Nurturing Minds and Hearts offers a broad range of psychometric and diagnostic assessments

Developmental Assessments

Necessary when there are concerns about a child’s ability to meet expected developmental milestones and perform everyday tasks. Used to identify a child’s strengths and challenges in a range of developmental domains including cognitive, social, emotional, language, physical development and adaptive behaviours such as self-care and self-direction.

Cognitive Assessment

Used to determine a child’s learning ability by identifying their cognitive strengths and weaknesses. When interpreted in combination with comprehensive background information, parent interviews or teacher consults, the results can provide a profile which assists with the development of an individualised intervention and learning plans.

Educational assessments

Used to measure a child’s academic ability level in a range of areas including reading, written expression, spelling, arithmetic, listening comprehension, and oral expression. An objective measurement tool is used to assist in identifying particular areas of academic skill where a child may be struggling or failing to reach their full academic potential.

Behaviour Assessments

Used to examine whether a child is exhibiting challenging behaviour which falls outside the range of expected age appropriate behaviour. Such behavioural problems may include difficulties around hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, sustaining attention over long periods of time or disruptions to peer relations or learning.

Social/Emotional Assessments

Used to evaluate a child’s social and emotional abilities such as self-concept, peer relationships, attachment, self-regulation, resilience, social competence, and worry.

Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessments

Used to evaluate a child’s main areas of difficulty typically including communication, socialisation, restricted or repetitive behaviours, interests or activities and sensory sensitivities. The severity and extent to which a child’s daily functioning may be affected can range from mild to severe.

All assessment results are compiled in a detailed psychological report

A detailed report is provided with a summary of clinical observations, background information, medical history and standardized test results. The substantial report is finalised with practical recommendations for parents, GPs, teachers in relation to academic, social, behavioural and emotional functioning.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What does ASD assessment of a child by a psychologist involve?

A psychologist’s assessment of your child for ASD involves:

1. Conducting a clinical interview of significant people in your child’s life (e.g., parents, other carers, and teachers);
2. Observing your child (often in different settings such as home, day-care or school); and
3. Administration of formal and general assessments.

Key areas that the psychologist will look at as part of this process include:

  • How the child responds emotionally to physical contact;
  • How the child responds to his or her name;
  • Use of eye contact, gestures, and facial expressions;
  • Evidence of unusual levels of fear, distress, or anxiety;
  • Evidence of stereotypical or repetitive body movements or mannerisms;
  • The child’s ability to communicate wants and needs;
  • Unusual or intense interest in topics, particularly in relation to activities and the child’s play;
  • Abnormal or repetitive use of language;
  • The child’s capacity for self-expression and to reason and problem solve;
  • The quality of the child’s interactions with adults and other children;
  • The child’s ability to cope with everyday situations – for example a change in routine.

What are the formal assessments used?

Formal assessment may involve the administration of instruments that have particular relevance to the diagnosis of ASD, including:

  • The Child Autism Rating Scale (CARS);
  • The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule 2nd Edition (ADOS-2); and
  • The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)

In addition, psychologists often administer more general tests to gather information about the child’s developmental level and intellectual functioning.

  • Wechsler Pre-school and Primary Scale of Intelligence 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV);
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC);
  • Adaptive Behavioural Assessment System 2nd Edition (ABAS-2);
  • Connors’ Rating Scale 3rd Edition; and
  • Sensory Profile.

Why use formal and general assessments?

Formal assessment provides the psychologist with a more comprehensive understanding of children’s difficulties, their intellectual abilities, and how they cope in everyday situations. The psychologist considers the information collected during the assessment to determine if the child meets the criteria for Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, or PDD-NOS — or whether a different diagnosis or further assessment is warranted.

Cognitive Assessments

What is a Cognitive / IQ Assessment?

A cognitive or IQ assessment involves a series of different activities to help identify a child’s specific learning style, strengths and areas of need. This knowledge helps to generate suitable recommendations for teachers, parents and other professionals that are used to meet those learning needs of school aged children.

The learning profile generated by an assessment conveys a great deal of information about a child, both educationally and behaviourally. Firstly, the assessment generates scores known as an IQ score. This can also be regarded as an estimate of the child’s general cognitive ability and can be used to help understand and predict how a child will function in a school context. Secondly, observations can increase understanding as to how a child approaches tasks, reacts to failure and praise, and their general attitude towards learning.

Cognitive assessments may be used to address a variety of questions commonly asked by parents such as:

  • Is my child exhibiting any particular cognitive difficulties or impairments?
  • Is my child gifted?
  • Does my child have problems with memory?
  • Does my child have processing difficulties?

Types of Cognitive Assessment Tools

The main assessment used to measure general cognitive abilities is the Wechsler Scales. The choice of scale is determined by the child’s age. For children who are between the ages of 2 years, 6 months to 7 years, 7 months, the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV) is used. For children/adolescents aged between 6-18 years, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) is used. Both tools provide information about a child’s general IQ (or ‘intelligence’) as well as specific areas of intellectual strength and needs. It is the particular areas of strength and needs (the learning profile) that reveals the most helpful information as opposed to just getting a general IQ score.

Reports and Feedback

The assessment reports contain detailed and comprehensive information about the results of the assessment, your child’s background information, developmental history, previous assessments, prior interventions, observations and other relevant and applicable information, to provide a clear interpretation of your child’s current functioning. The report also includes a comprehensive summary and list of recommendations for home and school, as appropriate.
A feedback session is then held with parents to explain the results, go through the report and answer any additional questions that either parent may have. This session can also be used for planning of any further assessment or intervention that a parent may which to engage their child in.

Who can refer child for an assessment?

Paediatricians, parents, school counsellors and general practitioners (GPs) commonly refer young clients for assessment for a range of difficulties.