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Cognitive Assessments

Cognitive tests (often referred to as IQ tests) measure intellectual ability. They examine your child’s ability to solve problems, their verbal comprehension, abstract reasoning skills, working memory, processing speed and their ability to mentally manipulate information.

Results provide a description of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses. They also give an overview of your child’s intellectual potential, especially when interpreted alongside the outcome of an educational assessment.

There are few types of tests that can be administered, depending on your child’s age:

  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary School Intelligence Test (WPPSI-IV) – administered to children aged 2 years 6 months to 7 years 7 months;
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-V) – administered to children between the ages of 6 and 16;
  • TONI 4, Test of Nonverbal Intelligence.

These types of assessments are commonly administered to:

  • Assess your child for giftedness;
  • Assess if your child has an intellectual difficulty or an intellectual disability (Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale is another instrument that our psychologists use to support this type of diagnosis. It measures adaptive behaviour and is the leading instrument for supporting the diagnosis of intellectual and developmental disabilities);
  • Assist in diagnosing specific language impairment/communication difficulties and specific learning difficulties (such as nonverbal learning disorder).

Educational Assessments

Educational assessments are typically given to children in conjunction with a general intelligence test. They look at your child’s academic skills. More specifically, they examine mathematics, reading and comprehension, spelling and written expression skills.

The following test is used to asses academic ability:

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT III).

Other tests can also be used, such as Wide Range Achievement Test (WRAT), Dyslexia Screening Test or Hedderly Sentence Completion Test.

A comprehensive educational assessment can help to:

  • Identify intellectual giftedness and determine if a child or adolescent can access gifted and talented programs;
  • Identify specific learning difficulties or disabilities in children and adolescents. This information can be particularly helpful for a child’s school, as it will allow their teachers to have a better understanding of their learning needs and will help determine further supports and/or accommodations that may have to be put in place, if necessary. Such adjustments can vastly improve a child’s academic performance, overall wellbeing, self-esteem and attitude towards learning.

Cognitive and Educational Assessment Process

Part 1: Clinical interview with the parent/primary caregiver to obtain background information and developmental history

Part 2: Onsite cognitive/educational testing of the child/adolescent (this usually takes between 2-3 hours)

Part 3: Feedback session with the parents to discuss results and recommendations.

After the feedback session report is being prepared and forwarded to the parents/primary caregiver within 2-4 weeks.

Cost of the cognitive/educational assessment: €800.00

Clinical Assessments

Clinical Assessments can be incredibly valuable in evaluating concerns related to inattention, hyperactivity, anxiety, social skills, frustration tolerance, mood and self-esteem.

Clinical assessments are often used to assist parents and teachers in understanding the behaviours and emotions of children and adolescents, and they examine whether a child’s challenging behaviour (e.g. hyperactivity, aggression, impulsivity etc.) is age-appropriate. They are helpful in diagnosing neurodiversity, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Cost of the clinical assessment: €1200.00

Social Work Assessments for Section 32 and Section 27 Reports

Social work assessments are completed by Deidre McCarthy, our Social Worker and High-Support Foster Carer, that provides a holistic and trauma informed approach in assessing the “Voice  of the Child”. Deirdre meets children in their own home,  and in school or a neutral venue that is not clinical in setting. This approach allows children to feel safe, supported and comfortable. The same approach applies to meeting parents, however an office space is also available.

Section 32 of the Guardianship of Infants Act 1964 Reports

This is the most common type of report and is commonly known as a “Voice of the Child Report”. This report will  provide the child’s opinion and views directly to the court. It normally involves several meetings between the child and the assessor and meetings with both parents . Sometimes a “Child Welfare Report” can also be sought, which can address a particular worry about a parent’s behaviour, their ability to meet the basic needs of the child and the impact this has on the child.

Section 27(1) of the Domestic Violence Act 2018

The Court might seek a similar report under Section 27(1) of the Domestic Violence Act 2018. This report looks at the impact of parental domestic violence on a child and if it is in the child’s interest to be covered by an order, such as a Protection Order/Barring Order (excluding emergency/interim barring/protection orders), which one of their parents have applied to the court for.

Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that includes persistent difficulties with attention, hyperactivity, impulsivity and/or organisational skills.

An ADHD assessment requires a comprehensive evaluation using various methods and tools to determine whether a child fulfils DSM-V criteria for ADHD.

An ADHD assessment typically consists of clinical interview to obtain a detailed developmental history, psychometric testing, clinical observation and review of information obtained from teachers and/or other practitioners that know/have previously treated the child.

Assessment Process

Part 1: Clinical interview (1 hour)

Part 2: Psychometric testing and clinical observation (2-3 hours)

Part 3: Scoring and interpretation of results, and report writing (3-4 hours)

The complete ADHD assessment and diagnosis process takes around 6-8 hours in total.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder psychometric assessments are highly specialised. They are used to provide diagnosis and appropriate recommendations to support children with ASD.

An ASD assessment typically includes:

  • Clinical interview with parents/caregivers to obtain detailed background and developmental history;
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, which is a structured interview that is covering three domains – language/communication, reciprocal social interactions and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviours and interests;
  • Adaptive behaviour functioning assessment, if needed (we use Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale);
  • Cognitive assessment to determine the child’s level of cognitive functioning and profile of strengths and weaknesses for learning;
  • Behavioural and emotional functioning assessment (we use Conners 3 rating scales and/or the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA). The ASEBA is used to detect behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents;
  • Clinical observation of the child during assessment;
  • Review of previously completed diagnostic/therapy reports, if available;
  • Review of teacher’s reports of the child’s daily educational, emotional, behavioural and social functioning in school.

An ASD assessment typically includes:

  • Clinical interview with parents/caregivers to obtain detailed background and developmental history;
  • Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised, which is a structured interview that is covering three domains – language/communication, reciprocal social interactions and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped behaviours and interests;
  • adaptive behaviour functioning assessment, if needed (we use Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scale);
  • cognitive assessment to determine the child’s level of cognitive functioning and profile of strengths and weaknesses for learning;
  • behavioural and emotional functioning assessment (we use Conners 3 rating scales and/or the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA). The ASEBA is used to detect behavioural and emotional problems in children and adolescents;
  • clinical observation of the child during assessment;
  • review of previously completed diagnostic/therapy reports, if available;
  • review of teacher’s reports of the child’s daily educational, emotional, behavioural and social functioning in school.

Assessment Process

Part 1: Clinical interview (1-2 hours)

Part 2: Psychometric testing (2-3 hours)

Part 3: Scoring, interpretation of results, and report writing (3-4 hours)

The complete ASD assessment and diagnosis process takes around 6-8 hours in total.

*Please note that a multidisciplinary team approach is recommended to provide a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, especially for younger children. We are happy to provide parents with appropriate, HSE approved, referrals.

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