Psycho Educational Assessment

Psycho-Educational Assessment

What Is A Psycho-Educational Assessment? How Will It Help?

A psycho-educational assessment usually involves a person completing a cognitive assessment and an academic assessment. Sometimes it also includes measuring other aspects like how a person is doing socially, emotionally, or behaviourally. A psycho-educational assessment usually involves a series of appointments and includes gathering background information, one-on-one testing with the client, the psychologist writing a report, and sharing information with clients.

Parents, teachers, and even adult learners sometimes seek a psycho-educational assessment in order to better understand factors that can affect how a person learns. People might get a psycho-educational assessment done to answer the following kinds of questions:

  • Is there a learning disability?
  • Is my child gifted?
  • Do I/does my child have ADHD?
  • Why is my child struggling in school?
  • Why can’t I/my child remember things?
  • What will help my child do better in school?
  • What supports or accommodations do I need in college or university?

With a psycho-educational assessment, a person’s current learning profile is identified and then recommendations are made. The recommendations include things the person can do for themselves (e.g., strategies, counseling), what parents can do, and what the school or college or university can do to make life better and easier.

Would you or someone you love benefit from a psycho-educational assessment? Are you wondering if a psycho-educational assessment might be a good choice? Contact us at intake@rmpsychservices or 403-245-5981 to book an appointment with one of our assessment psychologists who can help to answer your questions and make a plan to meet your needs.


Is Your Child Struggling In School? Have You Tried To Help Them But Aren’t Sure How To Proceed Or What Might Help?

A psychoeducational assessment is a formal assessment process that can help to identify why your child is struggling and from there, make targeted suggestions about strategies, what kind of school or educational approach might be a fit, or next steps that might help. A psychoeducational assessment can also help teachers to understand your child better, give teachers suggestions for strategies, or even access different supports for your child.

What does a psychoeducational assessment process look like?

There are no specific rules about what a psychoeducational assessment includes – psychologists, agencies or schools decide what their process looks like and what it includes. This can be confusing for parents because sometimes one psychoeducational assessment isn’t the same as another. Some include more in-depth assessment measures, and some are more basic. But, in general, a psychoeducational assessment will include a cognitive assessment (i.e., understanding how your child thinks, learns, processes information and some measure of their memory), academic assessment, and it may also include social/emotional/or behavioural evaluation. These measures compare how your child is doing on the questions compared to other children their age. This is helpful because the curriculum and expectations are based on what is typically manageable for a child their age. So, if things are easier or harder for your child than other children their age, this is a clue as to why they might be struggling at school.

The process of a psychoeducational assessment typically includes an initial interview to find out about the reason for referral, gather relevant background information, and discuss the process and what to expect. There may be a series of individual testing sessions. These are conducted one-on-one with the child and usually involve a number of activities. The activities are conducted in a standardized manner, which means that the assessor has to ask the questions or present the tasks in a specific way so that one child’s assessment results on the tasks can be compared to others. The assessor will also be taking note of other aspects during the sessions such as how the child responds to the tasks, how they interact, their focus and attention, etc. Parents and teachers or others may also provide information to the assessment by way of interview or questionnaires. From there, the psychologist will review the data, write a report, and meet with you to discuss the results.

Are there any risks to doing a psychoeducational assessment?

This is a common question that parents want to know. Some parents are concerned that their child may be labeled or that teachers or others might have a negative impression of the child following an assessment. These are understandable concerns. It is true that the result of a psychoeducational assessment could be a diagnostic label such as a learning disability or ADHD. The purpose of providing a label is to help guide parents and teachers in understanding the child and also to give direction on the types of strategies or approaches that might help the child to function better or feel better. The risks and benefits of doing an assessment is something that can be discussed with the psychologist.

Do I get a report at the end?

Yes, you may get a report or a diagnostic letter at the end, depending on your needs. Both documents are written with several different audiences in mind – it is typically written for parents, teachers, medical doctors, and other professionals who may be working with the child such as tutors, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, etc.

How do I decide where to go to get my child’s assessment done?

This is another tricky question, and one that most parents seeking a psychoeducational assessment face. Some parents look only at cost, believing that all assessments are alike because the measures are standardized. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. While it is true that administration of assessment measures is standardized, there is also an “art” to this science. Some individuals have been trained to administer the measures but do not have extensive background knowledge of interpreting the scores or interpreting all of the data together to come up with a cohesive understanding of the individual. This is where experience and assessment processes that take years to develop come in. Here at RMPS, while we do some have clinicians who are early in their careers, there is input and support from seasoned psychologists with years of experience consulting on the assessments.

What is a code? Why is my child’s teacher suggesting a psychoeducational assessment and saying they could get a “code”?

Alberta Education uses a process called “coding” to help to identify students who have unique learning needs and who need supports, accommodations, or modifications that are different from what is typically provided. A child who is identified as having unique learning needs and who receives a “code” will have an individualized program plan (IPP) that is a plan created by the school and the child’s parents. The IPP is an agreement on how the child’s learning needs will be addressed as well as specific goals to help the child develop skills needed to successfully participate in school. In general, the code is based on the results of an assessment (often conducted by a psychologist) and also reflects a diagnosis indicating that the child requires additional learning supports.

What if I still need help after my child’s assessment is done?

One of the reasons RMPS is structured the way it is as a “one stop shop” is to address this question. Psychologists have different backgrounds and training – a counseling psychologist may not do assessments; an assessment psychologist may not do counseling or interventions. This can be confusing and frustrating for parents who are looking to get help for their child. And this is why all assessments at RMPS include a follow-up appointment to help parents with planning next steps after an assessment. It can be hard to know where to start or what is most important after receiving a lot of information and recommendation from the assessment. With the follow-up appointment, questions can be answered and parents can expect to leave with a plan that they can take to the school, their medical doctor, or even another psychologist, to help them on their way to implementing the next step of the change process for their child.

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