When your child is having difficulty in school, you may not know where to turn. If you’re exploring options, you might benefit from seeking a psychoeducational assessment for your child. This tool allows you to identify your child’s areas of strengths and weaknesses, so you and the staff at your child’s school can develop a plan to ensure that your child’s learning needs are met.
What is a Psychoeducational Assessment?
Psychoeducational assessments evaluate your child’s abilities and level of functioning in domains related to school performance. This includes cognitive functioning, overall intelligence, emotional and behavioral functioning, academic abilities, and level of attention.
This type of assessment will reveal if your child has a deficit in one or more academic areas. It will also reveal problems like ADHD, cognitive delays, or mood disorders that can negatively affect learning. A psychoeducational assessment aims to identify whether a child needs special education services, such as an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), to address impairments that interfere with learning.
What is Included in a Psychoeducational Assessment?
Psychoeducational assessments evaluate your child’s functioning in a variety of areas. A clinician, often a clinical or school psychologist, will conduct such an assessment. The clinician will usually begin by gathering background information from you and your child. They may ask about your child’s history, including any medical history or difficulties at school. They may also request a copy of medical records, including any diagnoses your child has, and any medications they are taking.
After gathering background information, the clinician will complete a variety of standardized assessments, which will compare your child’s level of functioning to the typical child their age. These assessments include:
- General intelligence testing
- Academic skills tests
- Evaluations of emotional and behavioral functioning
- Tests of speech and language abilities
- Tests of fine and gross motor skills
- Evaluations of social skills
- Assessments of adaptive behavior skills, which include daily living skills like following routines, communicating with others, and completing self-care tasks like bathing and washing hands
Some of these assessments may not be applicable to every child, but the typical psychoeducational assessment includes at least some of the above tests.
When it’s Time for a Psychoeducational Assessment
So, when is it time for a psychoeducational assessment for your child? Such an assessment is warranted when your child continues to have difficulty in one or more areas at school, despite efforts to address the problem through other methods. Maybe they continue to earn failing grades, or they have a hard time with school, despite putting forth an effort to do well.
Some signs it may be time for a psychoeducational assessment are as follows:
- Your child is struggling with school, despite services like tutoring.
- You notice that your child is falling further and further behind in their skills in one or more academic areas, including reading, writing, or math.
- Your child has behavioral problems in the classroom, making it difficult for them to learn.
- Your child has a medical condition that interferes with their learning.
- Your child has a mental health disorder like ADHD or anxiety, and it’s getting in the way of their learning.
- Your child’s teacher has contacted you about concerns with their progress at school, and none of the solutions you’re implementing seem to be working.
If one or more of the signs above apply to your child, they may have a learning disability, cognitive delay, or other condition that is interfering with their education. A psychoeducational assessment can help you to get to the bottom of the problem. Ultimately, the assessment may reveal that your child has a disability that qualifies them for special education services.
Obtaining an Assessment for Your Child
When you notice signs that your child is struggling at school and the situation isn’t improving, it may be time for a psychoeducational assessment. One option is to request, in writing, that your child’s school district conduct an assessment. A school psychologist will work alongside teachers and administrators to fully assess your child’s abilities. If the assessment identifies a disability in your child, he or she will be eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These services could include one-on-one instruction from an intervention specialist, accommodations like extended time for assignments, and the provision of related services like speech therapy.
If you believe your child has a disability and might qualify for special education services, contacting their school to request an evaluation from the school psychologist is a good starting point. It’s also worth considering an independent assessment from a clinical psychologist to provide the school district with a second opinion, or additional evidence that your child has a disability. You might also consider a professional psychoeducational evaluation to assess your child’s intellectual functioning for the purpose of qualifying for gifted education programs.
Bridge to Balance is happy to offer psychoeducational assessments to New Jersey families and students. We have offices in Hamilton, Voorhees, and Piscataway, and our service offerings include ADHD testing, intelligence testing, and comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.