Educational and Neurodevelopmental Assessments

The journey to being understood often starts here.

We provide person-centered, trauma informed and neuro-affirming educational and neurodevelopmental assessments for children, adolescents and adults

Why would you need an educational or neurodevelopmental assessment?

An educational or neurodevelopmental assessment is conducted by a psychologist to gather information about how a person tends to think, feel or act. At Raise the Bar Psychology the assessment focus and goals are determined collaboratively with your psychologist. Assessments often include multiple methods of gathering information such as interviews, observations, consultation with significant others or specialists, and formal testing.

Assessments at Raise the Bar Psychology are personalised to the individual needs of clients and provide insight into an individual’s unique set of strengths, differences and challenges. This detailed understanding allows for specific, realistic and individualised recommendations to be provided regarding evidence-based interventions and required adjustments and supports within the home, school or workplace settings so that barriers to learning and development are removed. 

Assessment, Consultation, and Intervention for Learning Disabilities & Neurodiversity | Raise the Bar Psychology
Psychological and Neurodevelopmental Assessments | Raise the Bar Psychology

We use scientifically validated assessment tools designed to identify and understand:

Types of assessments

Raise the Bar Psychology provides assessments to children, adolescents and adults with various presenting concerns and individualised needs.

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Autism Assessment

Autism assessments can be completed with children from as young as two years, up to adults.

An autism assessment can involve administering several standardised assessment tools, interacting with the individual in the clinic, observing the individual at school, and interviews with family members, teachers or medical and allied health professionals.

An autism assessment may include assessment of the individual’s cognitive ability to inform needed adjustments and supports. Autism assessments can also include assessment of academic achievement if learning concerns are present.

An Autism Assessment may include some or all of the following components:
  • Autism Spectrum Rating Scales (ASRS)
  • Social Responsiveness Scale – Second Edition (SRS-2)
  • Childhood Autism Rating Scale – Second Edition (CARS2)
  • Monteiro Interview Guidelines for Diagnosing Autism Spectrum – Second Edition (MIGDAS-2)

An Autism Assessment without a Cognitive Assessment can take 4-5.5 hours. If required, the Cognitive Assessment may take up to an additional 1.5 hours. The process includes an intake interview, clinical interview, MIGDAS observation, and one hour feedback session typically given four weeks after the last assessment session.  A comprehensive and individualised report with personalised recommendations is provided at the conclusion of the assessment.

ADHD/ADD Assessment

An Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) assessment can be completed with children, adolescents and adults and typically involves

Raise the Bar Psychology has both behavioural and performance measures of attention and executive functioning that provide understanding regarding an individual’s degree of attentional and behavioural control, as well as their planning and organisation skills.

An ADD/ADHD Assessment may include some or all of the following components:
  • Conners 4th Edition (Conners 4)
  • Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning – Second Edition (BRIEF-2)
  • Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning – Adult (BRIEF-A)
  • Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Young People (aged 5-17 years) – Young DIVA-5
  • Diagnostic Interview for ADHD in Adults – Third Edition (DIVA-5)
  • Trails-X
  • Comprehensive Trail-Making Test – Second Edition (CTMT2)

An ADHD/ADD Assessment without a Cognitive Assessment can take 4 hours. If required, the Cognitive Assessment may take up to an additional 1.5 hours. The process includes an intake interview, clinical interview, testing session, and one hour feedback session, typically given four weeks after the last assessment session is completed. A comprehensive and individualised report with personalised recommendations is provided at the conclusion of the assessment.

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Developmental Assessment | Raise the Bar Psychology

Developmental Assessment

A developmental assessment can target multiple domains of functioning depending on individual needs, including:

Identifying areas of developmental need allows interventions to be put in place early.

