Headstart for Life

Benefits of a Psycho-educational Assessment

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2018 by 2 minutes

We are so glad to have you back again in HeadStart for Life’s blog, Beyond Therapy!

This post shares with you all the benefits of a psycho-educational assessment shared during the Dyslexia Awareness Week from the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS). We have parents and/or teachers who may think that their child or student might have some learning difficulties but are not sure on what to do or how to go about helping them. A very good starting point is to consider a psycho-educational assessment wherein based on the results can decide what should be the next step.

Why have a psycho-educational assessment?

Through the systematic process of assessment, we will be able to find out (1) a diagnosis or a child’s learning or developmental concerns; (2) profiling of  the child’s learning ability or the extent or nature of his/her learning difficulties, strengths and weaknesses that impact his/her learning; and (3) assist in educational planning that the child can benefit from, may it be in a mainstream or special education school.

Key Differences of Screening and Assessment

DAS (2018) pointed out that screening should not be a substitute for a more comprehensive assessment

In contrast with the screening process, a psycho-educational assessment is more comprehensive. It sees the motivation and memory retention of the student, as well as examines the number of tools used and it requires professional interpretation  to reach to a specific diagnosis. On the other hand, results in the screening process is relatively easy to interpret. However, it does not mean that high risk results from screening equates to having a diagnosis. Always remember that diagnoses can only be obtained through a psycho-educational assessment.

What happens during  assessment?

The three components of the assessment process includes (1) information gathering, (2) actual testing, and (3) integration of information and feedback session.

1. Information Gathering Phase

Psychologists need to gather information from various sources or parties who are working with the child. These pieces of information affect how they interpret the results as well as the overall functioning of the child.

  • Referral forms  can be used to ask parents regarding their main concerns on the child and why does he need the assessment
  • Feedback from teachers are also obtained in order to know how the is child performing in school
  • School results or professional reports to see what has been done with the child so far
  • Interview with parents allows clarification and additional information that are not shared from other sources. Some questions asked are medical/developmental history, home management, school support, or current concerns in terms of academics, socio-emotional and/or behavior.
Photo credits: https://www.unbpwc.ca/services.html

Photo credits: https://www.unbpwc.ca/services.html

2. Actual Testing Phase

It is important to prepare the child by reducing their anxiety or helping them stay alert and calm during their assessment. Avoid the term “going for a test” but rather reassure them that they will be playing or working with teachers in order to find out how to help them learn best.

During the actual assessment phase, psychologists administer standardized assessment tools. Also, if the child is older, he/she will be interviewed in order to find out his/her learning difficulties from their point of view. A psychologist also sees how the child present himself in terms of behavior (e.g. Is he easily distracted?), motivation (e.g. Does he give up easily?) or language (e.g. How is his understanding of instruction? Speech quality? Articulation difficulties?).

Photo credits: http://sydneychildpsychologist.com.au/school-readiness-developmental-assessments/

Photo credits: http://sydneychildpsychologist.com.au/school-readiness-developmental-assessments/

3. Integration of Information and Feedback Session

The assessment ends with the psychologist getting straight onto the information gathered from various sources. Based on the results, recommendations will be made and will be shared to the parents during the feedback session.

What is assessed for School Readiness?

According to thwe workshop, school readiness assessment looks into the ability to access mainstream schooling and the readiness of a child to formal schooling (e.g. attending Primary 1 level).

Dyslexia Association of Singapore School Readiness Assessment

Dyslexia Association of Singapore School Readiness Assessment (2018)

Assessment of cognitive ability examines different areas of intelligence in:

  • Verbal ability: general language development, verbal reasoning skills
  • Fluid reasoning ability: detect underlying conceptual relationships
  • Visual-spatial ability: visualise, analyse and remember spatial relationships
  • Working memory: register and manipulate visual and auditory information
  • Processing speed: speed and accuracy in identifying, processing and responding to visually
    presented information

 

Remember that psycho-educational assessment is not just interested in the IQ score but the overall functioning of the child. That is, what the child can do best and what help is needed.

Thank you and looking forward to your next visit to our Beyond Therapy blog here in HeadStart for Life!

 

 

References:

Teo, A. (2018, October). Assessment of Dyslexia and other SPLDs.  Seminar presented at the meeting of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore, Toa Payoh Lorong 1, Singapore.

"All the information on this site is for educational purposes only and does not replace the assessment and intervention of a registered speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist or any other medical or education professional."

About Dianne

Dianne has 4 years of teaching experience in both special education and early childhood settings. She has always maintained with her the three P’s as an education practitioner – perseverance, patience, and passion. In her teaching practice, she likes to explore on literacy-related play, social thinking and music and movement activities.

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