using dynamic testing of the limits approaches to understand why a student made any specific error. For example, it would be important to understand a careless error due to inattention versus an error that was related to a lack of skill or knowledge.
Sometimes a physician asks for a Neuropsychological Assessment. Our assessments are very comprehensive but we do not offer neuropsychological assessments at this time. A neuropsychological assessment is a specialized assessment completed by a neuropsychologist in cases where there is a known or suspected brain injury (e.g., in the case of concussions or epilepsy).
When is a Psychoeducational Assessment Necessary?
It is difficult to determine exactly when you should provide your child with a psychoeducational assessment. If it’s difficult for your child to concentrate on school, work, or play, and you notice a pronounced pattern of academic underperformance despite strong effort, it’s worth considering.
If, on the other hand, you notice pronounced overperformance with less effort, this may be indicative of giftedness. In this case, we also recommend a psychoeducational assessment, as knowledge of giftedness can have a profound impact on the path a child will take later in life. It also allows you to provide your child with more difficult learning materials, to improve their rate of learning and allow them to learn at their own pace. It is also important to note that sometimes boredom in a class gets misinterpreted as hyperactivity or acting out behaviour. It is important to understand your child’s profile so that you can start a conversation with the teacher about ways to best support the child.
Sometimes, a child’s teacher will be the one to mention the potential that your child has a learning disability; as your child’s teacher spends upwards of six to seven hours per day with your child in an educational context, we recommend taking such advice seriously.
How does a Psychoeducational assessment help?
Simply put, psychoeducational assessments teach children how to learn better. Your brain isn’t a black box – it’s a responsive machine that can do some things efficiently and others inefficiently. Psychoeducational assessments help determine whether your child is currently learning in an efficient manner, and if not, how to maximize their educational capacity to achieve more out of school & life.
What’s the process like?
There are two main components to our psychoeducational assessments. The first is a comprehensive clinical interview with both you. We’ll discuss concerns, issues, and several key pieces of information that will better help identify potential learning methods and problems later on (like living situation, medical issues, etc).
Afterwards, your child will engage in a series of psychoeducational batteries (exams) as well as frequent observations to determine psychoeducational placement. Your child will also be interviewed on his or her concerns and emotional well being. We prefer to do the assessment over one day as we feel that this gives us the most ecologically valid representation of a child’s school day. If we break the assessment down into small chunks, the child will often do better (but it will not represent how they are functioning in classroom; rather, it is a best case scenario). By using a full morning or afternoon, with “recess” breaks, we can see how the child does over time. The psychologist will measure whether or not the performance is valid and may suggest breaking up the assessment if the child becomes unable to handle the duration of testing. This is booked for 4 hours but may last longer or slightly less time depending on how fast the child works.
There is a lot of behind the scenes (non face-to-face) time that the psychologist spends looking over the data. We score the tests, review the file, review report cards and start identifying patterns. Through all of this, we start to tell the story of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and create a report that describes this story and your child’s pathway to success. It is both science and art to get an accurate picture of a child’s psychoeducational profile.
The final meeting involves the parents (and the child if old enough) getting feedback. The psychologist will walk you through the report so that you have a good understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as a clear understanding of how the psychologist came to his or her diagnostic conclusions. We often get comments that we “nailed it” and parents are amazed that we get such a good understanding of the child through this process.
The total time of the assessment will range from 10 to 14 hours depending on the complexity of the presentation.
How is payment structured?
Typically, the assessment is paid over two installments: one after the initial assessment and one. We can also offer installments. Whichever plan you choose, we require full payment prior to releasing the final psychoeducational evaluation. Our office accepts cash, credit, debit, and cheque.
What should I bring to the appointment?
A detailed list of any & all medications that your child is currently taking (including supplements).
Report cards or any form of academic history detailing the areas of concern.
Your child’s medical records (from any hospitals, psychiatrists, therapists, or doctors that they are or have seen in the past).
- Autism Assessment
- ADHD Assessment
- Learning Disability Assessment
- Giftedness Assessment
- LEAP (Academic) Assessment
- Whole Life Support
- Counselling/Therapy: Overview
- Cognitive Behaviour Therapy
- Emotion Focused Therapy
- Group Counselling
- Career Counselling
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Executive Functioning Tutoring