parents - what we offer

Bringing up children can never be described as easy, and all children and families go through periods where help or support is necessary in one form or another.

Sometimes we reach a stage where we feel we have tried everything but nothing seems to make any difference to our concerns about our children’s potential to achieve at home, in the Community or at School. We may also have concerns about their behaviour, happiness and well-being.

Psychological (cognitive), social and emotional and attachment assessments can help to focus more clearly on an individual’s strengths and difficulties and then enable psychologists to make recommendations in a Report about how to support the individual to make positive changes to move towards fulfilling their potential as well as becoming happier with their lives. Usually this will involve the significant adults around the child. For this reason, we would often encourage parents to share such Reports with the child’s school or Pre-school setting if appropriate.

Assessments can focus upon intellectual (cognitive) ability, behaviour (including attachment and other social and emotional difficulties), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or more specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, executive dysfunction (regulation of thoughts, feelings and behaviour), dyspraxia and language based difficulties.

Labelling a child’s difficulties is not helpful in itself, although there are times when this is useful, such as to attract support from specialist groups or perhaps a Statement of Special Educational Need. The important outcome of any of these assessments is that specific or general need is identified and recommendations can be made which will make a positive difference to the individual.

If you can identify any of the following persistent issues (not an exhaustive list) relating to your child, then our service will be useful to you and your child:

  • Reluctance and defiance about home-work

  • Poor memory and organisation of self and/or schoolwork

  • Tantrums/defiant behaviour

  • Isolation from family/friends

  • Poor communication

  • Inability to form and maintain friendships

  • Difficulty learning basic concepts

  • Being bullied or bullying behaviour

  • Appears to be sad, lacking motivation, lethargic

  • Poor sleep patterns

  • Any other persistent and negative behaviour you can identify remembering that most of us show evidence of many behaviours on this list at some time.

Cognitive assessments

This is a formal assessment of your child’s abilities in a range of areas, such as verbal and non-verbal skills, memory and speed of processing. Your child will be asked to do a number of different tasks. Some will be like puzzles, others will require them to answer questions or remember certain things. These assessments provide information about how well your child is performing in relation to other children of exactly the same age and sex in a range of areas.

social and emotional well-being

This would take the form of an interview along with a range of self-report questionnaires to be completed with the psychologist, as well as questionnaires to be completed by significant other adults in the child’s life. This assessment would provide information about your child’s social skills, ability to empathise with others, self-image, inter-personal and intra-personal skills and specific worries. It is as important for parents (and teachers alike) to give the same importance to social and emotional difficulties as it is to supporting cognitive difficulties, since emotional distress can interfere with intellectual development.

dyslexia assessments

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary problems may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. (Research Committee of the International Dyslexia Association in August 2002).

There is no single test for dyslexia and diagnosing dyslexia can be difficult as individuals present inconsistent and contradictory profiles. It is important to remember that young children learn and develop at very different rates and for this reason, psychologists tend to not formally diagnose dyslexia until a child is seven years of age or older.

However, a lot can be done for children of 7 years and under to prevent later difficulties if assessed early to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses and make recommendations. Other specialists if appropriate (e.g., speech pathologist, occupational therapist, tutor, etc.) can also be suggested as a result of such assessments.

If your child has difficulties with a number of the following, they may have Dyslexia; in which case an assessment would be helpful:

  • Reversal of letters or numbers when writing

  • Reverse sounds within a word

  • Difficulty decoding and sounding out letters to make words

  • Poor memory for sounds

  • Difficulty sequencing

  • Difficulties recalling rhymes and songs

  • Problems remembering instructions

  • Slow to read, especially out loud

  • Poor concentration

  • Left and right confusion

  • Do others in the family have similar problems?

attachment difficulties

This assessment would provide information on a child’s Attachment or emotional bond to another person. This theory is based upon the very young child knowing that the caregiver is dependable, which creates a secure base for the child to then explore the world. Sometimes the child for one reason or another does not feel this security and is unable to recognise or display a full range of emotions in themselves or in others, resulting in an inability to form trusting and fulfilling relationships.