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Educational assessments & Intervention

Is your child underperforming in reading, spelling, math or written expression?

Our clinic focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of specific learning disorders. This type of neurodevelopment disorder is quite common and there are some great treatment options.  Treatment however is definitely not a one size fits all situation. There are many subskills involved in these processes and identifying these will guide the ability for a  specialist to be able to accurately and specifically remediate any difficulties seen.

We only give recommendations and provide treatment for evidence-based reading, spelling and writing remediation and resources suited to your specific child’s needs.

  • Difficulties with reading
  • Difficulties with spelling
  • Difficulties with written expression
  • Difficulties with Mathematics
  • preacademics for school readiness

Academic difficulties can occur for many reasons.  Reading, writing and math are complicated processes. They are not natural but learnt. The aim of assessment is to figure out what parts of the process are not working properly in order to be able to treat these directly.

Parent and teacher questionnaires/rating scales related to your child’s behaviour, cognition and school performance.

Comprehensive clinical history and examination with parents to clarify assessment direction. This also seeks to uncover any issues that may be causing difficulties with learning such as vision and hearing problems, pre-existing medical or psychological conditions, sensory processing issues, language disorders, developmental delay, intellectual disability, and ADHD.

Neuropsychological testing of specific areas of cognition related to those difficulties often seen in Specific Learning Disorders and those that rule out other disorders. This may include:

Foundation linguistic and memory and preacademic processes such as naming, fluency, visual-verbal paired associate learning,  phonological processing and awareness.

Specific tests of letter identification, single word reading and spelling, reading comprehension, reading fluency, math and written expression. Reading and spelling are assessed using the dual route model looking at both phonics and sight words and errors are analysed to create a treatment plan individual to your child. Further testing of specific difficulties such as sequencing/migration errors, morphological structures etc may be warranted.

If visual or auditory processing issues are suspected then these will also be assessed

If motor control is suspected this will also be assessed

*While mind in Action uses the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III) to assist in determining a child’s broad academic abilities, we also use many other specific tests of literacy, memory and language processes to gain more specific treatment insights such as the CTOPP,  SCAN-3:C, TVPS, MOTIF, CC2, QUILL, CELF, CMS, WRAML, NEPSY, DKEFS

General intellectual (IQ) functioning including reasoning and problem-solving skills, processing speed & working memory. Mind in Action use the standardised  Wechsler Preschool and Primary School Scales of Intelligence – 4th Edition (WPPSI-IV),the Wechsler Intellectual Scale for Children – 5th Edition (WISC-V), and The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – 4th Edition (WAIS- IV)

Combined ADHD assessment – If ADHD is suspected then testing for Attention (sustained, selective, switching and divided) & Executive functioning (cognitive flexibility, planning, organisation, reasoning, and self-monitoring) will also be assessed.

Feedback and recommendations

There are a few confusing terms used when referring to difficulties with learning. Currently the DSM-5 has reclassified dyslexia (reading), dysgraphia(writing) and dyscalculia(math) under the umbrella term of specific learning disorder (SLD), with issues occurring in written expression, reading or mathematics.  We will work with you to understand all these terms and find the best treatment for issues found.

Treatment for Specific Learning Disorders and Academic difficulties in general are wide and varying. We only recommend treatments that are evidence-based and will spend time going through these with you. This will include recommendations and strategies for school and home

Pre assessment: 

We will send you an intake form and a number of questionnaires to fill in before you come into clinic so that we can get a good idea about what we will need to cover

Initial session: 

We will have an initial session with parents to discuss the current concerns and direction of assessment. We can do this over a Telehealth service if necessary.

Testing sessions:

Because every human mind is unique, the neuropsychological assessments provided are individual for every child depending on the core issues and underlying functional weaknesses. Which tests to use are established by talking to the parents and teachers and performing some pre-assessment questionnaires. Then as the assessment goes along adjustments in tests are made depending on what is found during testing.

Testing will happen over one or two sessions depending on the age of your child and how much needs to be covered. Normally this will require the student to take half a day off school and each session can last anywhere between 2 and 4 hrs.  Parents will only be required to drop off and pick up their child.

Feedback session:

This session is also with the parents to go through the results of assessment and talk about recommendations and diagnosis if appropriate.

Assessment aims to provide you with knowledge about your child’s cognitive strengths and weakness, any other contributing factors to the clinical picture, as well as short term and long term strategies for the future. This includes strategies for home and school as well as referrals to specialists or programs for therapy or training.

We provide recommendations and referrals to evidence based programs available to families and are happy to work with schools to help them provide intervention where possible.

There are often big waiting lists for reading programs. As a result, we provide some reading, spelling and written expression intervention in clinic. We only provide interventions that are research based and use the individual results of your child’s assessment to target specific areas of weakness.

Phonological decoding and letter sound rules training – we work with a program called RipitUp reading that focuses on phonological decoding and is highly effective with those children who also have working memory issues.

Sight word training- targeting high frequency words with strategies to effectively “recode” the words tricky  pronunciation  and consolidate the visual representation (particularly letter order) in mind.

spelling mastery– This is an evidence based program that teachers dependable spelling skills using the phonemic approach, the whole word approach and the morphemic approach

Written expression- This intervention teaches kids how to organise their thoughts into well written work.

Tania Pickering has a masters in Clinical Neuropsychology and as such has the comprehensive training necessary to provide in depth assessment and ongoing support for your child. She provides a wholistic approach to assessment, taking into consideration the person in context with their life as well as in the testing environment. This means looking at the cognitive, psychological, lifestyle and social aspects of the person on an individual level. The main aim of the assessments apart from diagnosis is to help create an effective plan for the future. To help parents get the information and resources they need to help kids thrive no matter their quirks. We also work with the child’s school to make sure the information and support is continued here. There will always be an action plan for home and school provided as well as any professional referrals given. She conducts assessments on the northern beaches and North shore or Sydney Australia

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