When difficulties with learning or attention are getting in the way, we can help to understand and start making things easier.
There are many reasons that students can struggle in academic settings. Parents and teachers might wonder when a student has learning problems whether they might suffer from a specific learning disability or perhaps an attention problem, such as ADD or ADHD, which could be limiting their ability to make progress in school. Our philosophy in our assessment work is that we all have areas of strength and weakness. By uncovering these areas in detail, we can help students work toward achieving optimal academic success. A thorough Psychoeducational Assessment can help to reveal various factors underlying a student’s particular challenges in school and allow for appropriate recommendations to help improve functioning in a school setting.
At EVOLVE, we offer two main types of psychoeducational assessments:
STANDARD PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS
Usually parents request a psychoeducational assessment after they have suspected that their child or teen has been struggling in some aspect of their academic development. Other times, teachers have raised some concerns based on their observations of the student in the classroom. A STANDARD PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENT can investigate the concerns to help determine if a significant learning challenge might be impeding a child’s ability to perform to their full potential.
Standard Psychoeducational Assessments typically include the following components
- In-depth interviews with student and parents
- Semi-structured interview form completion by classroom teachers
- Review of background academic records (e.g. report cards and IPPs) and any previous assessment reports (e.g. Speech-Language Assessments)
- Direct assessment of the student’s current cognitive abilities to identify natural strengths and weaknesses in thinking skills (also known as intelligence testing)
- Direct assessment of other potential contributors to the student’s learning challenges, such as learning and memory skills, organizational skills, attention and mental processing speed.
- Direct assessment of a student’s academic skills (including core reading, writing and math skills)
- Screening (and possibly more in-depth) assessment of any social, emotional or behavioural difficulties that could be contributing to learning challenges
COMPREHENSIVE PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS
(also known as SCHOOL NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS)
This type of assessment involves all of the components in a Standard Psychoeducational Assessment, plus an additional 2-3 hours of neuropsychological testing conducted by a trained neuropsychologist to provide more in-depth, detailed assessment of specific components of thinking skills that can impact learning. For instance, some of the areas that may be assessed include: language, visual-perceptual skills, fine motor skills, organizational abilities, planning, problem-solving, reasoning, judgment and more. The results of the assessment are then reviewed and analyzed by both a school psychologist and a neuropsychologist to provide you with in-depth interpretations and recommendations.
A Comprehensive Psychoeducational Assessment is a good option to consider when you want to investigate thinking skills in more depth. These assessments can be especially useful if an individual seems to have complex learning challenges, if previous assessments have never quite seemed to provide adequate explanations, or if an individual has a history of known or suspected neurological or developmental disorders.
For both Standard and Comprehensive Assessments, we will provide a written report that includes our clinical impressions with regard to whether an individual meets formal diagnostic criteria for a specific LEARNING DISABILITY, such as a Reading, Writing, or Mathematics Disorder. There might also be an indication of other more unique learning challenges, such as a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) profile. We also routinely perform assessments to evaluate whether an individual might have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD).
Finally, we believe that one of the most important aspects of the assessment process is to provide specific, detailed recommendations to help better support the student in school in order to reach their optimal learning potential. Therefore, our reports include extensive recommendation sections that are tailored to capitalize on a student’s demonstrated strengths to help compensate for any areas of specific academic challenges.
Depending on some of the presenting concerns, other services are offered at an additional fee to enhance the assessment and feedback process, such as:
School observation: It can sometimes be useful for the psychologist to go into the classroom and observe the student directly in the learning environment to help identify factors that may be contributing to learning challenges.
School Liaison Follow-Up Meetings: At parents’ request, we can arrange for one of our psychologists to attend a school meeting to present the findings of the assessment and to summarize our impressions. We can then work jointly with the parents and school staff to provide suggestions to assist the school in working optimally with the student.