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At Futures in Mind, we provide a range of assessments to explore an individual’s developmental profile and determine whether they meet diagnostic criteria for a range of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. An assessment provides insight into the child’s behaviour, as well as the types of support and services that could significantly improve their everyday functioning and developmental trajectory. The assessment may also identify that the child is eligible to access funded early intervention services and other supports.

Educational Assessment

At Futures in Mind, we take a comprehensive approach to Educational Assessments using multiple test batteries (i.e., various IQ tests) to help guide diagnostic decisions and to gain a fuller picture of an individual’s cognitive abilities. We have moved beyond the boundaries of a single intelligence test kit (e.g. WISC), resulting in a significantly improved method of measuring cognitive and academic abilities that integrates neuropsychological methodology into learning assessments.

Using the most up-to-date assessment tools, we can ascertain a very comprehensive insight into a child’s unique profile of cognitive, academic, social, emotional and behavioural strengths and weaknesses. By identifying exactly what challenges are present, we have increased our capacity to be specific with recommendations on how to support, accommodate, or remediate any difficulties.

This approach allows thoroughness in identifying whether learning difficulties are the result of an underlying neurologically-based Specific learning Disorder, such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, or language based Dysgraphia.

What areas of cognitive ability can be assessed using this comprehensive approach?

Our comprehensive assessment includes 8 key cognitive abilities known to be important for academic achievement in both literacy and numeracy:

Crystallised Intelligence: Depth and breadth of knowledge and reasoning, based upon previous learning experiences

Fluid Reasoning: Ability to think flexibly and problem solve

Visual Processing: Ability to perceive and think with visual patterns and stimuli

Short Term Working Memory: Ability to remember and use auditory and visual information within a short time period

Processing Speed: Ability to perform cognitive tasks fluently and automatically, maintaining focused attention

Learning Efficiency: Ability to learn, store and consolidate new information into long-term memory

Retrieval Fluency: Ability to efficiently produce and retrieve verbal information or ideas stored in long-term memory

Auditory Processing: Ability to hear, identify, isolate, and blend speech sounds, e.g. phonemes

How can clients access a comprehensive Educational Assessment?

An assessment can be arranged by contacting Futures in Mind for an intake session with our Psychologist, Anna Owens, who has extensive experience with assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders.

During this session, an outline of the number of assessment sessions required will be discussed. Following the assessment, a comprehensive psychoeducational report is prepared for the client, including a full detailed explanation of all results, any appropriate diagnoses, and most importantly, specific and individual recommendations for how to support the individual to realise their academic, social and emotional potential.

Cognitive Assessment

A Cognitive Assessment involves an assessment of the various cognitive abilities as well as overall intelligence, using tools such as the WPPSI-IV and WISC-V. At the end of the assessment period, parents and/or guardians receive a report that includes an outline of the child’s cognitive ability profile, along with recommendations and any relevant diagnoses. A cognitive assessment is often useful in determining whether the child meets criteria for school funding under the category of Intellectual Disability.

What is the difference between a Cognitive Assessment and an Educational Assessment?

Both educational and cognitive assessments involve an assessment cognitive ability. Educational Assessments, however, also assess academic ability (reading, writing and maths). This means that Educational Assessments can assess for learning disabilities such as Dyslexia.

In contrast, cognitive assessments are a shorter assessment and are generally suggested for children with no academic concerns, or for school-based funding applications under the category of Intellectual Disability. Cognitive assessments do not measure academic achievement, and therefore do not assess for learning disabilities such as Dyslexia.

Autism Spectrum Assessments

This assessment typically includes:

  • A comprehensive parent interview using the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R)
  • Formal observation using the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)
  • A developmental or cognitive assessment
  • Teacher and parent completed standardised behavioural and adaptive questionnaires
  • Kindergarten/School observation (if requested)
  • A feedback session to review a comprehensive report outlining the assessment outcomes and recommendations

 

ASD assessments typically comprise four appointments, though may vary according to the child’s assessment needs:

Appointment 1: 125 minutes, parents only

Appointment 2: 50 minutes

Appointment 3: 75 minutes

Appointment 4: 50 minutes, parents only.

Children under 13 who are referred for diagnostic assessment by a paediatrician or child psychiatrist are eligible for a partial rebate of up to 4 sessions through Medicare under the Helping Children with Autism Package.

ADHD / Behavioural Assessments

In a comprehensive ADHD/behavioural assessment, key information is gathered regarding the child’s background and educational history, cognitive ability (e.g. reasoning, memory, processing speed), social-emotional-behavioural functioning, and executive functioning. This allows the clinician to determine the underlying function or basis of the behaviour, and the factors that may be maintaining it.

 

This assessment may include:

  • A comprehensive diagnostic parent interview using DSM-V criteria
  • A cognitive assessment and, where appropriate, an educational assessment
  • Teacher and parent completed standardised questionnaires of behaviours and executive functioning (e.g. Conners, BASC)
  • A feedback session to review a comprehensive report outlining the assessment outcomes and recommendations

Appointment length and number will vary according to the child’s assessment needs.

How can clients access neurodevelopmental assessments?

An assessment can be arranged by contacting Futures in Mind on (03) 8740 2171 for an intake session with one of our Psychologists, Anna Owens or Felicity Ferber, both of whom have extensive experience in conducting assessments of Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders.

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