Psychoeducational assessments can be valuable in understanding and addressing the learning needs of children and adolescents. When conducted, interpreted, and reported in a manner that accurately describes their needs, such assessments can positively affect your child's success in school.
Receiving a proper evaluation will help the parents and teachers better understand the needs of the child, as well as help the child qualify for additional resources and support in all educational setting throughout their life, as early as pre-school all the way to post-secondary education. These assessments are essential in developing an Individualized Program Plan (IPP) or Learner Support Plan (LSP) for students so that they can keep up with educational material and feel proud of their achievements.
Information is most often gathered through interviews, a review of academic records, behavioural observations, and administration of standardized assessment tools. Standardized measures most often include cognitive and achievement tests to determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses relative to same-age or grade peers. The child will complete a series of tasks to assess their cognitive and academic skills including their reasoning skills, information processing skills, intellectual abilities, memory, and attention. This part of the assessment usually takes 4-6 hours, across 2-3 sessions.
Parent and teacher rating scales may also be used to assess frequency of behaviours, in order to gain a better understanding of your child’s social-emotional and behavioural functioning, and how these factors affect school functioning.
Each assessment report will vary depending on the referral issues and assessment measures used. However, your child or adolescent’s assessment report would typically include:
The purpose of the assessment
A summary of relevant background information
A list of measures used in the assessment
A summary of your child’s performance, strengths and weaknesses as it relates to referral questions
Recommendations such as behavioural strategies, classroom accommodations and modifications, and relevant community resources.
Assessment reports summarize and interpret all information collected to make informed decisions about your child’s underlying areas of difficulty. It may also involve making a formal diagnosis as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and Alberta Learning codes. Diagnoses for school-aged children often include Specific Learning Disorders (e.g., reading, writing, mathematics), Intellectual Disabilities, ADHD, Disruptive Behavioral Disorders, Depressive and Anxiety Disorders, and Trauma and Stress-related Disorders.
A list of recommendations are then provided to support your child across home and school environments. Time is spent to ensure that recommendations are helpful and relevant to families and schools in order to best facilitate each child’s growth and success moving forward.