About ten years ago, I was entering the education field as a newly graduated special education teacher, with a basic understanding of the concept “psychological assessment.” Before then, I worked with children, adolescents and families as a swim instructor, pool director and babysitter.
These experiences exposed me to the many joys and frustrations children and parents faced in leisure and academic settings. In and out of the classroom, I gained experiencing providing support, guidance and care, but often did not have complete answers to provide parents the clarity they needed when seeking answers to their child’s social, emotional and educational problems.
One motive for completing my doctoral degree was to find a way to provide these answers, promote understanding and identify ways to help each unique little human I encountered. I quickly found out that comprehensive psychological assessments can provide answers to the questions parents, children, and adolescents were looking for! Although this was enlightening for me, many people do not know why their child or adolescent might benefit from a psychological assessment.
4 Reasons Why Your Child Needs a Psychological Assessment
#1 “The Call”
Parents often begin seeking out a psychological assessment following the dreaded call (or calls) from their child’s school. Although these phone calls are frequently expected, sometimes parents feel blindsided and confused. This can trigger a cycle of self-blame, fear, and panic. Take a deep breath-this may end up being the best call you have received. School’s typically need a thorough psychological assessment to provide the extra support and accommodations a child needs to experience success in the educational setting.
#2 Individualized Education Plan
Another common reason parents need a psychological assessment completed is to help develop, or update, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Although school’s can provide psycho-educational assessments, they may not be equipped to provide a comprehensive battery that goes beyond cognitive and academic functioning. A comprehensive psychological assessment provides information about a wider range of abilities, including: cognitive, academic, attention, memory, language/communication, visuospatial, executive, motor/sensory, adaptive, health, social, emotional, and psychological functioning.
#3 Parent’s Intuition
Parent’s often report that they feel their child is struggling with something, but are not sure why, with what or how to help. I frequently hear that a child or adolescent is struggling to meet expectations, but does not display the obvious behavioral problems that cause classroom disruption and trigger increased home-school contact. These student’s can “fly under the radar” until they enter higher grades where they need to balance a heavier workload and increasing extracurricular activities. When a parent or child experiences this feeling, even if other professionals predict things will work out or they will catch up, a psychological assessment can help you proceed with knowledge and confidence.
#4 Treatment Planning
When I talk to other therapists, they often ask, “when is the best time to complete an assessment?” Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to this! Each case is different, and the timing of assessment can vary. When a child or adolescent plans to see me for therapy but also wants an assessment, I always recommend completing the assessment first. This lets me provide some answers right away, while giving us a chance to really get to know one another. As a therapist, I take all of the assessment information and figure out the best plan for success, both in an outside of the therapy space. If your child is already working with a therapist, it can be helpful to have someone else complete an assessment. This set of “fresh eyes” can highlight new or different problem areas that are challenging to identify in a preexisting relationship. It might be overwhelming or confusing when a therapist refers you to someone else for an assessment-why can’t they just complete it? Think of it this way-now you have two professionals working together, identifying concerns, highlighting strengths, refining goals, and determining the best approach to meet your child’s needs!
Even though it may seem scary, assessment is not a bad thing! Psychological assessments give you and your child answers and recommendations that encourage positive growth and success! If you are interested in learning more about assessment, or are considering scheduling one, please reach out to set up a free initial consultation!
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Children, Adolescents, Young Adults, Assessment, Personal and Life Coaching
Colleen specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children as young as five years old, adolescents and families. She works with various conditions and life circumstances, including learning disabilities, executive functioning deficits, anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, adjustment issues and loss Colleen also provides personal and life coaching services for adults questioning career decisions, education goals, finances, and relationships. She will guide you through honest and empowering conversations, as you develop goals and carry out plans for achieving your aspirations.
Warm and emphatic, Colleen uses a flexible, creative and collaborative approach to empower and inspire clients to maximize potential and improve their lives. Contact Colleen for more information about how she can help you experience success!
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