A parent consultation provides an opportunity for parents to discuss their current concerns and to determine if their child or adolescent would benefit from psychological assessment. It includes a clinical interview in which the psychologist gathers information pertaining to the young person's developmental history, and the administration of screening tools (if appropriate) to identify areas which may require further investigation or intervention.
A cognitive assessment involves formal assessment of the young person's cognitive ability (intelligence) to gain insight into their unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. Formal assessment of the young person's cognitive ability allows the psychologist to determine if the young person's cognitive ability is developing as expected for a child/adolescent of their age, or if the child presents with a particular difficulty such as intellectual disability. The child's ability to function independently within the home, school and community with regard to daily living skills is also assessed.
When determining if a young person presents with a specific learning difficulty (e.g. dyslexia, dyscalculia etc.) a formal assessment of their cognitive ability is first conducted to determine if their cognitive ability (intelligence) is developing as expected. In order for a child/adolescent to meet diagnostic criteria for a specific learning difficulty, there must be clear evidence that the young person's academic attainment is not in keeping with their cognitive ability (i.e. their academic attainments are significantly in arrears of their cognitive ability). This involves the administration of a formalised assessment of academic attainment pertaining to reading, writing, and mathematics.
An assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder comprises of formal cognitive assessment, consultation with preschool/school staff, school observation (if required), comprehensive clinical interview pertaining to the young person's developmental history with parents (Autism Diagnostic Interview - Revised) and clinical observations of the young person during the administration of a play-based assessment (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule - 2). This process allows the psychologist to determine if the young person presents with social, communication and behavioural difficulties associated with ASD.