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What Is A Psychoeducational Assessment? 16 Signs Your Child May Need One

By Natasha Sharma

When a child grapples with behaviour and/or learning issues, it can be a challenge not only for the child but also for parents and teachers. To make things more complicated, children can struggle in one specific area of learning or subject area, or they may present with difficulties in general with their learning or behaviour. This can make things confusing to parents and teachers, and an assessment is often recommended to parents. So what is a Psychoeducational Assessment? And when does your child need one?

If a child struggles at school or in an area of learning, it doesn’t mean that the child necessarily has a learning disorder or other developmental issue. Indeed, it’s been widely observed that sleep deprivation almost perfectly mimics the symptoms of ADHD. Therefore just because a child or student has challenges with focus, concentration, and holding attention doesn’t mean that they have ADHD.

In addition, at times issues with a child’s mood – such as anxiety, anger, or depression – can interfere significantly with their performance, undermining it in a way that makes it look like a learning disorder, when in fact it might be due to other reasons. Knowing the difference is paramount in determining the best types of services to offer your child.

What Is A Psychoeducational Assessment?

So how you do you tell? Through a Psychoeducational Assessment, which involves the administration of a range of standardized psychological and educational tests to a child or student. A Psychoeducational Assessment is an incredibly valuable tool; it can provide parents, teachers, and students with a clear and objective understanding of a child’s aptitude, learning ability, learning style, academic and other skills, social/emotional/behavioural functioning, as well as their needs.

This typically involves:

  • Intellectual & Cognitive Testing
  • Academic & Achievement Testing
  • Personality, Emotional, & Behavioural Testing

Standard assessment protocols that most District/County School Boards recognize are used, including administration of:

  • WISC-IV or WAIS-IV
  • WIAT-III or WRAT-4
  • Children’s Memory Scale (CMS) or WMS-III
  • Conners’ Continuous Performance Test (CPT II) and Conners’ Rating Scales
  • Various other standard measures that assess for Learning Disabilities, Central Auditory Processing Disorders, ADHD, Developmental Delays, and Autism Spectrum Disorders

The results of the assessment can lead to a psychological diagnosis (if applicable) that may facilitate the child’s access to beneficial school supports and accommodations to help them develop and perform at their peak potential. In contrast, it can also rule out any suspicions of a diagnosis. More importantly, a Psychoeducational Assessment provides a picture of a child’s individual learning style, and allows for understanding their unique strengths, assets, and areas of relative weakness. It can help students, parents, and teachers discover the best way in which they can learn and capitalize on their talents, as well as how to compensate for areas of weakness.

A Psychoeducational Assessment report follows every assessment and will provide practical and comprehensive recommendations that can readily be applied both at home and school. Each report is customized to the distinctive needs of each child. This report essentially provides the basis upon which parents and teachers can best provide help and support for a child.

When Should You Seek An Assessment For Your Child? 16 Signs Your Child May Need One:

You should seek an assessment for your child if you observe one or more of the following:

  1. Academic performance is not consistent with other acquired skills or talents
  2. Language skills are delayed
  3. Motor or perceptual skills are delayed
  4. Test anxiety interferes with classroom performance or finishing tests in the given time
  5. Shyness, anxiety, or mood difficulties interfere with learning
  6. Inability to focus, pay attention, or stay on task in school
  7. Inability to listen to or follow instructions
  8. Inability or unwillingness to complete homework
  9. Extremely poor performance in one subject area (e.g., Math, Reading, Writing)
  10. Inability to achieve at least average grades
  11. Child can watch TV or play video games for hours but can’t concentrate in the classroom
  12. Appears to daydream often, not be listening, or to be confused when spoken to
  13. Difficulty comprehending task requirements
  14. Difficulty with memory or organization (i.e. forgetful, trouble keeping track of due dates)
  15. Skipping or refusing to go to school
  16. Requiring a fresh or updated assessment for purposes of College or UniversityMotor or perceptual skills are delayedTest anxiety interferes with classroom performance or finishing tests in given timeInability or unwillingness to complete homework

Even students who don’t demonstrate any clear challenges or learning deficits can benefit from an assessment. Remember that a Psychoeduational Assessment is a means of discovering your child’s unique learning style, strengths, talents, personality, and areas of weakness. Understanding this information can help you to tailor your approach to school and even help in deciding what schools to go to, the kinds of classes to take, and what future educational programs and career paths to pursue. And that can make all the difference in your child’s life.

NKS Therapy offers services such as Career Counselling Toronto, Couples Counselling Toronto, Relationship Counselling Toronto, Psychoeducational Assessment in Toronto, Toronto Psychologist Services, and Child Psychologist Toronto Services. Call us today at 416-745-4745. We love to help.

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