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Psychological Assessment

A psychological assessment is sometimes called a "psych-ed" or "psycho-educational assessment." These are just many names for the same thing;  they are meant to answer a question or provide information about a specific area of interest. Some of the questions that can be answered by an assessment include:

  • Why do I have difficulties taking tests?

  • Why do I have trouble with math? or english? or another subject?

  • Why can't I remember my appointments?

  • Why do I struggle to fulfill my duties at school or work?

  • Why can't I remember what I just learned?

  • Why am I so scattered?

To answer these questions, we might examine cognition, memory, executive functions, academic skills, mental health, social-emotional functioning, daily living skills, attention, social functioning or other areas.

Information from a psycho-educational assessment can be used to offer suggestions and recommendations to support you or your child. When appropriate, an assessment may also result in a diagnosis or recommendations for accommodations/adaptations in school or work.

Formal psychological assessment may include assessment for:

  • Learning disorders and disabilities, 

  • Attention and behaviour challenges, 

  • Memory or learning difficulties,

  • Social-emotional challenges, 

  • Executive function challenges,

  • Intellectual disabilities,

  • Autism spectrum disorder, and 

  • Other learning challenges.

Looking for a way to explain a psychological assessment? Try looking at our handout.

What to Expect During an Assessment

During your first appointment, we will begin by helping you understand our services and limitations, and will ask if you can give informed consent to our services. If you are seeking services for your child, your child does not come to this appointment. We will talk about confidentiality, the risks and benefits to assessment and therapy, and will answer any questions that you might have. We will then ask you some questions to get a good sense of why you are seeking services. This first session will end with a discussion about what assessment measures might be used and how many appointments might be needed.

After the first appointment with us, the person coming for an assessment (we will call them the client), will need to return at scheduled times to complete some assessment measures. The measures usually include cognitive assessment (like intelligence or memory), academic assessment and specific behaviour or social-emotional assessment as needed. These measures help us to understand how the client learns best and the client's behaviour and social-emotional needs. Once the assessment measures are finished, we will put a final report together. This report includes the results from the assessment measures, an explanation of what this means for how the client learns, thinks, and behaves, and some recommendations to help support the client's learning and social-emotional growth. We will go over this report with you and give you a chance to ask questions and have any of the measures or information explained in more detail. We will also help you to understand the recommendations and try to provide you with support in implementing some of them. You will be given a copy of the final report to take with you. Some people wish to share  all or some of this information with a teacher, a school, a doctor, or another service provider.  

After an assessment, you will better understand the client's learning and development, have a plan, know what type of help would be best, and can advocate for the client.

What To Tell Your Child or Teen

Many parents wonder what and how to explain psychological services to their child.  We find that most kids know they are having trouble and appreciate that something will be figured out to help them. Children usually have fun and like coming in, even thought they work really hard. We suggest that you explain that a psychologist helps kids when things aren't going as well as they could. 

If you are coming for an assessment, you might say that we will help figure out how they learn best and what might make things easier in school. During your first appointment, we can help you decide on a more detailed explanation if it is needed.

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