Assessment Services for Children, Adolescents & Adults in Halifax
There are many ways of referring to assessment. Some people call it testing or evaluation, but these words have developed a connotation of being judged or failing if you don’t meet certain standards. When you visit Bird & Associates Psychological Services for assessment, you aren’t being judged by us and you won’t fail your test. Instead, our assessment services for children, adolescents, and adults in Halifax are about knowledge. We want to provide individuals with information that empowers them to find the necessary resources to be successful personally, professionally, and academically.
Assessment for Children & Teens
We are happy to offer a full range of assessment services for children, adolescents, and teens. These assessments are often completed on the referral of a pediatrician or educator may. You can learn a little more about the types of assessments we offer for children below, but please don’t hesitate to contact us to find out more.
If an educator, care giver, physician, or other authority reports suspicion that a young person has been abused or neglected, we can offer complete assessments of the child’s mental, emotional, and physical health. These assessments may involve observing the child, interviewing caregivers, and conducting other evaluations to ensure we have a complete picture of the child’s overall wellness in order to provide a report to the requesting authorities.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other development concerns impact memory, attention, concentration, organization of thought, and other executive functions. Assessment helps us determine whether or not a child has executive function disorders and the extent of their struggles, as well as offering recommendations for resources and support to help the child or teen achieve success academically, in their personal lives, and their future careers.
For infants and toddlers, developmental concerns, like autism spectrum disorder, are diagnosed using behavioural or neurobehavioural assessments. This typically involves observing the child performing tasks and using a rating scale to assess their behaviour. We may also ask that parents and other caregivers offer input about the child’s abilities and development. When appropriate, we also work with your child’s pediatrician who may be able to offer more detailed feedback about developmental differences they’ve observed.
In many cases, students will complete intelligence testing as part of entrance into a particular school, club, or organization. Others request giftedness testing for young people out of curiosity. Whatever the reason, these assessments give highly intelligent or advanced learners, their parents, and their educators the necessary information to help gifted students thrive academically.
For students who are struggling academically, learning disability testing pinpoints the underlying abilities and areas of difficulty. Armed with this information, parents and educators are equipped to help young people make the most of their strengths and overcome the challenges that may hold them back in the classroom.
Like giftedness and learning disability testing, psychoeducational assessments are used to evaluate a child’s academic abilities. However, these tests take a more comprehensive view, assessing all areas of the child’s emotional and cognitive development. In addition to the interviews, observations, and assessments administered in our office, we may also ask that you provide report cards, documented adaptations, IPPs, and previous assessment reports, as well as any information from speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, or physicians.
In addition to academic and behavioural concerns, young people may begin to show signs of emotional turmoil. If your child is having difficulty processing big emotions, understanding challenging situations, or recovering from loss, trauma, or abuse, social emotional functioning assessment offers information to guide the course of treatment and ongoing care that will best address their needs. We may recommend this form of assessment to help children who are experiencing any of the following concerns:
- Disordered mood – anxiety, depression, anger, oppositionality
- Difficulty dealing with phobias and fear
Issues related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Recovery from abuse or neglect
- Healing after trauma or loss
Assessment for Adults
In addition to offering assessments for young people, we provide evaluations and testing for adults. There are many reasons these assessments may be requested. In some cases, assessment is indicated if a diagnosis is unclear. You can learn more about the assessments we provide often for adults on this page, and we welcome your questions if you would like to contact our psychology team.
Adaptive behavioural functioning assessments are used to determine a person’s abilities across a range of situations, including communication, social interaction, self-care, self-direction, professional development, and motor skills. This assessment may be used to diagnose a specific condition, document an individual’s areas of strength and weakness, recommend therapy and treatment plans, or to monitor improvement following interventions.
If attention and executive function concerns are not diagnosed in young children, they can cause significant concerns later in life. While poor attention and memory are challenging for young people, these struggles make it even more difficult to maintain a job and form healthy, lasting relationships in adulthood. Assessment for these conditions is a first step toward developing the skills to be successful and thrive in all areas of life.
Just like young people, adults may seek intelligence testing as part of a requirement for certain programs or out of curiosity. Cognitive ability testing can also be used as a guidance tool for individuals who struggle to find a fulfilling profession. Intelligence testing reveals areas where cognitive ability is most developed to help individuals find satisfying applications for these skills.
