This is the question that many parents are faced with towards the end of the year; the start of a year; as well as in any other transition periods in their child’s life.
With so much controversy in psychology surrounding the necessity of testing; and the debate about possible over-testing this becomes a labyrinth for parents to navigate their way through. Whilst over-testing could be a problem, this is easily avoided by a good first interview with your psychologist, in which your needs are clarified. Parents need to be informed in order to make choices. Testing remains a valuable tool to gather information for making decisions, but sometimes a good interview is enough to provide the much needed insights and information.
I often receive questions like: When do I assess? What circumstances? Is it a necessity in our case? What type of assessment is needed in our case?
Some basic guidance regarding psychological test instruments / or a combination there of; as well as the reasons for administering this specific set of tests is provided below:
- School-readiness: Used to assess pre-school children to provide information about their level of pre-academic skills development. It could also provide additional information where there might be doubts regarding a child’s level of school-readiness; while areas of concern can be discussed and recommendation regarding assistance can be made timeously, to enhance their readiness for the formal schooling system
- Learning problems/disabilities: Specific set of tests are tailor-made to the unique area of concern eg: Concentration and attention; memory; Reading- / spelling or writing. Findings are used to guide private sessions eg remedial support and assistance in therapy; and for diagnosis purposes; or for more public support such as applying for concessions at the Educational Department (discussed below)
- School concession reports and assessments: A compendium of tests compiled as per criteria determined by the Educational Department used to provide specific information about how learning problem presents itself: eg dyslexia; dysgraphia; delayed scholastic skills ADD; ADHD etc in practice in a child’s life. This report is used (by parents and school) to apply for specific concessions to support the child, while remaining in mainstream. Alternatively, placement in correct educational institute could be facilitated with this information at hand.
- High school subject choices: Normally done towards the end of the GET–phase (Grade 9) to support learners with subject choices appropriate to their aptitude; interest and cognitive abilities. In this case, a full assessment is not always required except if there are concerns that a child might not cope with certain subjects. A knowledge of available options / subject packages provided by various schools are important.
- Career guidance assessment: Performed for a Grade 11/12 learner; but even for tertiary education students to assist with self-knowledge in order to empower them to make appropriate choices regarding career options. Cognitive functioning; aptitude; interest and personality profiling all play a role in this type of assessment. With so many options in modern society; and with the ever-growing possibilities, career guidance has evolved into a process of counselling and self-development, while assessment only forms a part of this process
- Neuropsychological assessments: Performed in cases of neurological problems due to head injury; or neurological and developmental delays; specific types of neurological disorders; cerebral palsy; or health challenges that could affect neuropsychological and cognitive functioning. It forms part of a multi-disciplinary assessment. It could be for forensic purposes; diagnosis purposes; or private support to a client and family members
- QEEG assessment: A type of neuropsychological assessment that provides insight into the way your brain function; and it could relate behaviour (or problems) to brain functioning. This provides a brain map, providing insight into mental states, whilst simultaneously providing information for effective sensor placements in Neurofeedback training. Through this understanding, the child is able to train his/her own brains effectively using the information that is feedback to them on the screen. It is not a stand-alone assessment and need to be performed in conjunction with other forms of assessments, especially in the case of a learning disability.
- Study support assessments often comprise of a combination of some of these assessments methods to assess an individual’s thinking skills; problem-solving skills, easy memory techniques; time management strategies, goal-setting and self-organizational skills. The latter is particularly important in students’ diagnosed with ADD/ADHD; impulsivity and insight into these mechanisms enable the students to master techniques that will enable to enhance their performance. Often this is done while busy with Neurofeedback training, to improve the ability to access the mental state leading to enhanced learning.
Over time we have established a network of experts to facilitate each individual’s need eg Play therapist; medical practitioners; Occupational- and Speech therapists; biokineticist etc. Please contact us directly for further information; for referrals; or for assistance.