Core Psychological Services

Assessments for Children

There are many different scenarios where it becomes necessary for a full child psychological or psychoeducational assessment. Children and adolescents are often referred to me by their parents, teachers, family doctors, or pediatricians. I approach assessments from a comprehensive, strength-based perspective that results in specific, practical recommendations. My reports are written in clear plain language that is easily understood and guaranteed to be free of jargon and psychobabble. I work form a neuro-scientifically informed approach which is rooted in the knowledge that the human brain continues to develop throughout life. As such, I firmly believe that change and remediation is possible for all children and adolescents, regardless of age, background, or diagnosis. I am currently offering child psychological assessments in Edson and surrounding areas.

While each assessment may be unique, the process usually includes the following:

  • Background questionnaires are filled out by parents and/or teachers
  • A clinical interview with one or both parents to gather information about their child
  • A cognitive testing session with the child or adolescent
  • An academic achievement testing session with the child or adolescent
  • Further specialized testing is conducted, as needed. Examples might include testing of attention processes, visual-motor integration issues, social and emotional difficulties, or symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorders

After gathering all the above information, I will integrate and interpret the results and explain my findings in a comprehensive report. The report will illuminate the specific pattern of strengths and weaknesses that the child presented with, as well as a comprehensive list of remedial strategies that can be implemented at school and at home.

Some examples of child psychological assessments include:

Learning Disorders/Disabilities

Learning disability assessments are designed to identify deficits in brain processes that underlie difficulties in academic areas such as math, reading, writing, or oral language skills. An estimated 3.2% of Canadian children suffer from learning disorders, and many of them go through life without ever being diagnosed. This is unfortunate, as an accurate diagnosis may lead to targeted interventions that result in long-term academic success, confidence, and increased self-esteem.

Learning disability assessments typically require between 10 and 12 hours of clinical work (including time for data interpretation and report writing). As such, the cost is usually around $2000 to $2400 for the complete assessment.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD or ADD)

Many children who are brought in for an ADHD assessment have a history of attention difficulties at home and/or school. While some children may appear to have trouble sitting still for long periods of time, others simply seem to struggle with sustaining attention and remembering what they are supposed to do. ADHD or ADD is associated with dysregulated brain processes that lead to an increase in physical activity, a decrease in attention abilities, or both. As there are many reasons why a child might have difficulties with attention or hyperactivity, it is necessary to complete a comprehensive assessment to rule out other possible causes (such as learning disabilities or emotional concerns) and identify ADHD as the specific factor underlying the child’s behaviours.

ADHD assessments typically require between 10 and 12 hours of clinical work (including time for data interpretation and report writing). As such, the cost is usually around $2000 and $2400 for the complete assessment.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Recent research has indicated that autism spectrum disorders are much more common than we previously thought. In fact, it is estimated that about 1 in every 68 children could be on the autism spectrum. Autism results from abnormal brain development that leads to difficulties understanding interpersonal relationships, exaggerated interest in very specific topics, great difficulty dealing with change, and sensory sensitivities or preoccupations. Children with high functioning autism (previously called Asperger’s Syndrome) often go undiagnosed as people simply view them as “a little bit different”. Unfortunately, this leads to longer term problems with depression and anxiety, as these individuals have great difficulty navigating interpersonal relationships. Early intervention and treatment can reduce these difficulties to a great extent.

Autism assessments are highly complex, and requires enhanced skills and training that go beyond what most psychologists and physicians would usually complete. I was trained in the assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders by members of the North American research team behind the world’s leading autism diagnostic instruments.

When no academic concerns are noted, assessments for autism spectrum disorders typically require around 11 hours to complete (including time for data interpretation and report writing). If the child is experiencing academic difficulties as well, we would normally include academic achievement testing, in which case the assessments may require up to 14 hours (including time for data interpretation and report writing). As such, autism spectrum evaluations usually cost between $2200 and $2800.

Cognitive Functioning

Evaluations of cognitive functioning are sometimes required in order to identify specific factors such as intellectual giftedness or intellectual disabilities. Results from these types of assessments are often used to apply for specific programs or benefits such as special education programming, family supports for children with disabilities, or the disability tax credit.

If no academic testing is requested, cognitive functioning assessments typically require around 6 hours of clinical work (including time for data interpretation and report writing). As such, the cost is usually around $1200 for the complete assessment.

Behaviour or Emotional Problems

When children exhibit problematic behaviours, it is vitally important to identify the most likely source of these behaviours. For instance, it is important to evaluate whether the child may be experiencing more overt behavioural difficulties such as a tendency towards oppositionality and defiance, or if the child is simply acting out as result of academic struggles or internal emotional difficulties. It is also becoming more common for children to struggle with anxiety and depression, and accurate diagnoses can lead to better long-term outcomes resulting from early intervention.

As it is necessary to rule out a number of possible factors that could be underlying a child’s behavioural or emotional difficulties, a comprehensive evaluation typically requires around 10 to 12 hours of clinical work (including time for data interpretation and report writing). As such, the cost is usually around $2000 to $2400 for the complete assessment.