Who may request a cognitive and or learning assessment and why?
Parents, school counselors or guidance officers, general practitioners (GPs), paediatricians and child psychiatrists commonly refer young clients to child psychologists for a cognitive or learning assessment if the child is experiencing learning problems at school, to ascertain whether they have any learning problems that may be causative or contributing to a clinical presentation and to aid in accurate clinical formulation and treatment planning.
What does the assessment involve?
- A standard cognitive and learning assessment usually involves two to three hours of testing on standardized cognitive and learning assessment tools such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scales and the Wechsler Individual Achievement tests. Sometimes it may be necessary to complete other specific tests like behavioural questionnaires or specific memory testing which may require more assessment time.
- If you haven’t already attended an initial interview at which you provided a background history an initial interview of one hour may be needed for the psychologist to collect this information. It is helpful if you can bring along copies of your child’s school reports and any other reports you may have pertaining to your child’s difficulties from other professionals. This interview can be held at the school or at our rooms at Robina, whichever is more suitable.
- All assessment results are compiled in a detailed psychological report with a summary of relevant background information and history, clinical observations, standardized test results prepared and analysed by the psychologist. The substantial report also includes recommendations for parents, GPs, teachers in relation to academic, social, behavioural and emotional functioning. This analyses and report usually takes two to three hours of the psychologist’s time.
- A one hour feedback session is then arranged for you and sometimes your child to discuss the results, clinical implications and recommendations.
- Attendance at a meeting of your child’s school may be arranged to discuss the results with educational personnel if this is something you require. This may take one hour of the psychologist’s time.
What are the costs?
The costs of the assessment depend on the time taken to complete the full assessment, report and feedback session and the hourly rate of the psychologist you are consulting. The standard number of hours without the initial interview and school visit is approximately 6 hours, however in complex cases when more assessments are needed and the initial interview and a school visit are necessary then it may take up to 10 hours of the psychologists time that you will be charged for.
Are there any Rebates available?
Cognitive and leaning assessments are not able to be claimed on Medicare or Private Health funds.
Specifics of Assessment Types
- Identify the child’s potential for learning (intelligence) and whether the child is in fact meeting their potential academically (reading skills, writing, spelling and mathematics);
- Provides information as to how the child is performing compared with peers and grade expectations;
- Identifies how the child learns best;
- Helps provide teachers with valuable information about how children differ in order to match the classroom teaching to the specific needs of the children;
Clinical /Diagnostic Assessment
A thorough investigation using psychological tests, parent and child interviews and parent questionnaires to identify if a child has a childhood disorder (eg depression, AD/HD, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, behaviour disorders, etc.
Identifies developmental delays in language, motor skills, social and emotional skills, cognitive (thinking) and self help skills.