HOW IT WORKS
What parents need to know going in to a psychoeducational assessment
Consider a consultation
Though not all practitioners require a consulting visit, Dr. Ford and Dr. Kenny Bridgman both ask that parents meet with them before assessment. At Kenny Bridgman’s clinic, parents participate in an intake session, where the psychologist will obtain information on the developmental history of the child, explain the assessment process in full and answer any questions parents may have. Ford adds that a consultation allows him to get to know the parents and can also determine if a child requires testing at all (as opposed to other options such as counselling or tutoring). At this time, psychologists also go over the informed consent process: reviewing confidentiality, recordkeeping procedure and fees.
Always be prepared
At Kenny Bridgman’s clinic, parents are asked to complete intake forms in advance as well as other questionnaires about their child relating to attention, executive functioning and socialemotional development. These will be passed on to the testing psychologist at the assessment. Parents may also be asked to bring in other relevant documentation such as reports from other practitioners and recent report cards.
Review and reform
Once the assessment is complete, parents meet with the psychologist — usually without the child — to review the findings. They will also receive a report that explains these findings and outlines the psychologist’s recommendations. Kenny Bridgman and Ford agree that children may benefit from sitting down with the psychologist themselves to review the assessment findings, and that this may help them better understand their needs and self-advocate (this will depend on the age and maturity of the child).
“I might say, ‘ You need a pair of glasses for your hand,’ ” Ford says, to explain a child’s weaker motor skills, which might require a keyboard, laptop or special pen, and distinguish this need from an inability to learn. “The goal is to empower the child and show them that we all have different strengths and needs.”
“Parents may decide to share the psychologist’s report with the child’s school,” says Kenny Bridgman. “At this time, the school will review the report and put supports in place as required and as available at the school.
Ford says that the child’s report will often contain a release for schools if findings reveal a diagnosable learning issue, but he reiterates that it remains up to parents to involve educators.