Have you ever asked yourself the following questions. If so, a psychological assessment could help your child.
Psychologists are specialists in human behaviour. They help people understand themselves. They provide insights into people’s own abilities, behaviour, achievements, interests and personal qualities. One method they use when people are having difficulties at home, school or in the community is a psychological assessment. A psychologist is trained to deal with complex situations and interpret test results. Based on the assessment, they are able to make practical recommendations.
The assessment helps a psychologist learn what might be affecting school success. It helps show a person’s relationships with family and friends and monitors how a child’s behaviour is changing.
Young people have many concerns about friendships, about independence and about self-worth. They wonder about body image and have fears about health and loss. Sometimes families are in turmoil and young people worry about this. Often they are anxious about school achievement.
Testing can help both the children and their parents identify strengths and interests. Together they can plan realistic short and long term goals. They can discuss the child’s need for increased independence and responsibility. Together they can explore wise educational and vocational choices.
Psychological services are confidential. As a first step, the psychologist makes sure the child and parents all understand the purpose and procedure. Next, the decision is made on how to proceed based on the referral questions and presenting problems. The psychologist may need to confirm the reason for the assessment to ensure that the most helpful recommendations will be made. If so, a parent may be asked for permission to get information from the school and other agencies involved with the child.
Once the reason for the assessment is understood, the psychologist will select an approach. The first step will be an interview with the child. This provides background for the next phases of the assessment and a chance to learn about the child’s thoughts.
Direct observation of the child’s behaviour with the family, school or institution might be part of the assessment. Physical changes in the child will be noted. Questionnaires completed by parents, teachers, the child and others who have frequent contact with the child may be examined.
Psychological tests are also tools for assessment. The tests are designed to measure thinking or intellectual ability, level of academic achievement, and vocational and other interests. They also provide insights into the effect the child’s emotions, behaviour and personality have on the presenting problem.
Lastly the psychologist prepares a report based on all the information gathered during testing. This will provide information and recommendations to help improve the situation for the child and parents.