What is a psychoeducational assessment and how can it help my child?
Have you noticed your child struggling with reading or writing? Or, has their teacher mentioned they’re falling behind? Learning disabilities, ADHD, anxiety, or depression often stay hidden and impact a child’s academic performance and behaviour both in and outside of the classroom. A psychoeducational assessment could assist with understanding your child’s difficulties so that they can get the support they may need to achieve to their full potential.
Psychoeducational assessments are suitable for children and adolescents who are struggling with some aspects of their academic life. It will identify areas of strength and development in a child’s learning profile and provide a deeper understanding of their educational abilities and emotional world. It can also identify Learning Disabilities, symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Intellectual Disabilities and other mental health issues that can interfere with learning and development.
This type of assessment will assess a child’s cognitive (i.e. intellectual) abilities which would include information processing abilities, executive functioning, spatial reasoning, language abilities etc. It will also evaluate a child’s academic achievement levels, and general emotional and behavioural issues. These evaluations usually measure emotional/behavioural functioning and their impact on the child’s academic success.
What is involved in the process?
A psycho-educational assessment is an intensive process, requiring interviews, the input of parents, teachers, and the child, one-on-one testing sessions, and observations. Once the assessment has been completed, however, you will be provided with a complete report detailing your child’s myriad of abilities and needs. You’ll also be connected with essential services (where appropriate), such as occupational therapy (for improving coordination and motor functioning) and speech therapy if necessary.
You can expect to provide a great deal of information detailing both your child’s medical and developmental history and their current social and behavioural functioning at the outset of the intake process. Come prepared with any relevant medical reports and your child’s academic records. You may also wish to involve your child’s teacher in the testing process as they can provide additional insight about how he or she is in the school environment. Sometimes, having a psychologist work directly with your child’s teachers in order to observe your child in class can also be helpful.
The process will include an intake session with the parents of the child, this will be followed by a testing session/s with the child. After the testing session, the psychologist will write up a comprehension report with the test results and what they mean. The parents and psychologist will then meet to discuss the results of the assessment and the way forward. The parents and teachers will also be provided with relevant resources and support where necessary. The report will only be given to the parents and the onus will be on the parents to decide whether they provide this to the teacher.
Who normally requests a psychoeducational assessment?
The teacher of the child will normally refer a child for a psychoeducational assessment if they notice that the child is struggling in school, is not meeting academic milestones, needs extra academic support or is struggling emotionally etc. However, sometimes parents will decide to bring their child in for an assessment on their own. They may have noticed that their child is not enjoying school, refuses to go to school, is struggling academically, is acting out etc.
Some reasons for a psychoeducational assessment could include:
- Progressively worsening attitude towards school
- Persistently disruptive behaviour
- Attention/concentration difficulties
- Not meeting age appropriate academic or social milestones
- Significant difficulties with reading, writing or mathematics
What would the client get?
A psychoeducational assessment will provide a holistic understanding of a child’s cognitive, educational, neurodevelopmental and emotional functioning. This would also give an indication of the child’s strengths and areas of development. Parents and educators in the child’s life would be able to better understand the child’s difficulties and therefore better support the child both at home and in the classroom. Guidelines and tips will also be provided for teachers and parents. The child will be able to better understand themselves and get the appropriate support to help them succeed.
How much will all this cost?
The cost of a psychoeducational assessment at this practice is R3900, this would include the intake session, testing session/s, feedback session, comprehensive report and relevant resources.