For students who are struggling in school, psychoeducational assessments could be the first step in getting the help they need. These assessments are designed to measure the cognitive functioning of the child as it relates to their educational performance. The process can be confusing for many parents so gaining a basic understanding can be helpful.
Who Should Consider Seeking a Psychoeducational Assessment?
For many children, school personnel are the first to recommend an assessment. Often times the child has been given extra help in problematic academic subjects but continues to struggle. They may begin to display acting out behavior or show less interest in school. The child struggles greatly but is still not able to understand new concepts. Parents may also request an assessment when they feel that their child is intelligent enough but is just not living up to his or her full potential for some reason aside from laziness.
Calming Worries of Parent and Child
It is perfectly normal for parents to worry about having their child assessed. Parents may worry about their child being labeled and the stigma attached to this. Parents may also worry that their child will be forced into using medication. Rest assured though that the benefit the child will gain by completing an assessment far outweighs the negative impact. Children will also be understandably worried about the process. The best way to relieve their worry is to talk to them about what to expect. Explain that the tests are to determine how they learn best and what can be done to help them achieve their highest success. Explain that there will be a variety of questions, tests, puzzles, stories and games. Reassure the child it will not be painful and they may even find it fun. Worrying is perfectly normal, but the sooner the child is able to have the educational supports needed, the more successful they can be in school.
What Does the Assessment Include?
While the specific content of psychoeducational assessments and reports can vary, there are similarities between them.
• Cognitive/Intelligence Testing – these are used to test the child’s cognitive ability in a variety of areas and to determine their IQ.
• Academic Testing – there are numerous tests designed to assess the child’s academic achievement to see in what areas they may be struggling.
• Adaptive Testing- these tests look at adaptive behaviors in regards to daily activities. Interviews with parents and teachers are important, as well as observation of the child.
• Environmental Considerations – the child’s environment in the home, school and community will be evaluated through parental reporting to determine any outside factors.
• Medical Concerns – the child’s medical history will be carefully considered to see if there are any contributing factors.
What Happens After the Assessment?
Once the assessment is completed, an extensive report with all of the results will be developed. This will include various statistics and measurements but should also include a narrative clearly explaining the student’s strengths and weaknesses and any identified learning disabilities. Most importantly, the report should provide concrete recommendations for educational strategies to address the deficits.
While parents may be upset to learn their child has a learning disability it is important to remember this means the child can now receive the assistance needed to reach their potential. The staff at York Regional Psychological Services stand ready to assist and can be reached at (416)602-3230.