You may have found this blog post because your child has been referred for a “psychoeducational assessment” and you're wondering what does that actually mean? This is a type of assessment that measures your child’s cognitive, emotional, and behavioural functioning (“psycho”) and their academic skills (“educational”). Your child may require this type of assessment if they are struggling academically, socially, emotionally, or behaviourally. At Lifespan Health we can complete these assessments to help find out if your child’s difficulties can be explained by the presence of a neurodevelopmental disorder, like Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder, an Intellectual Disability, or a Specific Learning Disorder (e.g., dyslexia, dysgraphia, or dyscalculia). Understanding what may be underlying your child’s difficulties can help us figure out how to best support them at home and at school.
This can be a confusing or stressful time for families, as the whole process may seem very complicated or you may be feeling anxious about the potential outcome of the assessment. At Lifespan Health we try to make this process as smooth as possible. In my experience I have found that usually parents have a sense of relief when we discuss the results of the assessment, as they feel they have a much better understanding of their child and a clearer idea of where to go from there. So what should you expect when your child is coming to Lifespan Health for a psychological assessment?
Children may be referred for an assessment in several different ways. Parents may self-refer a child, a school may have suggested the assessment, or you may have been directly referred by a medical practitioner (e.g., a GP, Paediatrician, or Peadiatric Psychiatrist). Our friendly admin team can help you book in your assessment and explain our prices. Generally an assessment will take 2 to 4 weeks to complete from start to finish.
2. The initial intake session
Within this session you will meet with you Psychologist. Generally, most of this session is spent with parents, as your Psychologist will be asking questions about your child’s early years and current functioning. Depending on your child’s age, they will usually wait in waiting room during this time, and are welcome to play with our toys or colour in. The Psychologist will then often meet with your child too. This helps your child feel more comfortable with the Psychologist, helps your child become more familiar with the testing environment, and gives your Psychologist a chance to start to get to know them. Within this session your Psychologist may provide online questionnaires for yourself and for your child’s classroom teacher to complete.
3. The testing sessions
Your child will usually attend 2 to 3 sessions of testing, depending on what we are assessing. These sessions will usually go for 60 minutes. For younger children we generally suggest having these sessions on separate days as it can be quite tiring. Older children or adolescents can often be tested on the same day, with a break in between their session. Our Psychologists are engaging and try to make the sessions as enjoyable as possible Often short breaks are offered during the session, to help keep your child motivated. Activities may include things like solving puzzles, listening tasks, reading, or writing.
4. Report feedback
A Report Feedback session is provided once testing with your child is completed, the parent and teacher questionnaires are returned, and your Psychologist has written the report. This usually occurs about 2 weeks after the testing sessions. Within this session your Psychologist will explain the results of the assessment, any diagnoses given, and recommendations following the assessment. Recommendations may include having the report reviewed by a paediatrician, tips for home and school, engaging in therapy for further support, or a referral to a different specialist (e.g,, Speech Pathologist, Occupational Therapist) for an assessment or therapy. We welcome you to ask as many questions as you like in this session as it is important that you feel you understand the report. There are no “silly” questions!
5. After an assessment
We encourage you to go home and re-read the report. It can be a lot of information to take in. If you have any further questions you are welcome to contact our team. You may have discussed coming back for therapy after the assessment, for help with things like social skills, anxiety management, or behavioural management strategies. Our admin team can help you with booking this in.
Please feel free to Contact Us if you would like any further information.