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My child has been referred for a psycho-educational (global) assessment … Now what?

If your child has been referred for a psycho-educational assessment, it may be for a variety of reasons, for example: the teacher suspects your child is at risk for lagging behind academically, they may suspect your child is underachieving or perhaps they want to find out more about your child’s memory as your child seems to forget information easily. The teacher then normally refers to an Educational Psychologist to investigate the underlying causes and provide suitable recommendations and support. Other reasons why a child may need a psycho-educational assessment include transferring your child to a school for learners with special needs, to determine school readiness for Grade One, to find out if a specific schooling environment could be ideal for your child or to determine if your child may benefit from repeating a grade at school.

What is the process?

The discussion below relates to how Vicky Downing, our Educational Psychologist, works. She first meets with parents or caregivers so she has information about the child’s background, development, issues and so on. This information is important when considering a diagnosis and when considering appropriate interventions.

A psycho-educational assessment includes the following types of assessments, although others can be included, depending on your child’s needs: a cognitive test (IQ-test: this tells us about your child’s memory, understanding of concepts, pace of working, spatial awareness skills, overall potential and so on), scholastic tests (these give information about your child’s Mathematics, reading, spelling and writing skills) and emotional evaluation which provides information about how your child sees him- or herself, how they see their family and school among other aspects. If your child is under ten years of age, visual and auditory perceptual screening tools are also used to determine whether your child may be at risk for developing a learning disorder. These tools provide information about how your child’s brain is understanding what is seen and heard. The scores on the different assessments are compared and analysed to identify specific problems. Please note that psychologists and psychometrists are the only qualified persons in South Africa who are allowed to administer psychometric tests, such as IQ-tests.

The final step in the process is for parents or caregivers to attend a feedback appointment in which their child’s results are shared and explained. Recommendations are discussed and reports and other support information are provided.

Will my child need to be re-assessed?

Depending on your child’s progress, he or she may need to be re-assessed after a period of time to monitor the success of the various interventions or to determine whether your child needs further support. If your child needs examination concessions or accommodations, a new assessment may need to be conducted at a later stage, depending on the policy of the relevant examinations board and your child’s school.

If you need more information or would like to make an appointment, contact Vicky Downing on: or 011 894-5655/ 084 474 7744.

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