A full psycho-educational assessment is appropriate whenever there are concerns about a child’s learning ability or educational performance. Psycho-educational assessment involves the use of valid and reliable measures that evaluate a child’s cognitive ability (academic potential) and academic achievement (in areas such as reading, spelling, mathematics, written language, and oral language).
Commonly used tests of cognitive ability include:
- The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Fourth Edition, Australia and New Zealand (WPPSI-IV, A&NZ) for children 2 years 6 months to 7 years, 7 months old;
- The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition, Australia & New Zealand (WISC-V A&NZ) for children 6 years to 16 years 11 months old;
- The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) for adults 16 years to 90 years, 11 months.
The most widely used test of academic achievement is the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-Third Edition – Australian and New Zealand (WIAT-III A&NZ) administered to identify the academic strengths and weaknesses of students, to aid decision-making about educational placement, or to facilitate a diagnosis of a specific learning disability.
Joint administration of a cognitive test battery (WPPSI-IV, WISC-V or WAIS-IV) alongside the WIAT-III A&NZ can aid identification of discrepancies between a child’s intellectual ability and their academic achievement.
As an adjunct to the above, the Neale Test of Reading Ability, 3rd Edition (NARA-III) can be conducted to assess reading accuracy and reading comprehension. The South Australia Spelling Test (SAST), a standardised test of spelling achievement for children aged 6-16 years, can also be administered.
Measures of cognitive ability cover primary domains such as:
- Verbal comprehension
- Working memory
- Fluid reasoning
- Visual-spatial ability
- Processing speed
A variety of complementary indices can also be used to measure performance in auditory working memory, quantitative reasoning and general ability, and other domains vital to accurate assessment of a child’s or adult’s cognitive ability.
Educational tests measure academic skills such as:
- Written expression
- Academic fluency (speed of reading, writing, and calculating)
- Listening comprehension
- Oral expressive skills
Behaviour difficulties in children can be challenging for parents and children and adolescents themselves. Accurate assessment of behavioural difficulties can lead to identification of effective interventions to support children and their carers. The Conner-3 enables a thorough and focussed assessment to be made of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and conditions that are commonly comorbid in children and adolescents between 6-18 years of age. The Conner-3 is a multi-informant tool (carers, teachers, and self-assessments) that considers home, social and school settings. The Conner-3 is invaluable in making decisions about clinical diagnoses and educational eligibility.
Appointments are available on weekdays, and after hours where necessary.
You do not need to obtain a referral to attend an appointment, however you may wish to obtain a GP Mental Health Care Plan. Please discuss this option when you are making your initial appointment.