Psycho Educational Assessments

Psycho-Educational Assessments

Psycho-Educational Assessments are primarily focussed on diagnosing learning problems, and to determine the child or adolescent’s emotional and academic strengths and areas of weakness, in order to make recommendations regarding effective intervention strategies. The results of an assessment can also provide information regarding the individual’s preferred learning style.

What is a Psycho-Educational Assessment and what does it involve?

A Psycho-Educational Assessment is a thorough individual assessment that involves gathering developmental, family, school social/emotional, personality and health histories and administering and interpreting norm-referenced tests. A composite of this information is then used to help gain a better understanding of an individual’s strengths and challenges (cognitively and academically), behaviours and life circumstances in order to make specific suggestions and recommendations to help the individual reach his/her full potential.

Psycho-Educational assessments evaluate a learner’s thinking/reasoning abilities and underlying psychological processes (e.g. memory, attention, processing and executive functioning), academic achievements (e.g. reading, writing, math, oral language), behaviour and socio-emotional functioning in the context of his/her stage of development and in comparison to other children his/her age.

The Psycho-Educational assessment usually starts with an individually administered cognitive test, which will provide information regarding a learner’s verbal abilities, nonverbal abilities, working memory and processing abilities. Attention and concentration abilities can also be assessed depending on the referral reason. The academic part of the assessment will include an assessment of: his/her reading, spelling, writing, mathematics (basic numerical and mathematical reasoning), listening comprehension and oral expressive skills. The socio-emotional assessment will include the child’s history, projective techniques and/or questionnaires.

The assessment process usually involves the following:

  • Intake interview with the parents (approximately 45 mins - 1 hour)
  • Assessment with the child or adolescent (4-5 hours: this differs depending on the age of the child and the referral reason)
  • Observation in the classroom (especially for the younger ones)
  • Contact with the teacher/s (if necessary)
  • Feedback session and written report. During the feedback session with the parents, the findings, diagnoses and recommendations will be discussed in detail (this part of the process might include the learner depending on his/her age). Referrals to other services will be suggested if appropriate (e.g. Occupational Therapy or Speech-and Language Therapy). The recommendations might also include certain concessions, which are available in the school system, such as extra time in test and examinations, or a reading and/or scribe in test situations.

Psycho-Educational Assessments could be valuable if you are noticing that your child or adolescent is starting to lose interest in school, express that the “work is too hard”, not grasp new skills as readily as one would expect, appear to be inattentive in class or at home whilst also progressing more slowly than his/her peers, refuses to go to school, and/or you feel that your child is not performing according to his/her potential. A psycho-educational assessment could therefore be helpful to make sense of a disconnect between the child’s potential and his/her current performance at school.

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