What is a Psychoeducational Assessment
AKA: Psych-ed assessment, educational assessment, PEA
Parents often become aware of PEA's when their child's school has observed that the student may have cognitive issues, learning disabilities and/or other social behavioral issues and recommends or requests an official assessment. People have different strengths and weaknesses; a psychoeducational assessment identifies those strengths and weaknesses, and the results of an assessment will create a learning plan to best support an individuals goals in school and life. A psych-ed assessment is administered by a Registered Psychologist, and they use standardized tests, observations, interviews, and school records to develop a complete perspective of an individuals academic and cognitive abilities. The process and timeline is illustrated in What You Can Expect.
Early Intervention with a Psychoeducational Assessment
Psychoeducational assessments are valuable for people at any age because the learnings can be applied throughout life. However, we would like to emphasize the importance of early intervention. Psychoeducational assessments can start as early as 3.5 years of age. There are other assessment tools available for younger children, and they can test social skills, behaviors skills, and fine/gross motor capabilities. For example, autism assessments can start as early as 13 months. For more information regarding the assessments available to your child, contact Kerri.
Having a very young child who is experiencing difficulty at school is distressing for parents as well as for the child. It can affect the whole family, including siblings. When a teacher calls a parent to discuss concern about their child’s slower than anticipated academic skill development, feelings of anxiety and stress quickly follow.
Early Signs of a learning problem
Children who have a history of delays with early development are more likely to struggle with learning when they are school aged. Did your child exhibited early language delays, such as developing speech after the age of 3 years; or had fine motor delays, such as reluctant to colour, difficulty with using scissors, tying shoe laces or doing up buttons; or was always on the go or seemed to have difficulty paying attention even for short periods of time.
When might you consider having a psychoeducational assessment completed?
Your child could benefit from a psychoeducational assessment if they struggled to learn letter names or letter sounds, if they had speech difficulties, if they struggled to learn numbers, if printing numbers and letters was difficult, if there were difficulties in learning the names of shapes or colours. Teachers may also note that your child needs more time to meet curriculum expectations, your child needed one to one assistance to complete work, your child was not paying attention when the lesson was taught, or they needed more space around them so not to disturb their neighbours.
Helping Good Students Continue Excelling
Individuals often wait until behavioral problems arise or when grades are affected. A Psychoeducational report can support students who are already excelling. By setting achievable goals, and by identifying effective learning strategies, good students can get even better!
People Can be Gifted in Diverse Ways
The traditional education system rewards a specific set of skills, and it does a great job of measuring those skills. However, some skills aren't encompassed by our K-12 curriculum. Emotional skills, behavior and creativity can be measured in a psych-ed assessment, but they are not always measured in our K-12 curriculum.
Understand How To Support Problem Areas
A psychoeducational assessment will identify problem areas, and these problem areas might've been unknown prior to the report. When you identify a problem, you can begin addressing it, so students, teachers, and parents will be better equipped to support psychoeducational deficiencies after a report has been prepared.
What You can Expect From a Psychoeducational Assessment
In total, a psychoeducational takes ~16 hours to complete each. The timeline consists of an information gathering session with parents or guardians, observations conducted by school personnel, testing by a qualified psychologist, behavior and personality assessments. Personality assessments are only completed for Adult assessments. This graphic displays the timeline for a psych-ed assessment.
What is Included in a Psychoeducational Report?
an IQ &/or cognitive function,
grade level performance vs achievement,
behavior &/or social skills,
variety of recommendations based on your child's strengths and weaknesses
You'll receive a 15-20 page hard copy comprehensive report about the Psychoeducational Assessment. When appropriate a diagnosis may be provided that aligns with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- 5th Edition (DSM-V) and Special Educational Coding Criteria. These reports provide a better understanding of your child's learning style, so they can be better supported by teachers and parents.
**Please note, there may be times when additional testing may be recommended that may not be covered in a psychoeducational assessment. Further testing may be recommended by your psychologist.
The Disabilities that a Psychoeducational Assessment can Diagnose
Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are examples of some of the learning disabilities that psychoeducational assessment can diagnose. When appropriate a diagnosis may be provided that aligns with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders- 5th Edition (DSM-V) and Special Educational Coding Criteria. For a more comprehensive list, see this help guide. People can also struggle with language, social, and communication skills, and the extent to which someone struggles with those skills can be identified in a psych-ed assessment.