A psychoeducational assessment is a thorough investigation into a child’s cognitive abilities (thinking and problem solving skills), academic skills, and socio-emotional functioning in order to determine what may be hindering that child’s ability to reach their potential at school. A psychoeducational assessment will identify a child’s strengths and weaknesses and will look at how a child’s cognitive skills and emotional functioning are related to academic progress. Sometimes a psychoeducational assessment will result in a diagnosis, for example a learning disability or ADHD, and other times it does not. Either way, a more thorough understanding of a child’s learning profile will help parents and teachers apply strategies to allow the child to reach their full potential.
A psychoeducational assessment is a comprehensive process. This includes:
– an intake session/clinical interview where your clinician will learn about current concerns and functioning and also obtain a thorough developmental history
– clinical interviews with the child’s current teacher as well as a review of current and past report cards
– formal testing with the child/teen using standardized assessment measures to determine the child’s current level of functioning relative to other children their age
– standardized questionnaires completed by parents and teachers to examine a child’s current social, emotional, and behavioural functioning relative to same aged children
– scoring, interpretation, and integration of all of the information (e.g., developmental history, information from parent and teacher interviews and questionnaires, test data). All the data is integrated to provide a thorough understanding of a child’s learning profile including strengths and needs
– a detailed report with recommendations. If a diagnosis is applicable, it will be documented in this report. The report will contain recommendations for the parents and for the school. The report is prepared for the family and it is their decision with whom the report is shared (e.g., if it is shared with the school)
– a feedback session where the test results, applicable diagnoses, and recommendations are shared with the parents and child (depending on the age of the child)
– the clinicians at Dr. Spere and Associates also conduct detailed assessments to query Autism Spectrum Disorders. The assessments are similar to a psychoeducational assessment, but require additional testing, observations, and interviewing
In addition to psychoeducational assessments, sometimes individuals require an assessment and diagnostic clarification of a mental health concern such as anxiety or depression. Assessments of this nature typically do not include the formal standardized testing, but will still involve clinical interviews with relevant individuals, standardized questionnaires, and a review of developmental history.
In addition to working individually with children and adolescents, clinicians consult with parents on issues relating to their children. The clinicians at Dr. Spere and Associates will work with parents to achieve a comprehensive understanding of their concerns and goals and will help them develop a better understanding of the issues their child is encountering. They will provide recommendations and strategies and will work with families to help implement the strategies. The clinicians also consult with teachers to collaboratively develop plans that will help the child succeed at school.
The goal of therapy is to allow each individual to increase awareness of the thoughts and feelings that are driving behaviour and to work on strategies for replacing maladaptive patterns with adaptive ones. Clinicians at Dr. Spere and Associates employ empirically supportive interventions to achieve this goal (e.g., Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and together with the individual will choose the intervention that is best suited. Clinicians work collaboratively with each child/teen to set goals and to develop a treatment plan. Therapy sessions are typically one-on-one, but parents will sometimes join the session at the beginning to provide an update and at the end to learn about what they can do at home to support the goals of that session. Therapy sessions will differ for each person depending on the current concerns of the individual, their goals, and their progress on working on those goals. Some individuals see progress quickly in therapy, while for others progress is slower. This can depend on what the presenting problems are, the frequency of sessions, the goals, and the amount of work done in between sessions.