Assessment

Teen boyWhat Does a Psychological and Educational Assessment Do?

A valuable tool for understanding behavioral challenges and school problems in children is a comprehensive psychological assessment. Targeted assessments can help parents, providers and educators better understand a child’s behaviors, learning style, unique strengths and needs, and what supports or accommodations may be needed.

For example, a young student constantly “acting out” in the classroom and performing poorly in school…

  • may be struggling with a learning disability that has caused him to be years behind in his reading level
  • may be experiencing a stressful life event or loss at home that is interfering with her ability to concentrate in class
  • may not be getting the right types of supports

A full assessment can identify these root causes to behaviors, offer solutions, and ultimately help a child be successful.

Looking at Many Factors

Because multiple components can contribute to a child’s behaviors, great care is placed in designing a comprehensive evaluation. Assessments can uncover developmental, neuropsychological, intellectual, emotional, personality and environmental factors contributing to how a child learns, experiences the world, feels, and behaves. Our assessments are always solution-focused, striving to unmask a child’s strengths and the tools a child needs to achieve his or her potential.

Comprehensive psychological and learning assessments can help identify:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Oppositional defiant disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Attachment difficulties
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
  • Learning disabilities
  • Intellectual impairments

What Happens During an Assessment?

A full assessment provided by the Center is a multi-step process that evaluates how a child thinks, learns, feels, and behaves:

Step 1: A clinical interview to gather information about a child’s history. The discussion includes developmental, health, family, social, emotional, behavioral and academic history that may help to shed light on the development of current concerns.

Step 2: Specific procedures and tests are selected based on the referral questions and the information gathered from the clinical interview.

Step 3 (as applicable): A review of previous assessments, observations, consultations with other professionals, can be conducted to make sure no other findings are overlooked.

Step 4: The actual testing portion of the assessment includes various standardized tests and activities to gain understanding of general intellectual ability, language, memory and learning, problem solving, planning and organization, attention and concentration, fine motor skills, visual spatial skills, academic skills, and emotion and behavior. Usually they are a combination of one-on-one question and answer, as well as tasks involving pencil and paper, puzzles, drawing, and games.

Step 5: A written report detailing the assessment process and findings is prepared and reviewed with the family and child, or as appropriate, with other treating professionals and educators.

Find Help Here

If you know a child that has struggled through multiple treatment options or has had an ongoing challenge that has not presented a solution, perhaps an assessment should be considered. Our team is culturally competent and extremely knowledgeable about working with children presenting with complex behaviors and diagnoses. The team includes Licensed Clinical Psychologists, post-doctoral assessment fellows, and pre-doctoral psychology students from several universities.

Assessments are offered to children and teens, Monday-Friday, on our main campus in Kearny Mesa, on a cash pay basis. Insurance reimbursement may be available. We are happy to provide documentation to help you submit for reimbursement. Typically, a full assessment can be made in 1-3 sessions.

We happily offer bilingual services as well.

For more information, please contact:

Cindy Barreda Schurr, Psy.D.,
Program Manager – Assessments
(858) 634-8300
cschurr@centerforchildren.org