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Learning Assessments

Concerns about your child’s academic progress are not restricted to delays but may also be due to your child potentially being advanced in their academic abilities. A learning assessment can help identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses in their learning profiles regardless of your concerns.

What is a learning (psychoeducational) assessment?

In practice, a learning assessment is referred to as psychoeducational assessments, and is performed by a psychologist with expertise in learning and cognition. The assessment provides information regarding a child’s intellectual capacity, or cognitive functioning, and academic achievement.

Why should your child have a learning assessment?

Falling behind their peers, not just about grades

Often children with specific learning disorders can present with:

  • Challenging behaviours.
  • Emotion regulation difficulties.
  • Reports of attentional and concentration difficulties.
  • Anxiety.
  • Difficulties with peer interactions.

Many of these children are displaying these behaviours due to avoiding academic tasks and embarrassment in front of their peers as a result of their difficulties with learning, that results in:

  • Performance anxiety.
  • Low confidence.
  • Low self-esteem.

A learning assessment provides parents and teachers with essential and individualised details about your child’s intellectual potential and learning styles. It offers strategies and recommendations for your child to feel more confident in their academic abilities. Specifically, a learning assessment will:

  • Identify what your child’s learning potential is. In other words, their ability to absorb, process and recall information which will show how they learn and process information and, most importantly, identifying their particular strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify if your child has any specific difficulties with reading, writing, maths, oral language or in some cases, if they are gifted.
  • Identify specific learning strategies and types of accommodations and support they may benefit from – at home and school.
  • Also, even for young children, helping your child gain insight into their learning ability can be a relief to them as well as to you. Children notice differences between their learning and that of other children early in their schooling, often affecting their self-esteem and confidence. A simple understanding of their strengths and why they may be experiencing difficulties in their learning can be a surprisingly uplifting experience for your child and often alleviates feelings of being ‘dumb’ or ‘different’.
  • Inform you in your decisions about your child’s education, such as targeted intervention, learning programs or applying for extra time on assignments and tests.

A complete learning assessment includes examining your child’s thinking, memory and reasoning skills and academic skills abilities. Combining these standardised tests, interpreted by a trained professional, provides valuable information beyond what can be identified by single non-standardised tests. For example, a cognitive test alone cannot diagnose any disorder. Additional tests may be helpful depending on the presenting issues, such as learning difficulties, potential giftedness or adaptive behaviours.

I think my child might be gifted

The processes and goals of an assessment for giftedness do not differ from those identifying learning delays. The assessment will identify if the child’s intellectual potential as well as their academic performance is significantly more advanced than their peers, as well as identifying the child’s strengths but also possibly their weakness. Again, the overall goal of an assessment for giftedness is to identify the best learning path for your child.

I think my child might have an intellectual disability

Children with an intellectual disability will often fall behind their peers across many different areas of their development. An assessment for an intellectual disability will identify if your child’s intellectual abilities and academic performance are significantly behind their peers and if they are experiencing a range of delays in all aspects of their daily lives and social interactions. Again, the ultimate goals of intellectual disability assessments, and all assessments at May, is to identify your child’s current difficulties but also their strengths and how to identify the best learning and intervention path for your child.

Learning Assessments at May

The benefit of a learning assessment at May is that Psychologist Dr Annabel Marsh is a very experienced and appropriately trained clinician who provides comprehensive and appropriate assessments that identifies your child’s intellectual potential and learning profiles. Dr Marsh will also investigate your child’s current emotional well-being, as many children with different learning potentials, both delayed and gifted, often experience other emotional and social challenges. Dr Marsh provides comprehensive feedback and written reports with detailed recommendations to ensure your child’s strengths and weaknesses are identified and used to guide individualised recommendations.