A Developmental Assessment may include some or all of the following components:

  • Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development – 4th Edition
  • Vineland Adaptive Behaviour Scales – Third Edition (Vineland-3)
  • Behaviour Assessment System for Children – Third Edition (BASC-3)
  • Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH)

A Developmental assessment includes an assessment of cognitive ability and usually takes 5 hours to complete. The process usually includes an intake interview, 2-3 testing sessions, and a one hour feedback session, typically given four weeks after the last assessment session is completed. A comprehensive and individualised report with personalised recommendations is provided at the conclusion of the assessment.

Cognitive or Intellectual Assessment

A cognitive assessment involves administration of a range of different tasks and activities that assess an individual’s language, problem-solving, memory and speed of processing to determine an individual’s overall intellectual ability (or IQ), as well as identification of specific areas of cognitive strength and challenge.

Cognitive ability provides the foundation for learning. Assessment of cognitive functioning allows for identification of the adjustments and supports an individual needs to progress in their academic learning and general well-being.

Cognitive assessment is integral to identifying intellectual disability, giftedness and specific learning disorders such as dyslexia.

Cognitive assessment is also often useful when considering neurodivergence such as autism and ADHD and determining required adjustments and supports.

Raise the Bar Psychology has a variety of cognitive assessment tools available to meet the needs of all individuals, regardless of age and individual differences:

  • Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV)
  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V)
  • Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV COG)
  • Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test – Second Edition (UNIT-2)
  • Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development – 4th Edition (Bayley-4)

A Cognitive Assessment will take 2.5 to 3 hours to complete. The process includes a half-hour intake, a 1.5 to 2 hour assessment session, and a half-hour feedback session, typically given two-four weeks after completing the assessment.

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Learning Assessment | Raise the Bar Psychology

Learning Assessment

Using a comprehensive set of both cognitive and academic achievement assessments can help parents and educators gain insight into a child, adolescent or adult’s learning and academic abilities.

Assessment of a student’s level of academic achievement identifies areas of strength and challenge, so that intervention, adjustments and supports can be targeted to areas of need.

Raise the Bar Psychology has a variety of academic assessment tools available to assess broad areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and oral language, as well as specific sub-skills in each, such as

  • Reading – word reading and recognition, decoding, word reading efficiency, reading fluency (accuracy and rate), reading comprehension and recall
  • Writing – spelling, writing fluency, sentence composition, essay composition, use of grammar and punctuation, editing, handwriting legibility and speed
  • Mathematics – number processing, maths calculation and fluency, and applied mathematical problem-solving
  • Oral language – receptive and expressive language

A Learning Assessment may include some or all of the following components:

  • Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Third Edition (WIAT-III)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Academic Achievement – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV ACH)
  • Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Oral Language – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV OL)
  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing – Second Edition (CTOPP-2)
  • Test of Orthographic Competency – Second Edition (TOC-2)
  • Test of Word Reading Efficiency – Second Edition (TOWRE-2)
  • Test of Written Language – Fourth Edition (TOWL-4)
  • Detailed Assessment of Speech of Handwriting (DASH)
  • Detailed Assessment of Speech of Handwriting (DASH 17+)
  • All Learning Assessments include a 1-hour intake and 1-hour feedback session, typically given four weeks after the assessment is completed. A cognitive assessment is typically included in a learning assessment. 
  • In total, a learning assessment can take between 5 to 6 hours dependent on the client’s age and the purpose for the assessment (e.g., school readiness, learning difficulties, giftedness)

Assessment Process

We’re here to help you identify the most appropriate assessment pathway and to help you through the process and beyond - because everyone deserves a chance to thrive.

We’d love to support you; whether you have a few questions or concerns, want to know your options, or are looking for the best provider for you, book a call with us today.

Your questions answered

Learning Disorders

A specific learning disorder (or learning disability) is a neurologically based condition that results in an individual’s achievement in reading, writing or mathematics not progressing at the typical rate expected for their age or intellectual ability. Consequently, their underachievement (in comparison to their age or intellectual ability) is unexpected.

