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NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS

NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENTS

A neuropsychological assessment completed by a psychologist helps parents, teachers and health professionals understand how a child’s brain works. The information collected through parent and teacher report, medical chart review, and individual testing with a child helps us to understand how a child’s brain allows him or her to make sense of sensory information, remember things, pay attention to his or her environment, use language, solve problems, and learn such things as reading, writing and math. A request for this type of assessment is often made when the child has a medical history, such as a brain injury, concussion, tumour, stroke or other neurological condition, although this is not always the case.

Neuropsychologists might choose to investigate different cognitive areas depending on the concerns of the child’s parents, teachers or health professionals. This may include intellectual functioning, academic functioning, language/verbal skills, visual-spatial skills, sensory motor abilities, memory, attention, processing speed/reaction time, and executive skills (i.e., goal-oriented skills that allow us to efficiently complete tasks, such as organization and problem-solving). The clinician also examines social and emotional factors that may impact healthy functioning.

At The Clinic, a neuropsychological assessment involves at least one full day of assessment (or two half-days), an interview with parents, and a feedback session. It may also involve contact with teachers or other health professionals. Once the interview(s), assessment and feedback session(s) are completed, a report is provided that can be shared with educators, health professionals, tutors or anyone else working with the child.

PSYCHOEDUCATIONAL ASSESSMENTS

A psychoeducational assessment is an evaluation of a child’s intellectual and academic functioning. This type of assessment can be completed by a clinical psychologist, a school psychologist or a neuropsychologist. A child may complete a psychoeducational assessment when a learning disability or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is suspected and school accommodations are sought. It can also be completed when parents are questioning whether a child meets the “Gifted” exceptionality at school.

Typically, a psychoeducational assessment starts with an interview with parents to determine what concerns they have about their child, and what type of testing would best suit their needs. The assessment with the child or adolescent can usually be completed over one day, but can also be divided over two or more days. A psychoeducational assessment can be completed with individuals aged 6 to early adulthood. Recommendations are made for elementary or high school, or university/college.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CLICK ON A PROFILE BELOW:

DARLENE WALKER, Ph.D., C.Psych.

CHILDREN & ADOLESCENTS

Child and Adolescent Assessment, ADHD, Learning, Anxiety

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Benefits
  • Increased awareness or understanding of your child’s neurocognitive functioning, behaviour, emotional state, school performance and/or relationships.
  • Formal identification of neurocognitive, behavioural, emotional, learning and developmental disorders, which may help you advocate for appropriate supports/interventions for your child.
  • Better understanding as to whether your child’s development is proceeding as expected, relative to others his or her age.
  • Specific recommendations for treatment and/or accommodations at school and in the community, such as educational placement decisions and individualized programming .
  • Monitor progress and change over time (in the case of multiple assessments).
  • Clarify complex historical and diagnostic pictures.
  • Integrate information from multiple sources to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of a child’s history and current functioning.
  • Arrive at a new understanding of the child’s views and beliefs of himself/herself, others and the world.
  • Children often find the assessment process enjoyable, and appreciate receiving one-on-one attention and interest from a supportive adult.
Risks
  • Assessment can uncover underlying problems/difficulties that you had not anticipated, or the basis for your child’s problems may be different from what you expected.
  • Your child may receive a diagnosis, which can be a difficult process for parents and children.
  • Diagnoses may be associated with social stigmatization (for example, some parents feel that children receiving different educational programs are being unnecessarily singled out from their peers).
  • Parents and children may have to come to terms with the child’s limitations/weaknesses.
  • Can be experienced as a loss of what you had expected from life with your child.
  • You may need to learn about what that diagnosis means.
  • What you learn about your child may highlight the need for changes in the family.
  • Although this information is helpful for schools in making decisions about placement and modifications at school, we cannot guarantee that your child will receive the interventions/modifications that you are hoping for.
  • What you learn about your child may not necessarily lead to a cure or complete resolution of your child’s difficulties.
Additional Resources

All Government Services – 1-800-0-CANADA (1-800-022-6232)

Apprenticeship Grants – 1-866-742-3644

Community Care Access Centre – 310-2222

Distress Line (24 hours) – 416-408-4357

Kids Help Phone (ages 5 to 20, 24 hours) – 1-800-668-6868

Legal Aid Ontario – 416-979-1446

Ontario Disability Support Program – 416-314-5700

TeleHealth Ontario (24 hours) – 1-866-797-0000

Wheel Trans – 416-393-4111

Youth/Adult YMCA Employment – 1-800-223-8024