Seeking additional information after receiving differing diagnoses is one of the main reasons adults schedule assessments. In some cases, they received a specific diagnosis in their youth that is called into question later in life. In other cases, individuals receive conflicting information or a physician is unable to provide a definitive diagnosis. We provide comprehensive, customized assessments to answer these differential diagnosis questions and ensure you have the necessary information to receive appropriate care.
Adults with undiagnosed learning disability may seek assessment at any age. The results of these assessments empower the adult learner to get adequate resources to achieve specific goals, access appropriate accommodations, and a range of other purposes. Adults with previously diagnosed learning disability may seek periodic assessment to measure improvement or ensure continued access to support resources.
Whether an adult has suffered trauma, displayed signs of psychological disorder, or received a mandate to undergo testing, mental health assessments help the individual understand their cognitive function, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal abilities.
Assessment to diagnose mood or other psychological disorders may be sought as part of the therapy process. These diagnostic assessments provide knowledge to guide ongoing care and help the individual and psychologist achieve desired therapy results more efficiently.
In many cases, university students seek periodic reassessment as they complete higher education. These comprehensive exams give adults of all ages access to a complete picture of their learning abilities and areas of struggle, and they answer questions like, “Why have I always struggled in math?” or “How can I perform better at work?” If you’re curious about your educational skills or abilities, psychoeducational assessment may be right for you.
Following trauma, individuals seek assessment to confirm a diagnosis of PTSD. Understanding the severity of this condition gives therapists the ability to more effectively create treatment plans to assist the individual in healing from trauma and restoring their healthy, thriving life.
Our ability to connect with other people is an important part of being a human, but when you struggle in this area, it impacts all areas of your life. Assessment to help individuals better understand social-emotional functioning is invaluable in guiding change during individual, couples, and family therapy.
We are happy to offer Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) assessments for service members to determine diagnosis for disability and benefits. We offer initial testing and periodic reassessment services as required.
The Assessment Process for Children & Teens
Assessment is a multiphase process that takes place over several visits to our office. You can learn more about the process below, and one of our team members will be happy to discuss what to expect when you call to schedule an appointment. We accept assessment referrals from parents and physicians.
You will meet the psychologist for an initial appointment. There, the psychologist will to gather information, and you will be able to describe the areas of difficulty that prompted the appointment. During the initial assessment, the psychologist will use the information they obtain from the child or adolescent and their family to decide whether or not an assessment is required. If not required, alternative options will be discussed with you.
If assessment is required, consent forms will need to be signed to collaborate with the child or adolescent’s teacher.
Direct testing ideally takes place in the morning on 2 days, each consisting of 3 testing hours (i.e., 6 total hours).
Parents will be asked to remain in the waiting room during test taking.
It’s recommended that a drink and snack are provided by the parent, so the child can take a short break during the testing period.
A feedback session will be scheduled once the testing has been completed, tests have been scored, and a draft report has been written.
Parents are encouraged to ask questions regarding the results and recommendations.
Typically, children under the age of 12 are not required to attend this appointment
The Assessment Process for Adults
Assessment for adults will work in much the same way that we conduct testing for young people. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We accept assessment referrals from individuals and their physicians.
At the intake appointment, we review your referral questions, talk through any past assessments, go over supporting documentation you provide, and discuss personal and familial histories. At the end of your intake session, the psychologist schedules your testing visits. Then, using the information gathered during intake, a personalized testing battery will be created.
Testing is usually conducted over two sessions that last about three hours each. While adults have longer attention spans and greater concentration abilities than children, we do still recommend taking breaks during this time. You can feel free to bring along a snack, book, headphones to listen to music, or other items that will help you to relax and refocus during a short break.
Once we have completed testing and compiled all of the information into a report, you will return to the office for one final follow up visit. During this session, we go over the findings in our report, answer any questions you may have, and make recommendations for necessary resources, including those offered by our psychologists and through referrals to specialists.
We are Currently Accepting New Patients and Referrals
Bird & Associates Psychological Services of Halifax welcomes anyone who may be interested in booking an appointment, receiving more information about our therapeutic approach or learning more about services offered to contact our office.