Image of youth with learning difficulties who seeks psychological assessment

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT

A psychoeducational assessment provides an evaluation of a child’s unique intellectual and academic strengths and challenges. As a child and adolescent psychologist, this is one of the more in-depth psychological assessments I offer. Psychoeducational assessments are often sought when kids are struggling at home or at school and something about their thinking, memory, or information processing is suspected to be a problem.

 

If a child has a learning issue, it is sometimes obvious in their academic performance. Other times, it is subtle. Learning difficulties can show up in behaviour, mood, and anxiety problems. This is because learning issues cause frustration and demoralization with school. They can also affect how children/youth function socially, how they manage their emotions, how they problem solve, and how they learn basic life skills. A psychoeducational assessment can help sort out what factors are contributing to a child's/youth’s challenges both at home and at school. This psychological assessment can also identify interventions that will help improve your child's mental health and functioning.

Signs that your child might benefit from a psychoeducational assessment:

  • You sense they are bright, but their grades are not reflecting that

  • They lack confidence in one or all subjects, and dread and avoid schoolwork

  • Their writing, math, or reading skills are below grade level

  • They tend to daydream or lose focus in class; or they fiddle and doodle in class

  • They are disorganized (always forgetting or losing assignments, losing track of what they are supposed to be doing; their backpacks and rooms are a mess)

  • They have difficulty getting along with others, including peers and/or teachers

  • They get anxious about schoolwork or tests

  • They start getting anxious Sunday evening, or have trouble sleeping on Sunday nights

  • They have trouble getting started on homework, and/or can’t figure out what to do first

  • They get frustrated with schoolwork, or reactive when you tell them it’s time for homework

What is involved in a psychoeducational assessment:

  • It will provide information about your child’s unique mental health profile

  • It will help identify the domain(s) where your child may be hitting a wall they can’t figure out how to get past.

  • It may lead to a formal diagnosis, such as a Learning Disability (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia), ADHD, or Intellectual Disability. A formal diagnosis can be helpful in getting your child designated at school as an individual requiring extra, individualized support

A Psychoeducational Assessment often includes the following:

  • A brief discussion with parents of the presenting problem, and development of an assessment plan

  • A 1 to 1.5-hour developmental history interview with parent(s)

  • Telephone interview with child/youth’s primary teacher

  • Comorbidity/social emotional screening, including self, parent, teacher rating scales

  • Two 2-4 hour individual sessions with the child to administer interview and standardized psychological tests, which can include tests of:

    • Intelligence

    • Learning

    • Memory

    • Attention/concentration

    • Visual perception, fine motor, and visual motor integration skills

    • Language skills (comprehension, expression)

    • Reading skills (word reading, phonetics, reading comprehension, fluency)

    • Math skills (calculation, word problems, fluency)

    • Written expression (spelling, sentence writing, essay writing)

    • Note that I do the testing of your child myself, rather than use a psychometrist, which allows me to make important observations of their approach to solving problems, but also to discuss their reaction to various tasks and the strategies they use

    • Review of past evaluations, medical records, report cards, as available and indicated

  • Scoring, tabulation, and interpretation of test scores

  • Integration of test scores with background information

  • Written report with recommendations to improve academic, vocational, and family functioning

  • 1 to 1.5-hour feedback session

My goal when I provide a psychoeducational assessment is to help the child and everyone around them to develop a new perspective on their struggles and mental health. Often when kids are struggling, they and the adults around them may interpret the child’s challenging behaviour as “bad,” “difficult,” “lazy,” “not caring," or “dumb."  It is much more helpful to assume that all kids are doing the best they can (of course they want to be successful!).  When we see challenging behaviour, it means the demands and expectations of the environment have exceeded the child’s capacity in some domain.  

The cost of a psychoeducational assessment is determined by the complexity of the questions you have about your child, and the complexity of your child’s presenting issues.  Fees are billed at the rate of $210 per hour, and a typical  psychoeducational assessment includes about 13-15 hours of service, for an estimated cost of around $3000.   Please call for a more specific estimate based on your child's needs.