What is Psycho-educational Evaluation? Common questions people ask about Psycho-educational evaluation.

 Psycho-educational Evaluation, ADHD, psycho educational assessment, psychoeducational evaluation

WHAT IS PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION?

A psycho-educational evaluation refers to the process by which a trained mental health professional tries to understand a child’s developmental level; identify their strengths and weaknesses; and make recommendations for remediation leading to improvement of the child’s cognitive and academic abilities. It involves the use of standardized tests and the in-depth interviewing of the child and their parents and communication with school authorities.

Those involved in this process are the school (teachers and co-ordinators), the child psychiatrist , pediatricians, school counsellors, clinical psychologists, the young person, and his/her parents.

A psycho-educational evaluation is made up of three types of testing:

  1. Tests of Intelligence
  2. Tests of Learning Disabilities
  3. Tests of Severity of Specific Conditions such as ADHD and Autism
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF A PSYCHO-EDUCATION EVALUATION?

Some of the common goals of a psycho-educational evaluation are as follows:

  • To understand the areas of difficulty, to help children enhance their abilities, and to enable them to become far more successful than their current level of functioning.
  • To identify if there are any developmental delays in the child
  • To understand the reasons behind the significant decline in academic performance leading to frequent failure in tests and exams.
  • To understand if the child has a difficulty or a disability in the areas of reading, reading comprehension, spelling, and writing skills
  • To understand the difficulty children, have in understanding basic concepts in subjects such as Mathematics and Physics that also require children to perform calculations
  • To identify those children who are unable to cope with learning in an unfamiliar medium of instruction (e.g., English), which is different from the child’s mother tongue (e.g., Marathi, Hindi, Kannada etc.)
  • To understand neuropsychological deficits such as memory, attention, and concentration difficulties
  • To understand the reasons for slowness and inability to complete school work on time
  • To identify the reasons for the child’s difficulty expressing himself/herself while speaking
  • To identify exceptional children or those with higher levels of intelligence
  • To help students prepare for higher education by identifying the ways in which they learn most efficiently.
  • To provide certificates that enable caregivers to receive pensions from the government for those with Intellectual disabilities and for seeking admission in special schools
  • To provide certificates to children who are eligible for receiving exemptions from the boards of examinations
THE PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL EVALUATIONS INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING TESTS:
  1. Wechsler’s Intelligence Scale for Children- Fifth Edition (WISC-V): It is a test that measures a child’s intelligence and cognitive abilities and is best suited for children between the ages of 6 years to 16 years and 11 months. It is an individually administered test and consists of 16 subtests (both verbal and non-verbal). However, only 10 primary subtests are required to calculate the Full-scale IQ.
  2. Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) or commonly referred to as the Raven’s Progressive Matrices (RPM): It is the non-verbal test of intelligence, especially fluid intelligence and assesses one’s abstract reasoning abilities. It is best suited for those ages of 5 years to 60 years. The test consists of 60 questions, that have multiple choices and that get progressively difficult.

The Colored Progressive Matrices (CPM) is most commonly administered on younger children and those belonging to special groups. The patterns are colored as they appeal to children and enable in sustaining their attention throughout the test. The Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) are recommended for adolescents and adults with higher cognitive abilities

  1. Vineland Social Maturity Scale (VSMS): It is a test that provides a Social Quotient (SQ) that is highly correlated with IQ and is used as a screen for developmental maturity as it also provides an estimate of one’s Social Age. It assesses 7 areas of functioning, namely, 1. general self-help, 2. self-help eating, 3. self-help dressing, 4. self-dependence, 5. occupation, 6. communication, 7. locomotion and 8. social competence. It is best suited for children and adolescents who have not received any formal education or have poor verbal abilities.
  2. Binet Kamat Test of Intelligence (BKT) is the Indian Adaption of the Stanford Binet Test of Intelligence: It can be administered on those between the ages of 3 years to 22 years. It consists of both verbal and performance tests. It can be administered in English, Hindi and Marathi.
  3. Bhatia Battery of Performance Tests of Intelligence: This test provides IQ scores between 69 to 131, and is not suitable for the assessment of Intellectual Disability. It consists of 5 subtests, namely, 1. Kohs’ Block Design (BD), 2. Alexander’s Pass-along (PA), 3. Pattern Drawing (PD), 4. Picture Construction (PC) and 5. Immediate Memory (IM) Tests. As it’s a performance test, it can be administered on those with poor verbal abilities and when there’s a language incompatibility.
  4. NIMHANS Index of Specific Learning Disabilities also known as the NIMHANS SLD Battery: It consists of two levels. Level I is suitable for children between the ages of 5 to 7 years and Level II between the ages of 8 to 12 years.

Level I consist of tests such as the auditory memory, auditory discrimination, visual memory, visual discrimination skills, visuo-motor co-ordination, writing skills, and attention.

Level II consists of tests of attention, spelling, arithmetic, reading comprehension, writing, visual and verbal memory, and visuo-motor integration.

  1. Indian Scale for Assessment of Autism (ISAA): It is a parent-rated scale that consists of 40 questions and is used to assess the severity of autism in children and for calculating the percentage of disability due to the presence of symptoms of autism.
COMMON QUESTIONS PEOPLE ASK ABOUT PSYCHO-EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION
  1. Where can I get a psycho-educational evaluation done for my child?

Psycho-educational evaluation can be done at private clinics such as MPower as well as hospitals (both corporate and those in the public sector)

  1. Who can carry out these evaluations?

These evaluations can usually be carried by qualified RCI certified clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.

  1. How would these evaluations help my child’s current problem?

They would help in identifying the areas of difficulty and for providing certification

  1. What is the duration of these evaluations and the pricing?

These evaluations can last anywhere between 2 to 3 hours and can range from Rs. 2000 upwards.

  1. What are the steps involved in the psycho-educational evaluation?

The steps involved are the case history (screening phase where the developmental history is taken along), assessment phase (rapport is established, test instructions are given, tests are carried out and ample breaks between tests are also given), and feedback session (test findings and a copy of the report are handed over to the parents).

  1. Who is eligible to undergo these evaluations?

Children and adolescents in the age range of 6 to 16 years (Std. I to Std. X) and those in pre-university as well.

  1. Who can provide a referral for psycho-educational evaluation?

Mental health professionals namely psychiatrists, the school as well as parents themselves who recognize there is need for this evaluation.

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Author
Dr. Poornima C
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