Written by:  Daniela Ranieri Switzer, MA, C. Psych.

August 23, 2022


“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, back to school.  While there may be some comfort in knowing that finally after two years of disruption, that this may finally be the year that kids go back with some normalcy.  During the past few years with Covid-19 and bouts of learning at home you may have noticed that your child is having difficulty with reading. Or maybe they struggle to sit still for long and can’t pay attention.  As a result of these trying times, interventions or supports your child needs to learn may have been put on hold or maybe your child has missed crucial learning. 

You may be considering a psychological assessment but don’t know where to start or if it is even the right option for your child.  Here are some tips that can help you make those decisions. You may have had a teacher or other person suggest that your child needs to be assessed by a psychologist.  While any time is good to have a comprehensive psychological assessment completed, there is definitely a more appropriate time to consider the investment.  The information obtained from an assessment is most useful when your child is struggling with significant academic or behavioural difficulties. When done at the right time a psychological assessment will generally last most of your child’s academic career.  If they still require accommodations if they decide to go to post secondary, a more up to date assessment may be required.  


A full psychoeducational assessment before age 9 is not helpful because children’s brains need to complete significant development growth and other developmental issues should be addressed.  It may be possible to have a modified assessment completed, such as the Early Identification Assessment we offer, to find out if there are early developmental issues in the acquisition of reading or math skills and behavioural issues such as ADHD.  This assessment is less expensive and allows for a wealth of information for your child’s school so that they can provide targeted academic interventions and supports.

How to get an assessment

There are several ways to get a psychological assessment.  You may be able to access one through your child’s school.  Often there is a long wait list for these assessments and only a few children are able to access this service as a result of a lack of resources.  You also may be able to get an assessment from a government agency or hospital program.  However, these programs may be specific, for example assessing for Autism or for very young children who may be experiencing significant developmental delays.  The wait times for these may also be very long.  Finally, you can always self-refer for an assessment through a private clinic or psychologist.  While there is an expense for this service, there can often be a much shorter wait list and the information you get may be more comprehensive than other options.  Often psychological services are covered by extended health benefit plans and usually the cost can be divided between parents and child. 

How does an assessment help

A comprehensive psychological assessment results are used to understand how your child understands the world and how they learn new things.  The information collected in an assessment includes language processing, cognitive potential, visual and verbal memory, attention, concentration, and executive functioning, social and emotional issues, and academic achievement.  Once you understand your child’s learning profile, recommendations can be made in order to support and provide accommodations at home and school so that they can use their strengths to overcome the areas of difficulty and learn to their greatest potential.  An assessment can help your child’s school to prepare a targeted Individual Learning Plan (IEP) so that they continue to learn.  These types of assessments usually include an intake meeting, assessment of the child, questionnaires sent home for parents and teachers, the preparation of an extensive report, and finally a feedback meeting to go over the results.  The preparation of the report is probably the most important part of the whole assessment, as it requires an experienced clinician to integrate all the information so that they understand the way that a child’s brain works.  Asking for the psychologist’s experience as well as who will be actually conducting the assessment are fair questions that you should feel comfortable with asking before signing up.

Getting your child assessed is a daunting process.  Contact Full Potential to see how we can help your and your child make the first step towards your child’s future.

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