Learning Challenges

When children and adolescents struggle with academics in school, it is sometimes hard for parents to know why or what to do about it. When not identified or addressed properly, learning challenges can lead to increased frustration, anxiety, low mood, and self-esteem issues.

Many parents are told by schools that their child may need a “psycho-educational assessment”, but the waitlists for such assessments within the school district are often long (taking up to 3 years), sometimes preventing timely supports to be put in place for your child. However, psycho-educational assessments (or “psych-eds” or “psychoeds”) are also available in private practice.

If you believe your child may be struggling at school and you would like to pursue a private psycho-educational assessment, the team at ChildForward Inc. will be able to clarify your concerns, conduct the assessment to understand your child’s specific learning strengths and challenges, and provide recommendations on how best to support your child at home and at school.

What is a Psycho-educational Assessment?

A Psycho-educational Assessment is a comprehensive evaluation typically performed by a psychologist to provide detailed information on how a child learns, their strengths and learning challenges, why they are having difficulty at school, and how their specific learning profile can be best supported at home and at school. Assessments typically include a combination of direct standardized tests (e.g., tests of cognitive/intellectual functioning, academic achievement), observations of the child, questionnaires, a review of background information (including a review of report cards), interview with parents, as well as obtaining collateral information from parents, teachers, and/or other educational/health professionals. The purpose of the assessment is to acquire a full picture of your child’s functioning relating to their school performance, which includes their cognitive / intellectual functioning, academic skills, attention/concentration, executive functioning (e.g., planning, organization), fine motor abilities, social, emotional, and behavioural functioning, and adaptive functioning (daily life skills). The assessment may identify or diagnose learning difficulties/disabilities, intellectual delays, ADHD, or giftedness and will provide recommendations on how to best support your child’s unique learning profile.

What Can I Expect From a Psycho-Educational Assessment?

At ChildForward Inc, Psycho-educational Assessments typically occur in four stages, taking 6-8 weeks on average from start to finish.

Stage 1: Initial Interview/Overview of Background Information (1-2 hours)

In the first stage, parents will be invited for an initial interview to discuss their main concerns about their child’s learning and the questions they would like the assessment to address. The psychologist will gather relevant background information about your child, such as their developmental, health, academic, and social history. At this time, you will likely be provided with questionnaires to fill out.

Stage 2: The Assessment (5-7 hours)

This stage will involve the actual assessment. The psychologist will meet and get to know your child and will conduct direct testing with your child one-on-one. Your child will complete activities that involve answering questions, working with blocks, solving puzzles, as well as various academic tasks (e.g., reading, writing, and math). Children typically find the assessment interesting, but it can also be hard work. In order to receive your child’s best effort and prevent fatigue, we usually limit each testing session to last about 2-3 hours at time with a small break in between. If it is needed, and with your consent, this stage of the assessment may also involve a phone call with school personnel and other professionals your child may be working with to gather further information.

Stage 3: Scoring, Interpreting, and Report Writing (2-4 weeks)

You and your child have completed your portion, and now the psychologist gets to work scoring, interpreting, and writing up your report!

Stage 4: Feedback and Follow-Up (1+ hour)

In the final stage of the assessment, you will meet with the psychologist for a feedback meeting to discuss the results of the assessment and recommendations to best support your child. You will also receive an assessment report detailing all this information, which you are able to provide to your child’s school. If applicable, the psychologist may also follow-up with your child’s school to provide consultation.