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

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.

Clinical Assessments

In the area of personal injury it is our view that when one member of a family is catastrophically injured, the whole family is adversely affected. We offer Family Impact Assessments to examine the post-accident sequelae for all family members - from infants to grandparents. Family Impact assessments are important because each member of a family serves an important role in maintaining the homeostatic balance of a family. If a child is injured, the whole family is adversely affected in profound and often permanent ways. If a parent is injured, the children can also be adversely affected in unanticipated and unexpected ways. We provide comprehensive assessments about a family’s post accident adjustment.

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. Ongoing contact regarding a student’s progress is often 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.

Legal Assessments

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 crop prices caused by a high conflict divorce, the unexpected death of a loved one, a youth in trouble with the criminal Criminal Justice System, the Apprehension of a child or a medically (catastrophically) injured child. 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.