Psychoeducational Assessment

What is a psychoeducational assessment?

A psychoeducational assessment is a thorough individual assessment that involves gathering developmental, family, school, social/emotional, personality/temperament, and health histories and administering and interpreting norm-referenced tests.  A composite of this information is then used to help formulate a profile of an individual’s pattern of strengths, challenges, behaviours, and life circumstances so that specific suggestions and recommendations can be made to help the individual reach his/her full unique potentials.  The entire psychoeducational assessment process generally takes 20 to 30 hours, depending on individual assessment needs.  Drawing on the expertise of more than one clinician, Campbell & Fairweather Psychology Group generally uses a team approach in conducting such assessments.

What types of assessments are available?

Different types of psychoeducational assessments are available depending on the particular goal(s) of the assessment and related referral questions.  Costs are similarly determined on this basis and vary as a function of the complexity of the assessment and the time required.  The following section briefly describes the different types of psychoeducational assessments available.

Please Note:  Prior to any assessment, all school reports, previous testing information and background developmental, medical, social/emotional, and school information/histories are asked to be provided to the examiner.

Core Assessment

If the goal is to determine whether a child (or adult) meets a particular diagnosis, such as those required for special support services and/or adjudication for secondary and post-secondary institutions/schools (or to receive accommodations within an adult’s work place), a core assessment is likely adequate.  This assessment includes:

  • 5 to 6 hours of one-to-one cognitive and achievement testing
  • parent(s), teacher(s), and child (or adolescent or adult) interviews and questionnaires
  • test scoring, analysis of cumulative information, and interpretation
  • a feedback meeting and a comprehensive written report
  • a follow-up meeting with school and or work personnel with permission and as appropriate
  • testing materials
  • 2 copies of the Assessment report

Core Assessment with Additional Diagnostic Testing

  • In addition to the above Core Assessment, further diagnostic testing is sometimes required to search for a better understanding of the specific areas of difficulty.  Such diagnostic testing is used to determine how and when the breakdowns in performance are occurring, and what factors may be contributing to the difficulties.  This information can then be used to further refine and develop a program to manage the difficulties at home and school.  The additional testing requires 2 to 4 hours of one-to-one testing or compilation of multi-rater questionnaires and interviews.  The following testing choices are as follows and include the additional test scoring, analysis of cumulative information, interpretation and report writing:
  • process-oriented diagnostic testing (e.g., reading, math, writing, etc.)
  • memory assessment
  •  language assessment
  • auditory processing testing
  • social/emotional/behavioural or executive functions, or temperament multi-rater questionnaires
  •  cognitive processing testing (e.g., auditory, visual, visual-motor)

Comprehensive Clinical Assessment

A Comprehensive Clinical Assessment is conducted when a medical/clinical diagnosis or multiple diagnoses (e.g., comorbid diagnosis of ADHD, Gifted, Learning Disabilities, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities and/or social/emotional/behavioural components; possible Asperger’s Disorder, Autism, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder; etc) are likely. This assessment includes:

  • 10 to 12 hours of one-to-one testing with a combination of cognitive, memory, diagnostic achievement, language, motor, adaptive and/or emotional, social, behavioural testing (as deemed appropriate)
  • parent(s), teacher(s), and child (adolescent or adult) clinical interviews
  • a school observation with permission
  • questionnaires collected from multiple observers (e.g. from parents, caregivers, teachers, co-workers, self-reports)
  • test scoring, analysis of cumulative information, and interpretation
  • a feedback meeting and a comprehensive written report
  • a follow-up meeting with school personnel with permission
  • testing materials
  • 2 copies of the Assessment report

Costs and Funding:

The cost for a psychoeducational assessment varies as a function of the type of assessment (as outlined above) required.  A brief telephone conversation (or meeting) with one of our clinicians can usually determine what type of assessment is required and what the cost will be.

The next question everyone asks, of course, is whether there are personal tax credit programs and benefits available for individuals with disabilities that can help incur assessment costs.  Many people with personal health insurance have extended coverage which may cover a portion of psychological testing for individual family members. It is advisable for clients to review the details of their coverage to see whether their plan includes coverage for such assessments.  If so, it is the client’s or parents/caregivers’ responsibility to submit their claims directly to their insurance providers after full payment has been made to Campbell and Fairweather Psychology Group.

In addition, it is recommended that families investigate the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) of the Income Tax Form under line 330 of Schedule1.S.118.2 (2) and Regulation 5700 in the Income Tax Act and explore how they may qualify if they or one of their children has a learning disability.   The Learning Disabilities Association of Canada has worked closely with Finance Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency over the past several years with the aim of ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities are fairly treated under the Income Tax Act.  For example, the cost of a psychological assessment, tutoring services, talking textbooks, and costs for transportation to and from assessment, therapy, and tutoring sessions, fees for specialized camps (summer/winter) and specialized private school, and note taking services may be eligible expenses for persons with learning disabilities under the Medical Expense Tax Credit program.  Since tax laws are complex, it is recommended that families also consult with a tax advisor. 

What can one expect from an assessment?

We recognize that managing and coping with complex learning difficulties can often leave individuals and their families feeling isolated and confused. The goal of a psychoeducational assessment is to help individuals and/or families feel more empowered to make immediate changes in their school (or work) environment.  Armed with concrete tools to work with identified strengths and challenges, clients are able to leave our office with a sense of hope and relief about future possibilities for themselves or their children.