Why do we assess?
- To establish if the child has a Specific Learning Disability. In some cases, this will be limited to a particular subtype such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. In most cases children will present with elements from different subtypes.
- To assess each child's individual pattern of strengths and weaknesses. This is essential as it helps teachers develop a programme that will suit the child rather than putting him/her through a predetermined programme which may not suit his/her particular way of learning.
- To make recommendations on best way to teach and support the child in the classroom.
How to organise an assessment?
You can make a booking yourself by ringing the reception between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday. Our receptionists will asks you for some information on the nature of the problem encountered and on any other assessments your child may have had in the past. Sometimes, previous assessments are similar or identical to tests we would normally use. In such a case we will ask for a copy of the reports you have, to decide how much of the assessment needs to be done to avoid unnecessary duplication. The receptionists will explain the two assessment sessions to you, explain costs and the discounts that are available based on income, and endeavour to answer any questions you might have before making appointments . You will be sent pamphlets explaining the process as well as case histories - one to be filled by the parents, one by the child's teacher if possible. We will also ask for a sample of your child's writing.
What happens during assessment ?
While our Psychologists will explain to both you and your child what will be done in the testing session, they will have to work with your child alone. If your child is very anxious and does not like new situations, we suggest that you take the time to visit the Centre beforehand and if possible to meet with the Psychologist you will be seeing.
The first session does not involve any writing or reading, which reassures many children who struggle with these tasks, and most enjoy the activities as they are varied and "not like school" . It consists of a Wechsler Intelligence Scale, which will give information on strengths and weaknesses in different domains such as language and non verbal reasoning, memory and processing speed. Typically, students with SLD will perform well in some of these areas and very poorly in others, while children with mild intellectual disability or slow learners will perform very low in all areas. If, from the results, the psychologist does not think that your child has an SLD or would benefit more from some other form of assessment than the SLD Battery (the second session), this will be discussed with you and suggestions made on what we can offer you, or which agency would be better equipped to assist you and your child. The second session is a comprehensive screening battery covering areas that have been identified by research as involved in SLD, such as laterality, coordination, spatial and sequential organisation, visual perception, short-term memory, phonological awareness, naming speed and letter sound correspondence, as well as handwriting, reading, spelling and /or math as necessary. This will identify all the "barriers to learning" a child might have . For example a child with poor auditory memory will find it difficult to retain verbal instructions, a child with poor spatial organisation will easily get lost in a large school and have difficulty with presentation of work, a child with poor phonological skills will not be able to sound out words easily and a child with poor visual memory may have difficulty recalling letter patterns. It will also identify the strategies a student already uses for reading/spelling and those that are still to be acquired.
What happens next?
Results of the assessments will be discussed with you at the end of each session. This will be followed by a written report. The report will detail the results obtained during testing and give broad recommendations on both direct intervention and accommodations that may help your child. Teachers with training in SLD will also be able to use the information contained in the report to design an appropriate individual programme.
If your child has a SLD, options will be discussed at the end of assessment. If appropriate, information on the interventions offered at the Centre will be given and their suitability discussed. You may also want to discuss results of assessment with your child's school and see what support they can offer.