What to expect during a cognitive/learning assessment

Once I have received your initial referral I will get in touch to organise an initial parent interview. This usually takes place over Zoom. The purpose of this chat is to talk through your concerns, determine what sort of assessment is needed, confirm costs, and schedule in the appointments.

At the start of an assessment, I will meet with your child in my clinic and talk through the process. Basically, I will explain to your child that we’re going to do a number of puzzles and games on my iPad to find out which things your child finds easy and which things your child finds hard. I’ll also reassure your child that the puzzles start off easy, that no-one ever gets them all correct, and that we will stop each one when they get too hard.

During a cognitive assessment, I will take your child through a series of assessments that assess their verbal skills, visual-spatial skills, working memory, fluid reasoning and processing speed. A cognitive assessment is also used as part of assessments for ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, giftedness, or intellectual disability. This assessment is useful to understand how your child’s brain works and what your child’s general level of cognitive functioning (ie IQ) is. Assessments for ADHD, ASD and intellectual disability also require additional psychometric questionnaires to be completed by parents, teachers and/or the child depending on the specific assessment.

Educational assessments involve a cognitive assessment as outlined above, as well as an assessment of specific academic skills such as reading, reading comprehension, spelling, writing, written arithmetic and conceptual maths knowledge. These assessments allow me to diagnose specific learning issues such as Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. These more specific educational assessments can also be used formally for funding purposes and applications for special assessment conditions at secondary school.

All of the cognitive and educational assessments are non-invasive and fun. In fact, there is always lots of positive praise and encouragement, and most of them involve screen-time!  

Following an assessment, I will discuss the assessment findings with you. I will then write a formal report that summarises the findings, explains any diagnoses, and makes treatment recommendations. I will always show you a copy of the report before it is finalised. I’m also always happy to have a follow-up session with you face-to-face to go through the report and discuss the findings in more detail. Depending on the outcome, I may also provide you with referrals to other specialists (e.g. paediatrician, audiologist, developmental optometrist or child psychiatrist).