There are several different types of child and adolescent assessments that can be completed. With each one, parents and youth are provided with a report to help them better understand their concerns, and to share with other health professionals, as needed.
A developmental assessment looks at the early development of your child and whether they are progressing at the same rate as other children their age as far as learning to walk, talk and interact with others. Testing completed includes both parent interview and questionnaires, as well as measures of early motor and communication/language skills, as well as early social skills and daily living skills. This type of assessment is often completed when a child appears to be having difficulty in one or more of these areas. It can be helpful to both children and parents in identifying areas of strength for the child, and to provide support for challenges through connection with community or school resources. A developmental assessment is usually completed with younger children.
A psychological assessment examines the psychological well-being of your child or adolescent to determine whether they may need treatment to help them cope with feelings of anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. Assessment of a child’s social and emotional development (including observation of behaviour) is often done in conjunction with testing of learning and academic skills, to understand how a child’s social and emotional well-being may affect their functioning at home, school or in the community. A psychological assessment can be completed with most school-aged youth.
A psychoeducational assessment is an assessment of cognitive skills such as language, visual-spatial skills and memory, along with academic abilities such as reading, writing and math. This type of testing helps parents and youth better understand how they learn, and what, if any, areas might be more challenging for them. Often, this type of assessment is completed if a child appears to be having difficulty with a subject at school (e.g., math) or finds reading or writing a challenge. More explanation of the similarities and differences between psychoeducational and neuropsychological assessments can be found here. A psychoeducational assessment can be completed with most school-aged children.
A neuropsychological assessment helps parents, teachers and health professionals understand how a child’s brain works. The information collected through parent and teacher report, medical chart review, and individual testing with a child helps the neuropsychologist to understand how a child’s brain allows him or her to make sense of things he or she sees or hears, how a child remembers things, pays attention to his or her environment, uses language, solves problems, and learns to do such things as read, write and do math. Often, a request for a neuropsychological assessment is made when a child has a medical history, such as a brain injury, tumour, stroke, concussion or other neurological condition, although this is not always the case. While neuropsychologists often determine which cognitive areas to examine depending on the concerns voiced by the child, his or her parents, teachers or other health professionals, a number of areas are commonly examined, such as intellectual functioning, academic functioning, language/verbal skills, visual-spatial skills, sensorimotor skills, memory, attention, processing speed and/or reaction time, higher-level executive function abilities, behaviour, adaptive skills and social/emotional functioning.