Understanding Psychoeducational Assessment for Children and Young People

A psychoeducational assessment, sometimes referred to as a learning assessment or diagnostic assessment, helps to understand an individual’s cognitive, academic, and developmental needs and provides strategies to support their learning. 

Author: Dana Lejune

Here’s a closer look at what these assessments entail and why they are important.

What is a psychoeducational assessment?

A psychoeducational assessment is a specialised assessment used to determine your child’s learning and academic abilities and evaluate factors impacting their cognitive performance.

Psychoeducational assessments, at Better Self Psychology, are conducted with children and young people, aged 6-16 years. Normally, a psychoeducational assessment is conducted if your child has been struggling with one or more core academic skill areas such as reading, writing, spelling, or mathematics. This academic struggle is often unexpected as their general capabilities and learning in other areas are at standard. We also complete psychoeducational assessments if your child is showing significant strengths in their learning and need to be challenged. 

 A psychoeducational assessment can help to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses and find out if an identifiable learning difficulty exists. This assessment can determine if your child has a Specific Learning Disorder, such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or Dysgraphia. It can also determine if your child has an Intellectual Disability or is Gifted. In addition, if your child is experiencing difficulties with managing their emotions, please discuss this with your psychologist as they can include additional testing to assist with understanding whether your child has symptoms of anxiety, depression, or ADHD.  Psychoeducational assessments can also help to determine other factors that may impact academic performance and overall well-being.

What is involved in the psychoeducational process?

1. Pre-assessment questionnaire: You will be asked to complete a digital questionnaire and provide your child’s details and basic background information.

2. Initial Consultation: This step involves gathering background information through an interview with parents over the phone. The goal is to understand the concerns and context of your child’s concerns. Here we ask questions about your child’s educational background, developmental history, and current needs. This includes information regarding previous assessments and interventions that they have undergone. The psychologist will provide information addressing the testing session and answer any questions you may have.

 3. Testing: The testing session takes approximately 3-4 hours and ideally occurs in the morning. Once your child has had time to get acquainted with the psychologist and has settled in, they complete a set of tests focused on the following areas:

  • Cognitive processes: Standardised tests to measure your child’s cognitive abilities, such as intelligence, processing speed, attention, memory, and executive functioning. These assessments help identify strengths and weaknesses in cognitive functioning that may be impacting learning.
  • Academic abilities: Standardised tests in areas such as reading, writing, mathematics, and oral language. These assessments help identify specific areas of difficulty and determine your child’s current academic functioning relative to their peers.
  • It is important for your child to be well-rested the night before testing and to have breakfast before the session.  We also recommend bringing water and snacks to their testing to ensure they have fuel for their brain.

4. Interpretation of Results: Once testing is complete, the data collected from the assessment is scored and analysed to identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential learning or emotional difficulties.

5. Feedback and recommendations: After completing the assessment, the psychologist provides feedback to you as parents and if appropriate to your child too. It is during this session that we discuss the findings of the assessment, so whether there were strengths or weaknesses and any diagnosis that has been provided. In addition, we provide lots of recommendations that are tailored specifically to your child and the way their brains work. Recommendations may include accommodations, modifications, interventions, or additional services to support your child’s learning and academic success.

6. Report: A written report is provided that summarises everything we discussed in the feedback session. This includes detailed results from the assessments, formal diagnoses (if applicable), and recommendations and strategies.

What do I need to do before undergoing a psychoeducational assessment?

Before a psychoeducational assessment is conducted, we recommend a few things occur first to ensure no other conditions are impacting your child.  Firstly, we recommend getting your child’s eyes and ears checked to rule out any visual or hearing difficulties that could be impacting on your child’s learning.  Secondly, to ensure we are able to diagnose a learning difficulty if this is shown in our assessment,  we recommend your child completes a minimum of 6 months quality intervention focused on improving their skills in the academic area of difficulty prior to a psychoeducational assessment. This may include literacy intervention (such as reading, writing, or spelling) and/ or numeracy intervention (maths fluency, basic maths facts).  We recommend completing 6 months of intervention prior to the assessment as we are unable to diagnose a learning difficulty without intervention being previously engaged for this amount of time.

In summary

A psychoeducational assessment is a powerful tool that paves the way for targeted interventions and support strategies for your child. These assessments offer invaluable insights that can make a significant difference in your child’s educational and personal development. Please call us on 8432 0007 to book your child’s assessment. 

Better Self Psychology specialises in helping children, teenagers, and young adults.

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