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  • Appears anxious or withdrawn in relation to school or is avoiding school.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.

“I have worked for over 20 years in education, working with mainstream Special Educational Needs students. In supporting those students, a good quality report from a Psychologist can make all the difference, providing clarity on a diagnosis and clear strategies for a way forward.

I have worked with the many reports from Educational and Clinical Psychologists over the years and found Dr. Zaidi’s to be amongst the best. They are comprehensive, including work with the students themselves, input from parents and teachers, testing and interviews with the students as well as impressions gained over the time of assessment. They also go in depth in strategies that can help and support in school and at home.

I would heartily recommend an assessment as part of the strategy for supporting a student struggling in any area of their life.”

Douglas Kidd- Head of Student Educational Needs, International College, Hong Kong


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
  • Language
  • Memory
  • 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.

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This website contains general information about well being.
This information is not advice, and should not be treated as such neither should it be treated as an alternative to seeking professional advice from a healthcare provider.