Cognitive Assessment for Children, Adolescents and Adults
What is Intelligence Testing (Cogitive Assessment)?
Intelligence (or IQ) testing is a method used by Psychologists to measure a child's intellectual capabilities in several specific domains. These domains include verbal comprehension, factual knowledge, abstract reasoning, visual-spatial abilities and short-term memory. Intellectual assessment is a good indication of a child's academic potential. The results of an IQ test rank a child against a very large sample of children of the same age. If a child scores in the top 5% for their age group it is reasonable to expect them to be performing within the top 5% academically.
The Wechsler intelligence tests for children are the most common individually administered IQ tests. They currently include the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fourth Edition (WISC-5) for children aged age 6 to 16 years, and the Wechsler Preschool & Primary Scale of Intelligence - Third Edition (WPPSI-IV) for children aged 2 years, 6 months through to 7 years, 3 months. During the testing session a child is asked to solve problems and puzzles and to answer questions about the world. The majority of children and young people enjoy the testing session as it is an engaging process involving novel and fun tasks.
Purposes of Cognitive Assessment
Assessent of intellectual functioning for children provides information relating to:
Early entry to kindergarten or to assess for school readiness
Assessment for gifted and talented children
Selective school admission
Admission to special education programs (e.g., mentoring, extension or accelerated programs)
Assessment for Specific Learning Disorders
Assessment for cognitive difficulties (e.g., working memory and attention, processing speed), or intellectual disability
Assessment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Targets for specific accommodations in the classroom
Gaining a more detailed understanding of a child's learning style
Assessment of a child's areas of cognitive strengths and difficulties
Improved understanding of delays in skill acquisition or reasons for problematic behaviours
Assessment for funding through the NDIS
Major purposes of all cognitive assessments are to inform intervention and treatment planning, and to enable parents to make informed educational choices for their children and adolescents.
Assessent of intellectual functioning for adults provides:
A detailed profile of an individual's stengths and difficulties
A profile that is sensitive to cognitive impairment or cognitive decline (especially in situations when changes are quite subtle)
Diagnostic information for individuals experiencing problems with attention, memory, processing speed, language and other important domains of congitive functioning
A baseline for changes in cognitive functioning over time (e.g., when recovering from brain injury, or to assess the rate of cognitive decline over time)
Strong indications of specific areas to focus on during treatment or during prevention planning.
Assessment at Poulton Respondek Clinical Psychology
Our psychologists have a wealth of experience in psychological assessment for children, adolescents and adults. Colleen has worked extensively in the school context. She has spent many years devloping and delivering professional post-graduate training in assessment and intervention for school counsellors who are training to become psychologists. She has worked collaboratively with senior psychologists in the education sector, and has a comprehensive understanding of the education system in terms of its structure, welfare system, funding, and learning support systems. Colleen's expertise in this area places her in an excellent position to recommend and assist with the implementation of adjustments and remediations for children's learning. She provides practical, efficient and effective recommendations for children, teachers and schools. Colleen provides sound recommendations based on assessment results, and understands how they need to be tailored to the child, and also need to be relatively time and energy efficient for teachers. Colleen is able to consult with teachers to assist with the implementation of recommendations and adjustments.
Erin has expertise is in the assessment of children, adolescents and adults. She conducts asssessments of IQ, academic achievement and adaptive functioning. Erin comes from a strengths-based approach valuing the differing capacities of all individuals. She has expertise in assessments with high potential and gifted children, as well as children and adolescents who have intellectual and other disabilities. Erin's extensive work with people with disabilities places her in a unique position when considering the psychological, social, and environmental factors that inform the results, conclusions and recommendations of an assessment. Erin's understanding of the ways in which specific functional impairments may impact an individual's ability to access psychological assessements enables her to make fair and equitable decisions regarding accommodations during testing in order to ensure assessment results will be useful in enhancing educational inclusion and overall wellbeing.
Assessment Reporting and Recommendations
Assessment is only helpful to the extent that results are integrated to provide a coherent explanation for the person within the context of their own environment, problem/s, needs and goals. The report is a comprehensive personalised analysis (not written by a computer program) of the assessment session and other relevant information written by our experienced psychologists.
It will provide objective verification of a child's needs and thoroughly outlines all the results in the test, highlighting test scores which indicate giftedness. In the case of adults, it will provide objective information about the adult's level of congitive functioning, along with a profile of specific strengths and difficulties, and the needs of the individual.
The report provides parents/guardians or adult clients with feedback in terms of personal advice and recommendations on how to improve a child's learning experience, or how to improve day-to-day functioning in adult clients. Specific learning strategies are provided if relevant. The report wil be sent to parents/guardians and adult clients within two weeks of the assessment session.
The Testing Process
The first stage in the assessment process involves a detailed interview with the parents/guardians who accompany the child, or adult clients. Depending on family and individual circumstances, this interview may take 20 to 40 minutes. To save time on the day of the assessment, the interview form is usually emailed or posted to parents/guardians or adult clients to complete prior to the session. Following the interview the psychometric assessment will be administered. Administration of the IQ test takes on average 60-90 minutes (longer if academic assessment is also being conducted). Within two weeks of the assessment session being completed, a comprehensive report is sent to parents/guardians or adult client. The report will include a detailed analysis of the test results along with findings and recommendations based on the assessment results.
Preparation for Assessments
No special preparation is necessary, but please note that to ensure reliable and valid evaluation of abilities, we do not conduct intellectual and academic assessments in the afternoon or after school hours. Both children and adults tend to be more alert in the morning and more likely perform to their full potential. Generally you should set aside approximately 2 hours for the assessment process. This ensures that the child or adult clieny will not feel pressured or rushed, and will have time for breaks and discussion at the end of the process. Parents are also advised to inform the child's school about the expected absence. With children under 6 years of age, full assessment may involve separate sessions on different days (this will be determined at the time of assessment and no additional charges will apply).
What should I tell my child about the testing session?
We suggest that you let your child know exactly what will happen in the testing session and focus on the positive outcome.
For example, "he/she will be working with a professional to find out what he/she is really good at doing. There will be puzzles and blocks to play with, and it will be a really fun and enjoyable experience."
We recommend that each child has a good night sleep prior to testing, and has a nutritious breakfast on the day. We also ask that parents bring some snacks and a drink for their child on the day of testing. If your child wears glasses for reading, please ensure they bring them on the day.