Why Should You Assess?

It is common for kids, youth, and adults to demonstrate differences across their ability levels, achievement, and overall performance levels across academic domains. Some individuals may demonstrate advanced, or gifted skills in one area, including displaying very fluid verbal expression or higher level conceptual thinking, while at the same time struggling with everyday skills at spelling, math calculations, written expression, or their rate of processing speed.

With a cognitive and academic profile that varies, it can be difficult for teachers to know how best to teach the student. They may do well in one subject but struggle with another, so figuring out their learning needs is key!

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What Is a PsychoEducational Assessment?

A PsychoEducational Assessment is designed to help determine if a significant learning challenge might be impeding a child’s or youth’s ability to perform or achieve to their full potential.

While School Boards offer limited PsychoEducational Assessments to students identified as having significant difficulty learning, the current wait lists can be over two years with 35,000 students in the cue for Special Education Assessments.  While the student waits, teachers struggle with providing the support students need as they require more information to put in place the most beneficial programs.  To avoid having to wait, risk your their child falling behind or becoming frustrated for not achieving at the level of their potential, parents often choose to have their children assessed at a Private Clinic, such as the Toronto Neurodevelopmental Centre.  Colleges, Universities and post secondary training institutions also offer learning accomodations and supports if the individual's needs are documented in a formal PsychoEducational assessment report.

Toronto Neurodevelopmental Centre, PsychoEducational Assessments uniquely include a Neuropsychological Consultation to ensure there are no areas of additional concern resulting from a Neurodevelopmental Disorder, which if present would be identified and recommendations for the appropriate treatment, therapy and academic accomodations would be included.

Areas of intellectual giftedness combined with delays in specific learning skills, all within the same cognitive profile are also possible to discover through assessment and require specialists such as those at Toronto Neurodevelopmental Centre, to interpret and analyze the unique profile to answer many of the "but why?" questions that Neuropsychological interpretation offers.

Even when formal diagnostic criteria is not met, the assessment serves to provide valuable information about the individuals learning profile, their unique strengths and relative weaknesses, and we will develop a list of carefully constructed recommendations and strategies for learning, school accommodations, post secondary supports, mental health supports, and behaviour supports for home, and school.

At the Toronto Neurodevelopmental Centre we do not just administer tests and questionniares and report scores, we analyze, interpret, explain and provide education about the meaning of the results, and most importantly,

Focussing on "what's right" about each individual, their personal strengths, and not just "what's wrong".

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What a PsychoEducational Assessment Includes
  • In-depth interviews with student and parents.
  • Semi-structured interview form completion by classroom teachers.
  • Review of background academic records (e.g. report cards and IEPs) and any previous assessment reports (e.g. Speech-Language Assessments)
  • Direct assessment of the student’s current cognitive abilities to identify natural strengths and relative weaknesses in thinking and problem solving skills (also known as Intelligence Testing).
  • Assessment of other potential contributors to the student’s learning challenges, such as learning and memory skills, organizational skills, attention and mental processing speed, as well as measuring the student’s current academic skills (including core reading, writing and math skills).
  • Screening (and possibly more in-depth) assessment of any social, emotional or behavioural difficulties that could be contributing to learning challenges are also carefully reviewed.

 

How We Approach our Assessments?

For both our PsychoEducational and School Neuropsychological Assessments, we will provide a written report that includes our clinical findings and whether results support formal diagnostic criteria for a specific LEARNING DISABILITY, such as a Reading, Writing, or Mathematics Disorder.

Results may also indicate more unique learning challenges, such as a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD) profile. We routinely perform assessments to evaluate whether an individual might have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD) and how these challenges are affecting their academic performances.

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We Also Do School Neuropsychological Assessments

A School Neuropsychological Assessment is an enhanced assessment including all of the components in a Psychoeducational Assessment, plus an additional 2-3 hours of Neuropsychological testing designed specifically selected for your childs needs by our Clinical Neuropsychologist, Dr. Robyn Stephens.

A School Neuropsychological Assessment provides a more in-depth, detailed evaluation of your child’s thinking, problem solving, and cognitive processing skills, which may be impacting their learning.

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Additional Areas of Assessment

Additional areas that may be assessed include:

  • language processing
  • visual-perceptual skills
  • fine motor skills and motor production speed
  • visual and verbal organizational abilities
  • planning and task initiation
  • problem-solving
  • reasoning
  • judgment
  • and more.

The results of the assessment are carefully reviewed and analyzed from a Neuropsychological perspective, to provide you with in-depth interpretations and recommendations specific to your child/youth’s cognitive profile.

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