Why is assessment so important?
Accurate assessment of your child’s learning strengths and difficulties is important for appropriate educational planning. It also helps to identify other factors that may be impacting on your child’s learning.
What type of assessments are available?
An initial consultation with a Clinical Psychologist with parents is an important part of the assessment process. This consultation allows parents to discuss concerns they have about their child’s reading, spelling, learning, behaviour or development. This is particularly important if a child presents with a complex history of learning problems, has previously seen several different professionals (eg, Occupational Therapist, Speech Pathologist, Paediatrician etc), there are concerns about a child’s behaviour, anxiety, or anger management problems, or where parents want an opportunity to openly discuss concerns about their child’s learning with the Psychologist to determine the best way to help their child.
The consultation allows the Clinical Psychologist to take a detailed developmental history and ensures that thorough consideration is given to all aspects of a child’s development and reasons why a child may be experiencing difficulties. For example, for children with learning difficulties this might include identifying difficulties with attention, concentration, or memory; low self-esteem or high anxiety; and possible language delay as factors contributing to learning problems. Identifying and addressing all factors impacting on a child’s learning is important in improving the outcomes of any remediation or tutoring that may follow the assessment.
Academic / Educational Testing
Standardised academic tests of reading, spelling, writing, and maths are administered to compare how a student is performing relative to others of the same age or grade. Supplementary testing provides more detailed information about academic skills that can be used by teachers or tutors to plan remedial work. This includes tests of phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge and fluency, reading fluency, accuracy, and comprehension, and other standardised and non-standardised tests of literacy skills.
Cognitive / Psychometric / IQ Assessment
This provides parents with an indication of a child’s overall ability levels, verbal and non-verbal thinking and reasoning skills, working memory, and processing speed. Testing is used to establish a child’s academic potential, learning style, and particular strengths and weaknesses. In some cases, such an assessment can be off assistance in the diagnosis of specific learning difficulties and other learning disorders.
This involves administration of both cognitive testing and academic testing, and provides the most comprehensive picture of a child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.
Specific Learning Difficulties / Dyslexia Assessment
Diagnostic assessment of a range of specific learning difficulties including dyslexia, reading disorder, spelling disorder, disorder of written expression, maths disorder and dyscalculia are available at the clinic. Our Clinical Psychologist, Sandra Graudins, is a professional allied member of the Australian Dyslexia Association (ADA). Dyslexia assessment can be completed with children, adolescents, and adults.
Assessment of ADHD / ADD
While there is no single test that diagnoses ADHD / ADD, a developmental history establishes whether there has been a pattern of concerns or behaviours that is consistent with an ADHD diagnosis or if other factors better explain these problems. Behaviour rating scales are also completed by parents and teachers as part of this assessment. An assessment of cognitive function can also be completed if necessary. Children can also complete a computerised test of attention. Together this information provides important diagnostic information that can be useful for developing strategies for support.
Gifted and Talented Assessments
A child is identified as ‘gifted’ through psychometric assessment. Such assessment includes administration of tests such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children- Fourth Edition, which provides parents with an indication of thinking and reasoning skills.
Individually tailored assessments are are available depending on the concerns you have about your child. These include:
- Assessment of developmental disorders such as Autism, Asperger’s, and Developmental delay
- School readiness assessments
- Special provisions assessments for high school, college, and university
- Adult learning difficulties and dyslexia testing
What happens after an assessment?
A feedback session is arranged where assessment results and recommendations are discussed with parents. Having a detailed understanding about a child’s strengths and weaknesses can help parents and teachers to make informed decisions about what is appropriate support for their child’s learning and to better advocate for them at school. A written report is also provided with detailed recommendations for support. Arrangements can also be made to consult with schools or other professionals to provide an integrated approach to support.