When a Child Needs a Psycho-Educational Assessment
Updated: Jan 21, 2019
By Jessie-Anne Bird, Educational Psychologist
What is a psycho-educational assessment?
Children and adolescents are often referred to Educational Psychologists when they have behavioural, academic, or emotional difficulties. A psycho-educational assessment aims to measure intellectual, cognitive, academic, and emotional development to assist in understanding your child’s overall functioning. This is necessary to identify specific strengths and weaknesses, with the aim of optimizing potential through appropriate support and intervention.
The earlier barriers to learning are identified, the better. Timely intervention increases the likelihood of improvement and progress. A psycho-educational assessment is the first step to identifying correct interventions to assist in overcoming challenges your child may be experiencing in the classroom or at home. These interventions may include referrals to other professionals, such as speech and occupational therapists, and school placement may be considered for children needing holistic academic support. You may also be referred for sessions to assist with parenting, or psychotherapeutic interventions such as marital therapy or family therapy.
How do you know if your child needs a psycho-educational assessment?
Often educators are the first to suggest a psycho-educational assessment for your child. This is often based on observations that happen within the classroom. Behavioural challenges such as lack of attention, poor concentration, and avoidance of academic tasks may indicate that your child is struggling with the demands of the classroom situation. Frequent careless mistakes, slow work rate, untidy handwriting, and spelling difficulties are often signs of learning difficulties, which can respond to appropriate intervention and support, once identified. Additionally, psycho-educational assessments are necessary in determining accommodations, such as extra time, for children who have difficulty with testing situations.
How does a psycho-educational assessment work?
A psycho-educational assessment typically begins with an interview with you, the parents. This is an important part of the process, as the psychologist uses this opportunity to understand your child’s history and background. It is necessary to gain a clear picture of the reason for the assessment, as this will determine the types of tests used, and will influence the recommendations made by the psychologist.
After the initial interview, the assessment session(s) take place. This is usually over one or two days, and can be a lengthy process. The psychologist will spend time with your child, administering a selection of psychometric assessments. These are adapted to the age and developmental needs of each child, and consist of tasks of varying difficulty.
Following the completion of the assessment sessions, the psychologist will write the report according to the results of the psychometric tests. This report will include information from the initial interview with you, as well as recommendations for future interventions. The report is usually explained to you during a feedback session, and you may be linked to resources to provide support where needed.
Do you have any questions about psycho-educational assessments? Let us know!