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psychology concepts

‘Assessment’ covers much more than psychological testing, however one-to-one testing of clients forms a major part of the assessments undertaken by the practice. Other essential features include history-taking, observation and ‘triangulation’: ensuring, for example through structured and standardised questionnaires and rating scales, that the experiences of home and school are taken into account (acknowledging that a child’s presentation can be very different across settings). Another essential component – one without which no assessment would be complete – is listening carefully to the child’s own ‘voice’ and views.

Assessment is carried out for a range or purposes including:

• to help in diagnosis of developmental disorders and learning disabilities
• to ascertain if the child or young person meets criteria for the provision of support or services
• to identify appropriate support teaching or interventions
• to recommend necessary adjustments or access arrangements
• to provide supplementary evidence, based on one-to-one assessment, to group or other test procedures (eg. at transfer to secondary education)
• for purposes of self-knowledge and self-understanding
• as a precursor to therapeutic or other interventions
• to gauge progress over time or in response to interventions.

The practice has a very wide and diverse range of psychological tests available for the assessment of intelligence, educational attainments, literacy skills and deficits, personality, specific cognitive deficits and developmental disorders.

Most assessments and consultations – which usually take between two and three hours – take place at the practice’s consulting rooms. Exceptionally, they can be done at a client’s home (for example if the client has a severe physical disability) or at school. Medicolegal assessments are often carried out at consulting rooms in Belfast (Medical Associates, 25 Derryvolgie Avenue).