  • Dyslexia is a pattern of learning difficulties that affects reading and spelling.
  • Dysgraphia is a pattern of learning difficulties affecting written expression.
  • A pattern of learning difficulties affecting maths calculation and/or problem-solving is often called dyscalculia.

A learning assessment typically starts with a cognitive assessment to assess the individual’s level of overall intellectual ability and ensure that learning difficulties are not the result of a broad difficulty with learning  such as an intellectual developmental disorder (or intellectual disability). Depending on the individual’s age and personal characteristics, the particular cognitive battery used may be a WPPSI-IV, WISC-V or WJ IV Cognitive. 

Assessment of academic difficulty, which may be in the areas of reading, writing and/or mathematics, is also required. A broad academic achievement battery such as the WIAT-III or WJ IV Achievement may be used. Additional specialised measures such as the TOWRE-2 or TOWL-4 may also be used, depending on the particular individual being assessed. Measures of academic achievement can provide a broad measure of achievement in a particular domain, such as an overall Total Reading score. They also allow for the assessment of specific sub-skills involved in achievement, such as word reading and decoding, reading fluency and reading comprehension, so that areas that require targeted intervention and educational adjustments are identified and understood. 

A comprehensive learning assessment often also involves assessment of cognitive processing abilities important for the development of reading, writing and/or mathematics skills that are often found to be impaired in individuals with learning disorders such as working memory, processing speed, phonological awareness, rapid automatised naming (or naming speed), associative memory, and quantitative reasoning.  

Signs to look for

Individuals who were delayed in their speech and language development can be at greater risk of developing a specific learning disorder in reading and/or writing. Further, children who are slower to develop early literacy and/or numeracy skills (such as knowledge of letter names and sounds, ability to recognise and produce rhymes, knowledge of number names, and counting) can also be at greater risk. 

In school-aged children, the following behaviours can suggest that a specific learning disorder in reading, writing or mathematics may be present:

  • Inaccurate or slow and effortful word reading
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of what is read
  • Difficulties with spelling
  • Difficulties with written expression such as making multiple grammatical or punctuation errors within sentences, poor paragraph organisation, written expression of ideas lacks clarity
  • Difficulties mastering number sense, number facts, or calculation such as having a poor understanding of numbers, their magnitude, and relationships and having to count on fingers to add numbers instead of recalling the maths fact as peers do
  • Difficulties with mathematical reasoning such as difficulty applying mathematical concepts, facts or procedures to solve quantitative problems

It is also not uncommon for children with specific learning disorders to engage in avoidance strategies when asked to complete reading, writing and/or maths tasks or to become easily frustrated, angry or teary.

A learning  assessment starts with a one-hour intake session with your psychologist to gather background information regarding the individual’s history of development and schooling, the particular learning challenges experienced, and any previous supports or interventions put in place. For younger clients, this intake session is often conducted with just the parents/caregivers. For older students, particularly adolescents, it is often beneficial for them to also be present for this initial session.  

Following the intake session, there is up to 4-5 hours of assessment with the student to complete the cognitive ability and academic achievement testing. This involves administering a range of different tasks and activities that assess language, problem-solving, memory and speed of processing. Depending on the student’s age, the assessment can be divided into multiple sessions lasting between 1 and 2 hours each. Many opportunities for movement and game breaks are provided throughout each session.

During the assessment, some questionnaires are often sent out to parents, teachers and the student themselves (if old enough) to assess for other conditions that can impact learning and can co-occur with learning disorders such as anxiety and attention problems. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the individual to be obtained and the identification of any and all areas that would benefit from support and educational adjustments at home and school. Phone calls with teachers and other relevant professionals (such as tutors, speech pathologists and occupational therapists) can also form part of a comprehensive assessment.

