What is a psychoeducational assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment is a comprehensive evaluation that provides insight into your child/adolescent’s unique strengths and challenges. Cognitive, academic, and other related areas (see below) are measured to help you understand the challenges that your child/adolescent is experiencing as well as how to best support him/her in home, school, and community settings.
When is a psychoeducational assessment needed?
A psychoeducational assessment is usually recommended for children/adolescents when they:
- Are struggling academically and a Specific Learning Disorder is suspected
- Are delayed in their development and an intellectual disability is suspected
- Have complex developmental issues and detailed insight into their cognitive and academic abilities is needed
- Are very bright and there is speculation that they may be a gifted student
There are also times when a psychoeducational assessment is recommended for a young child in early elementary school. For example, a child who had delayed language and motor skills as a preschooler may complete a psychoeducational assessment at school entry so that parents and teachers have detailed information about the child’s intellectual and early concept development. In addition, there are times when children with autism were not able to complete cognitive testing at the time of their diagnostic assessments so this testing is re-attempted as they enter the school system.
How can a Psychoeducational Assessment help my child?
A Psychoeducational Assessment can:
- Explain your child’s learning, cognitive, social and emotional strengths and challenges and communicate this information to you as well as your child’s school staff and treatment team.
- Recommend appropriate academic, socio-emotional and behavioural interventions, working from a strengths-based perspective.
- Diagnose intellectual, learning, emotional, and behavioural conditions, some of which can provide access to support services in the school system and the community.
- Provide documentation needed to obtain school services through the B.C. Ministry of Education and/or Community Living BC.
What is involved in a psychoeducational assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment begins with taking a detailed history from one or both parents (including the child’s developmental, medical, psychiatric and educational histories as well as relevant family history) followed by comprehensive assessment of a variety of skills (see below). Information from your child’s formal testing is integrated with a review of his/her developmental history, report cards, and other information provided by you and your child’s teacher. When the conclusions are ready, you are invited back to the office for a feedback session to learn about the results of the assessment and to discuss recommendations. At times, adolescents may attend too. A written report is then sent out after the feedback session, allowing for additional input from you as appropriate. Each assessment, report and recommendation is tailor-made for your child/adolescent.
An evaluation will include an assessment of a wide range of cognitive domains, including some or all of the following:
- Cognitive or intellectual skills (including working memory and processing speed)
- Learning and memory (including working memory, language-based and visual memory)
- Executive skills (e.g., cognitive flexibility, planning, problem-solving, emotional regulation, monitoring and managing behaviour)
- Expressive (i.e., spoken) and receptive (i.e., listening) language skills
- Visuospatial skills, visuomotor skills, motor and sensory skills
- Academic skills (e.g., reading, writing, math, listening and oral expression)
- An evaluation will also carefully consider your child or adolescent’s mood and behaviour
Please see “How should we prepare for our child/teen’s assessment?” under our FAQ tab for more detail.