The Importance of a Thorough Understanding
A basic tenet in all healthcare is “Before Treating, Diagnose.” Without an appropriate diagnosis, we may miss important elements to help support our clients. This is as true in psychology as it is in other branches of healthcare. At Psychology Works, we conduct a number of different types of assessments so that our clients, their families and referring professionals can better understand the critical psychological issues, and what to do about them. An appropriate psychological assessment is bedrock to good psychological intervention.
Psychoeducational Assessments focus on a student’s academic or educational needs. This may include the diagnosis of processing or learning disabilities or social, emotional, or behavioural problems that can affect adjustment or achievement at school.
Referrals are accepted for children and youth in school (primary, elementary, high school and post-secondary) when parents or teachers suspect a learning problem or underachievement.
Psychoeducational assessments typically assess intellectual functioning and academic ability. Depending on a student’s educational profile, cognitive, memory, language, attention/concentration, executive functions and nonverbal abilities may also be investigated. Specific recommendations are made, depending on the student’s unique learning needs.
Identifying specific areas for remediation can also be helpful in making recommendations for accommodations at school.
Schools and universities are mandated to accommodate students identified with Exceptional needs. A psychoeducational assessment can be helpful in assisting your child achieve to the best of his or her ability, at any age.
We limit our Comprehensive Assessments to youth and young adults as they combine a detailed psychoeducational report with a detailed clinical report, creating one comprehensive evaluation of the “whole” person. These assessments are appropriate in exceptional circumstances when a child is at considerable risk both academically and socially, emotionally or behaviourally. The student at risk could be having significant difficulty in both the school and home environment. Clinical issues may be evident (extreme anger, sadness, self-harming, anxiety or trauma). Requests for comprehensive assessments typically come from concerned parents, physicians or protection agencies. Detailed recommendations are made to assist a student in both the home and school environment. We will liaison with your physician, psychiatrist, or others involved in your case. Ongoing contact regarding a student’s progress is sometimes needed on a long-term basis. Referrals for community-based supports are made if a child has a complex psychological profile and complex psychological and educational needs.
Our Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) assessments focus on the psychological (social, emotional, behavioural) and educational needs of individuals returning to school and/or pre-accident functioning. Psychological support can be provided independently or as part of a multidisciplinary team. Referring sources are typically case managers, physicians, hospitals, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, law firms or insurance adjusters.
Specialized legal assessments are typically reserved for very specific and very adverse life circumstances. For example, a family crisis caused by a high conflict divorce, the unexpected death of a loved one, a youth in trouble with the Criminal Justice System, the Apprehension of a child or a health crisis. Disruptions in a family’s life as a result of adverse life events can create unique problems not seen prior to, or following the adverse event. This is a Type 1 traumatic event. In other cases, adverse events and circumstances are chronic and are considered Type 2 trauma. Finally, Intergenerational Trauma may be affecting a family’s ability to function optimally, leading to ongoing conflict and loss. This is Type 3 Trauma.
Typically, specialized assessments of this nature occur in a legal context. For family matters, a Court Order is needed for the psychological assessment of specific issues related to parenting or custody. Requests for specialized assessments are made by Protection Agencies or practitioners in Family Law and sometimes in Criminal and Immigration Law. Personal Injury law firms often request medical legal reports.
Specialized Legal Assessments
Becoming involved in legal matters and court proceedings can be a very challenging and stressful time for individuals who may already be having difficulty coping with their ordinary activities of daily living. We have a long history of providing detailed and comprehensive reports used in Civil Court, Family Court and Criminal Court. Our work in this area is balanced between Plaintiff and Defense reports.
Motor Vehicle Accidents: Our Motor Vehicle Collision (MVC) assessments focus on the psychological (social, emotional, behavioural) and educational needs of individuals returning to school and/or pre-accident functioning. Psychological support can be provided independently or as part of a multidisciplinary team. Referring sources are typically law firms, physicians, case managers, hospitals, occupational therapists, physiotherapists or insurance adjusters.
Medical Legal Assessment: these are very specialized legal assessments typically reserved for very specific and very adverse life circumstances. For example, catastrophic injury following a motor vehicle collision. Typically, law firms request these assessments for legal purposes.
Insurers Examinations: these assessments are also related to personal injury, typically secondary to injury following a car collision. These assessments are typically requested by insurance companies.
Family Impact Assessment: In the area of personal injury, it is our view that when one member of a family is catastrophically injured, the whole family can be adversely affected. We offer Family Impact Assessments to examine the post-injury sequelae for all family members – from infants to grandparents. Family Impact assessments are important because each member of the family serves an important role in maintaining the homeostatic balance in a family. If a child is injured, the whole family can be adversely affected in profound and sometimes permanent ways. If a parent is injured, the children can also be adversely affected, depending on their age and a number of other factors. We provide comprehensive assessments about a families’ post-injury adjustment.
Court Ordered Assessments: Typically related to matters involving Family Court, we provide section 30 and section 52 assessments, which must be Ordered by a judge. These assessments are typically requested by the CAS or lawyers representing parents in court proceedings involving their children.
These assessments are most often requested for minor children when a care providing adult (parent, teacher, physician) suspects an underlying psychological problem related to difficulties with problems at home and/or at school:
• paying attention, focusing
• remembering learned material
• completing homework age appropriately
• engaging with others (adults and peers) in prosocial ways
• adapting to transitions and changes
• age appropriate emotional control
We have experience in assessing and treating the following
• Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
• Processing or Learning Disability (LD)
• Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD)
• Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Childhood Depression and/or Anxiety Disorder
• Adjustment Disorder
• Developmental Trauma