Typically four weeks after the final assessment session, a feedback session is conducted to explain the assessment results, the recommended supports and strategies going forward, and to answer any questions. A copy of the report is also provided at this time. For younger students, the feedback session typically occurs with just the parents, while for older students it is beneficial for them to also be present. Regardless of a student’s age, a separate child-only feedback session can also be provided where results and coping strategies are explained in a developmentally appropriate way. 

The report can be shared with the school after the feedback session. Our psychologists can provide ongoing support as required by meeting with the school and relevant teaching staff and discussing implementing the recommended supports and educational adjustments. Raise the Bar Psychology offers ongoing support including parent support and school consultation and outreach.

Cognitive assessments

Cognitive ability refers to brain-based skills that help us take in different types of information (such as what we are hearing, reading or seeing) and produce different kinds of outputs (such as expressing ourselves in words or writing, coming up with new ideas, or solving a problem or creating something). 

A cognitive assessment involves administering a set of novel tasks and activities in a one-to-one environment.

Different types of cognitive assessment batteries are available, with the best option being dependent on the individual’s age and various individual characteristics, such as their level of language and/or motor development and whether they are suspected of having very high or very low cognitive ability. The following are some of the most commonly used cognitive assessment batteries currently available:

  • The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler
  • Development – 4th Edition can assess cognitive development in children aged up to 3 years and six months.
  • The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Fourth Edition (WPPSI-IV) can be used with children from 2 years and six months to 7 years and seven months.
  • The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – Fifth Edition (WISC-V) can be used with children from 6 years to 16 years and 11 months.
  • The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) can be used with adolescents from 16 years and 0 months up to adults aged 90 years and 11 months.
  • The Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities – Fourth Edition (WJ-IV COG) can be used with individuals from 2 years of age to over 90 years
  • The Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test – Second Edition (UNIT-2) can be used with children from 5 years and 0 months up to young adults aged 21 years and 11 months. A nonverbal intelligence test allows for the assessment of intelligence regardless of the individual’s language skills, hearing, cultural background, or English proficiency

     

Cognitive ability provides the foundation for learning, and a cognitive assessment offers insight into how someone learns best. Because everyone can learn differently, understanding how a particular individual learns best means that parents and teachers can know what is the best way to teach them, and the individual themselves can understand the best strategies they can use when learning something new.

A cognitive assessment typically results in an overall intellectual ability score (often called IQ score), which provides an understanding of how easy or difficult an individual may find the standard school curriculum. A cognitive assessment also typically provides additional understanding regarding an individual’s areas of strength (i.e., the things that come quite easily to them) and challenge (i.e., areas that they find tricky and need extra help with). Commonly assessed areas of cognitive ability include:

  • Verbal comprehension – the ability to use and understand language. This supports the ability to listen, speak, read, and write.
  • Fluid reasoning – the ability to problem-solve and reason with information to see how it is similar or different to what is already known  
  • Visual spatial ability – interpret complex visual images and create and mentally manipulate images in one’s mind to problem solve
  • Working memory – the amount of verbal or visual information that can be held in one’s immediate awareness at one time, and the ability to manipulate that information to problem solve
  • Processing speed – how quickly and automatically you can take in information and produce outputs

Autism

Autism is a brain-based developmental condition that creates differences in how an individual interacts with others, thinks, feels, and experiences the environment around them. Obtaining a formal diagnosis of autism is often the first step towards understanding the individual and their needs, and provides clarity for the path forward. 

We provide autism assessments for children (from 2 years of age), adolescents and adults. 

An autism assessment typically starts with a 1-hour intake session with your psychologist to gather background information regarding the individual’s history of development, schooling and work life (if relevant), any particular challenges they are currently experiencing, and the history of any previous supports or interventions. For younger clients, this intake session is often conducted with just the parents/caregivers. For older clients, particularly adolescents, it is often beneficial for them to also be present for this initial session. Adults may wish to have a partner or other support person present during the intake.   

