A comprehensive assessment can provide more specific information about a student's learning strengths and needs, and how s/he learns best. It will also provide answers regarding whether a student has a Learning Disability, Intellectual Disability, or a slower rate of learning. Sometimes other factors impact a student's availability for learning (e.g., low self-esteem, low motivation, behavioural challenges, attention/concentration problems or mental health issues).
A comprehensive psychoeducational assessment involves measuring a student's underlying ability to process and understand different kinds of information. It often includes cognitive and academic testing, as well as measures that assess a student's self-esteem, behaviour, and social-emotional well-being. It is also important to gain an understanding of the student's developmental and medical history, academic history, learning style, social-emotional well-being, and daily performance in the classroom. This information is achieved through interviews with those people who know the student best (i.e., classroom teacher, resource teacher, educational assistants, parents). In some situations, classroom observations are also helpful.
A variety of individually administered tests are used to assess verbal comprehension and reasoning, visual problem-solving, verbal and visual memory, motor speed, visual-motor integration skills, and phonological processing. Academic skills including reading fluency and comprehension, spelling, writing fluency and expression, math computations and problem-solving skills are also assessed. A myriad of other factors including behavioural challenges, mental health issues, and skills in executive functioning will be considered if they are relevant to a student's learning profile.
Recommendations are a critical part of every assessment. They often highlight the school-based accommodations and/or modifications that are necessary to compensate for potential 'roadblocks' to learning in order for the student to demonstrate their true potential. Information about assistive computer technology, extra time for tests/exams, referrals for additional services, and remedial intervention ideas may be suggested.
Students with specific social-emotional and mental health issues often benefit from counselling support to clarify goals, build self-esteem and self-advocacy skills, and develop important coping strategies. Those challenges that specifically interfere with their school performance can be addressed.
Consultation with parents is offered to support you when your child requires an Individual Education Plan (I.E.P) and the Identification, Placement and Review Committee (I.P.R.C) process has been recommended by your child's school team. Liaison with the school team, consultation with the classroom/resource teachers, and parent advocacy support are available.