What is a psychoeducational assessment?
Psychoeducational assessments provide a detailed evaluation of individual academic, learning, and educational strengths and weakness. The assessments gather an individual’s educational history, developmental history, behavioral histories, self-reports, and observations from family members, caregivers, or teachers. The assessment investigates individual functioning in several ways, including an assessment of cognitive abilities, memory, attentional capacities, and academic skill development. The results of the assessment are compiled into a comprehensive written report outlining learning exceptionalities and academic strengths and weaknesses. We provide professional recommendations and detailed treatment and learning plans to support your child’s development and growth. Psychoeducational assessments may be useful to diagnose a range of issues such as Specific Learning Disabilities or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
Every child is different and unique. Some mature quite quickly while others take their time. It may be challenging for caregivers to see their children struggle at school, at home, and in their relationships with others. Parents may observe their child’s speaking skills are developing at a much slower rate than other children, while teachers may notice children who fail to recognize social cues in everyday activities (i.e. hide-and-seek, drawing, reading, etc.). Parents and teachers can support children with learning exceptionalities through accessing a combined psychoeducational assessment to identify where they may need additional supports or academic accommodations.
We work with toddlers through play therapy.
What is a clinical assessment?
Clinical assessments provide a detailed understanding of individual social/emotional functioning and personality development. This component of the assessment seeks to identify mood discrepancies, sleep disturbances, experiences of trauma, and emotional dysregulation that may be impacting individual functioning at home, at school, or in relationships with others. Clinical assessments seek to understand the nature of a child’s symptoms and may provide diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, or disruptive and conduct-related disorders. In our final report, we provide professional recommendations and comprehensive treatment plans to support your child’s development, growth, self-understanding, and therapeutic process.
What is a comprehensive assessment?
Comprehensive Assessments combine psychoeducational and clinical assessments. The benefits of a comprehensive assessment, over a psychoeducational or clinical assessment alone, is that they provide you and your child with an integrated understanding of how interconnected all psychological processes may be. For instance, understanding how social anxiety impacts academic skill development and performance can be more helpful than understanding each on their own. Similarly, substantiating the impact of an undiagnosed learning disorder on a child’s emotional and behavioural functioning can provide understanding and relief to caregivers hoping to learn how to better support their child. A comprehensive assessment would not only compare cognitive abilities against academic skill development (necessary to identify the presence of a learning disorder), but would also take into account how aspects of personality and emotional states affect education and learning.
How do I identify if my child needs a psychoeducational assessment?
Both teachers and parents alike may observe behaviours in a child that may warrant further assessment and investigation. Teachers, who spend a significant period of time with children throughout each day, are sometimes the first to observe when a child is struggling to cope at the same rate as their peers. Students who struggle with writing, reading, numbers, or math facts may be supported by a psychoeducational assessment, which will assist in identifying specific strengths and weaknesses, which may support accommodated learning plans to help children succeed.
Steps Taken by the psychologist:
Toronto Psychological Services offers an initial consultation with primary caregiver(s) to ascertain the child’s educational, social and behavioural functioning. Your child will then participate in six to nine hours of one-on-one testing, conducted over the course of 2-3 days. These standardized measures assess a child’s cognitive skills, language abilities, memory, attention capacities, motor skills, and socioemotional functioning. Semi-structured clinical interviews are conducted with parents, children, and sometimes teachers. Throughout the process, standardized questionnaires are gathered from various observers (e.g., parents, caregivers, and teachers) and supporting documents are acquired. Throughout the assessment, trained psychologists observe the pattern of a child’s behaviour and may engage a one-hour session of cognitive play therapy to investigate behavioral and socioemotional functioning.