Following the intake session there is typically between 3 and 5 hours of assessment, which involves a clinical interview and an observational session with the client to assess for behaviours and characteristics typically present in individuals with autism (such as differences in social communication and interaction, and restricted repetitive behaviours and/or interests).  A cognitive assessment often forms parts of a comprehensive autism assessment to assess for possible co-occurring conditions such as language or intellectual delay, and to inform required supports and strategies.  

During the assessment, some questionnaires are often sent out to parents, teachers, and the individual (if old enough) to assess for other conditions that may explain any challenges they are currently experiencing and that can co-occur with autism, such as anxiety and attention problems. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the individual to be obtained and the identification of any and all areas that would benefit from support and intervention at home and school/work. Phone calls with teachers and other relevant professionals (such as speech pathologists or occupational therapists) can also form part of a comprehensive assessment.

Typically four weeks after the final assessment session with the client, a feedback session is conducted to explain the assessment results and the conclusions reached, which may include a formal diagnosis of autism. The recommended supports and strategies will also be discussed, and any questions will be answered. A copy of the report is also provided at this time. For younger clients, the feedback session typically occurs with just the parents, while for older clients it is often beneficial for them to be present. Regardless of a client’s age, a separate child-only feedback session can also be provided where results and coping strategies are explained in a developmentally appropriate way. 

Following the feedback session, the report can be shared with the school. Our psychologists can provide ongoing support as required by meeting with the school and relevant teaching staff and discussing implementing the recommended supports and educational adjustments. Raise the Bar Psychology offers ongoing support including parent support and school consultation and outreach.

ADHD Assessment

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a neurodevelopmental condition that often first appears in childhood and lasts into adulthood. Individuals with ADHD can find it difficult to pay attention. They may also find it difficult to control their impulses and therefore can act without thinking about the possible consequences or be overly active. We provide ADHD assessments for children, adolescents and adults.

An ADHD assessment typically starts with a 1-hour intake session with your psychologist to gather background information regarding the individual’s history of development, schooling and work life (if relevant), any particular challenges they are currently experiencing, and the history of any previous supports or interventions put in place. For younger clients, this intake session is often conducted with just the parents/caregivers. For older clients, particularly adolescents, it is often beneficial for them to also be present for this initial session. Adults may wish to have a partner or other support person present during the intake.   

Following the intake session, there is typically between 2 and 4 hours of assessment, which involves a clinical interview and testing session with the client to assess for behaviours and characteristics typically present in individuals with ADHD (such as difficulties with attention, organisation and planning, as well as difficulty regulating behaviour so as not to be overly active and act without thinking). A cognitive assessment often forms parts of a comprehensive ADHD assessment to assess for possible co-occurring conditions such as language or intellectual delay, and to inform required supports and strategies.  

During the assessment, questionnaires are often sent out to parents, teachers and the individual themselves (if old enough) to assess for the degree of attentional and behavioural regulation difficulty, as well as for other conditions that may explain any challenges they are currently experiencing as well as conditions that can co-occur with ADHD such as anxiety and learning difficulties. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the individual to be obtained and the identification of any and all areas that would benefit from support and intervention at home and school/work. Phone calls with teachers and other relevant professionals (such as paediatricians and occupational therapists) can also form part of a comprehensive assessment.

Typically four weeks after the final assessment session with the client, a feedback session is conducted to explain the assessment results and the conclusions reached, which may include a formal diagnosis of ADHD. The recommended supports and strategies will also be discussed, and any questions will be answered. A copy of the report is also provided at this time. For younger clients, the feedback session typically occurs with just the parents, while for older students, it is often beneficial for them to also be present. Regardless of a student’s age, a separate child-only feedback session can also be provided where results and coping strategies are explained in a developmentally appropriate way. 

The report is often shared with the school after the feedback session. Our psychologists can provide ongoing support as required by meeting with the school and relevant teaching staff and discussing implementing the recommended supports and educational adjustments. Raise the Bar offers ongoing support including parent support and school consultation and outreach.