The purpose of an assessment is usually to gather information in order to provide informed advice or recommendations concerning some aspect of the child’s educational or psychosocial functioning.
Assessments are a useful tool in helping to understand a child with behavioural or emotional problems, by identifying cognitive or learning difficulties.
PARENTS SHOULD CONSIDER ASSESSMENT WHEN A CHILD:
– Displays significant behavioural problems for the first time.
– Has behavioural problems that have not responded well to intervention.
– Is having difficulty with learning, such as problems with reading, spelling or mathematics and has not responded to support.
– Appears anxious or withdrawn in relation to school or is avoiding school.
– Shows concentration problems, and lacks organisation skills.
– Shows a loss of skills, regression in abilities, or sudden change in their normal behaviour
– Is not as independent as expected in daily living skills; they may be disorganised or forget instructions (particularly in older children and teenagers).
These assessments are important in identifying difficulties, planning appropriate psychological interventions and advising on educational support.
Assessments are important in guiding not just learning needs, but can also be helpful in understanding some underlying reasons for behavioural difficulties in children.
Assessments help guide educational supports and appropriate behavioural interventions.
Diagnosing learning problems early is essential to ensure the child receives the right support with learning.
These assessments provide evidence for special educational needs provisions.
The results of these assessments can help guide teachers with educational approaches that may help a child to learn in the educational setting.
Research shows early intervention is most beneficial to children with learning differences and assessments are a useful tool in identifying these differences.
The term ‘cognitive’ refers to thinking, such as reasoning and problem-solving. Cognitive assessments are used with older children, usually from school age onwards.
A major component of an assessment of cognitive abilities involves the administration of tests of:
– General Intelligence
– Academic abilities in Literacy and Numeracy
– Attention, Concentration and Visuospatial Skills
– Planning and Organisation
These are helpful in identifying learning difficulties or other problems that may require special attention.
Attention, concentration, planning and organisational skills are known as executive functions. These higher order skills are needed to plan and control behaviour in order to achieve. This could be anything from impulse control in the playground to success in exams.