Your child’s teacher may have recommended an assessment because they have concerns about his or her performance or behaviour in the classroom. It can be very stressful for a parent to hear that there are scholastic concerns but it is important that any difficulties are identified as soon as possible so that steps can be taken to try and support the child. The psychologist will make an appointment to meet with the parents or caregivers first, without the child. This interview is important and is used to obtain background information about the presenting difficulties and the development and experiences of the child from their birth to now. An appointment will then be made for your child to be assessed. The assessment may take place over one session of 120 minutes, or it may be scheduled over a number of shorter sessions.
How to prepare for the assessment
You can tell your child that they will be visiting someone to find out what they need help with. Lots of kids go to see the psychologist, some kids need help with spelling, some with reading or maths, and some may need help with mixed up feelings. Your child may attend the assessment in their school uniform or comfortable clothes. They are not required to bring any stationery, but they will require a snack and juice for a two-hour assessment.
What will happen during the assessment?
The psychologist will spend some time making your child feel comfortable and building an adequate relationship for valid testing to take place. She will then administer a variety of tests depending on the issue being investigated. Some tests will take the form of puzzles, others will require reading or writing. In some cases the child will be asked to perform manual tasks. For emotional issues the child may be asked to draw, play games or make use of puppets or sandtray. Testing will usually take place in English. In special circumstances a parent may be asked to assist with the assessment.
What can you expect from the assessment?
The psychologist will try and identify the factors that may be underlying your child’s emotional or scholastic difficulties. Some tests will compare the child with others their own age, thereby telling if they are performing above/at/or below the expected level. Other tests will try and tap into the child’s emotional world so that their feelings can be understood. As there is limited time for the assessment it is not possible to analyse your child conclusively. The child’s willingness to interact with the psychologist will also play a factor. The psychologist will use the information obtained to draw tentative conclusions about your child’s cognitive or emotional functioning. She will then make recommendations of further action that needs to be taken to address the problems identified. In many cases she will refer you to another specialist for further investigation and assessment (e.g. doctor, speech therapist or occupational therapist).
How will I be told about the results?
An appointment will be made for you to receive verbal feedback from the psychologist. Please feel free to ask questions during this feedback if you do not understand something. In most cases you will also receive a printed report that summarises the main points of the assessment. If after reading the report, you have further questions please contact the psychologist telephonically. Divorced parents have a right to their own copy of the report. Please pass a copy of an educational assessment report on to your child’s school as the information will assist the teacher to better understand your child and to meet their needs.
- Please arrive promptly for the assessment and collect your child on time
- Please cancel your child’s appointment at least one day before if you will not be able to attend
- Please remember that your child will need any prescribed medicine or spectacles for the assessment
- Please supply a snack and juice if your child is booked for an assessment of 120 minutes
- Please keep your copy of the assessment report in a safe place. There will be a charge for additional copies
- Please comply with recommendations to the best of your ability. They are made in the best interest of your child and family