Children are referred for a psychological assessment for many reasons. They may have attention or behavior problems at home or in school, be subjected to bullying, be depressed or anxious, or have a learning disorder. Often when kids are struggling in school or seem to be behind their peers developmentally, a counselor or teacher will suggest the child undergo a psychological assessment. The findings from this type of evaluation will let us know where the child excels and which areas he or she might need to address (for example: an undiagnosed learning disability).  Dr. Ryan Seidman, the Clinical Director at our Children’s Center notes that, “Having your child evaluated can promote improvement in academic and emotional functioning.”

Who Performs a Psychological Assessment?

Psychological assessments are done by highly trained child psychologists who are specialists in their fields. These mental health professionals evaluate the child’s strengths and weaknesses, then work with parents and teachers to come up with an approach that will help the child progress.

How is a Child Psychology Test Done?

These assessments aren’t like “actual” tests can be and they aren’t something the child can study for. In fact, it is best if the child is relaxed during the evaluation, so the assessment isn’t a “pass or fail” test. During a psychological assessment, the psychologist will:
  • Talk with the child (and later with their parents) to learn more about their behaviors and emotional skills. They will also look at the child’s neurological functioning in areas such as spatial processing. In some cases, they may also talk to the child’s teachers or others who know the child well.
  • Observe the child during the evaluation. Depending on the reason for the assessment, the child psychologist may also visit the child at home or at school to further gauge their interactions with others.
  • Have the child complete a standardized test. These tests have been taken by many different people and will allow the psychologist to compare your child’s results with those of others in order to evaluate a range of abilities. The psychologists want to know how the child functions in areas such as movement (dexterity) or behavior and in subjects like reading, writing and math.
  • May review school records, medical records, or test interview or the child’s parents or teachers in order to learn more about the child.
Psychological testing isn’t a quick assessment. The evaluation will likely takes several hours to complete and often involves more than one session to be certain the psychologist has all the details about a child. By putting this information together, the child psychologist comes to an understanding of where a child needs assistance and can develop strategies to help them reach their full potential.

The Results of a Psychological Assessment

When the testing is complete, the child psychologist will go over the results with the child’s parents. Keep in mind that the outcomes do not reveal everything about a child’s potential, abilities or skills. Rather, the evaluation is used as a way to learn about their “present functioning level” emotionally, in their school and home environments, how they learn, and their strengths and weaknesses. The child psychologist will discuss areas in which the child does well and offer suggestions to help them improve in areas that need to be addressed. If the child is diagnosed with a learning disability, or a behavioral or emotional issue, recommendations will be made for ways to help the child manage that specific concern or problem. By evaluating and understanding where the child has issues, child psychologists can provide positive coping strategies, reduce the child’s stress and enrich their competence and well being.

Learn More about Children’s Psychological Assessment

For more information about how our child psychologists can help your child with a psychological assessment, contact The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida or call us today at 561-496-1094.

Dr. Andrew Rosen PHD, ABPP, FAACP is a Board-Certified Psychologist and the Founder and Director of The Center for Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders, as well as, the Founder of The Children’s Center for Psychiatry Psychology and Related Services.

17 Responses

  1. I like how you mentioned that the results of getting your child psychologically assessed does not reveal everything about the child and their potential. When I was in high school, I had a friend who’s grades kept dropping. Her parents took her to a psychologist and she was diagnosed with anxiety. Because she went, she was able to get the help she needed and improve her grades. I definitely think that psychological assessments are very beneficial for children that have a hard time speaking with their parents.

  2. I find it interesting that you shared that a child will be evaluated for his mental health by answering standardized tests that show their skills in reading, writing, and math. Reading about this gave me an idea of how my sister can help her child overcome her sadness after losing her dog in a car accident yesterday. We will send her to an outpatient psychiatric care center to have her checked this weekend.

  3. It would be nice to have my son be observed during evaluation. It is possible he might need psychiatric care. Maybe I should take him to a psychologist sometime soon.

  4. Thank you for mentioning that it can take a while to complete the assessment. My friend was telling me that she’s thinking about her son having a psychological assessment, but she doesn’t know how long it will take. I think that knowing this will really help her to plan accordingly.

  5. I like how you point out that a psychological assessment is a way to learn about the child’s present functioning level emotionally and how they learn, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, it would be important to know these things, because then you can decide if further psychological help would benefit your child and help them to succeed. I’ll have to look further into psychological assessments that are available.

  6. It’s cool that psychological assessments can help discover where a child excels and which areas should be addressed. My brother recently had a child and are looking for the best care options available. I will have to pass this along as a potential option that he can consider.

  7. My sister is having a hard time assessing her daughter’s behavior that’s why she does not know what kind of approach she must do. That’s why she’s considering to bring he child to a child psychiatrist who can perform Psychological assessments to her. sparingly, this assessment is thoroughly done that the psychologist will pay a visit to my sis’ home and my niece’s school to observe the latter’s interactions.

  8. It’s great how a child’s psychologist will test them and then work with both the child’s parents and teachers to make a plan so that they can progress. This is wonderful because it shows that it’s not only the child and their family that are involved but the psychologist and teachers too. With so many adults actively helping the child through therapy, I think they are bound to progress.

  9. Thanks for helping me understand how a psychological assessment can help a kid. My aunt’s child has been telling me a lot of concerning things regarding her views on life and how she thinks she’s just a problem. I believe this is already a giveaway that she has anxiety and I should go and help her in any way I can. I like how this article mentioned that only mental health professionals can examine and evaluate a child, which assures my aunt once they make the trip towards a psychiatrist.

  10. It’s valuable that you point out that it’s a good idea for your child to have a psychological assessment if they are falling behind in school. My daughter has been having a hard time keeping up with the rest of her class, so I’m thinking about taking her to a child psychologist to be tested for learning disabilities. I’m going to search for a reputable child psychologist in our area that we can use.

  11. I like how this article properly explained that a child’s psychological assessment could help figure out if they’re feeling depression or anxiety. I learned about this term after watching a movie last weekend. I’ll go ahead and save this article for future use.

  12. Thank you for sharing your great insight and educating the public about what child psychologist do. Parents are often asking me what is the different between a child psychologist and a child psychiatrist. I am going to be pointing them to this article because you do a fantastic job of explaining the job of a child psychologist. I really like how you explained the process of what psychologist do

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