We’ve been told that our child needs a psychoeducational assessment. What is that and how is it different from a psychological assessment?
A psychoeducational assessment is really a psychological assessment that focuses on addressing concerns related to learning and school functioning. When you request a psychoeducational assessment, your child will receive a psychological assessment geared towards developing a better understanding of your child’s learning style, learning needs, and adjustment in the school setting. Recommendations stemming from the assessment will guide both parents and educators in meeting the child’s learning needs as well as their social and emotional needs.
There are many reasons why children struggle in school. The many factors which impact a child’s school success are often explored by conducting a psychological assessment. This type of assessment attempts to uncover the reasons a child struggles and offers suggestions for how to assist the child. A broad range of factors which influence a child’s school success and adjustment are typically explored including the following possibilities.
- High levels of stress in the child’s life that interfere with the child’s ability to learn, socialize, and/or behave appropriately in the school setting. Stress may be related to a wide range of experiences such as family conflict, other family stressors, exposure to trauma, a difficult change or loss in the child’s life, difficulty with peer relationships, as well as many other possibilities.
Underlying cognitive problems that make academic tasks difficult and frustrating. (Such as intellectual deficits, learning disabilities, attentional problems, and developmental delays or disorders.)
- Emotional or social problems that interfere with learning and school adjustment
- An academic program or environment that is not a good fit for the child's learning needs.
- Poor coping skills that hinder a child’s ability to deal with typical childhood stressors and frustrations
- Poor physical health or health habits which interfere with a child’s energy and availability to learn
- Mental Health problems such as depression, anxiety, or thought disorders.
The assessment may place more or less emphasis on each of the areas above depending upon the referral question. However, by considering all of these areas, we strive to identify those concerns that are having a negative effect on the child’s success in school. This information then allows us to offer guidance on how best to assist and support the child at school and at home.
Lyla Caudle, M.A. C. Psych. Assoc.