Why should you get your child tested? What will it involve? How do I go about it?

“Parents are frequently advised to have their child assessed by an Educational Psychologist especially where there has been a severe and persistent difficulty in acquiring literacy which has resisted usual teaching methods. ”

Why an Educational Psychologist ?

An Educational Psychologist is a psychologist who uses psychological theory and approaches within an educational context. As well as studying Psychology to Master degree level an Educational Psychologist will also be a trained and experienced teacher.

An Educational Psychologist will be able to explore the reasons why your child is finding literacy difficult to acquire through an in-depth assessment and will be able to suggest methods to overcome such difficulties.

What will the assessment involve?

The purpose of the assessment is to generate an understanding of what is happening, why acquiring literacy is so difficult for your child and what can be done to make a difference.

It will involve cognitive assessment together with information gathered from parents, teacher and your child.

Information gathered from these sources is vital in validating the information gathered from cognitive assessment.

What is Cognitive Assessment ?

Cognitive assessment involves a range of tests which look at abilities such as thinking, understanding, remembering, and solving puzzles as well as spoken arithmetic and basic general knowledge. The results are compared with scores obtained nationally by children of the same age.

Two forms of assessment commonly used by Educational Psychologists are the British Ability Scales ( BAS II) and the Wechsler Intellegence Scale for Children


Often Educational Psychologists will administer additional assessment involving phonological awareness and visual-perceptual skills.

The cognitive assessment will provide data describing your child’s own particular pattern of strengths and weaknesses and together with observations from other sources e.g. parents, school will enable the Educational Psychologist to suggest ways forward in supporting your child


What else will the Educational Psychologist Do ?

An Educational Psychologist will be interested in the particular learning style your child favours.  They will also want to know how successful your child feels as a learner and how this affects their overall motivation to learn.

The psychologist may use and suggest solution -focused  therapy to promote successful learning and raise self-esteem.

How can my child be referred to an Educational Psychologist

In general, for pupils in the state sector the child’s school will refer a pupil to an LEA Educational Psychologist through the Code of Practice Procedures following consultation with a pupil’s parents.

For children in the independent sector the head of the school will be able to suggest the names of one or two private chartered educational psychologists practising in the area.

Alternatively parents may contact private Educational Psychologists using the handbook of Chartered Educational Psychologists produced by the British Psychological Society.  This is often available within local libraries.

Thank you Siobhan Aubin, trained LEA Psychologist and specialist in Dyslexia and Children with special learning difficulties