Psychoeducational Assessments

Dr. Jim Roche
Registered Psychologist

Psychoeducational Assessments
Dr. Jim Roche is a Registered (BC) and Licensed (CA, WA, NY) Psychologist specializing in treating ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and severe mental health issues. He psychoeducational assessments,  mental health assessments and individual, couple and marriage therapy. You can find more information about his practice at the websites below:

ADHD | ADHD coaching | workplace coaching | Anxiety and Stress | Autism and Asperger’s Disorder | Individual Counselling | Child Therapy | Testing and Assessments and Learning Disabilities | Couples Counselling | Depression | The Angry Child | Anger Management | Pain Management and PTSD | Forensic Services | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder | Vancouver | Burnaby | Coquitlam | New Westminster | Maple Ridge | Port Moody | Child Psychologist | Psychologist | Learning Disability | Assessment | Testing | Psycho-educational Assessment | Neuropsychological Assessment | Psychoeducational Testing

CADDAC Recommends Psychoeducational Assessment | Testing for Children with ADHD

For information on Psychoeducational Assessment and Testing I provide in my Burnaby and Vancouver offices please visit my Psychoeducational Testing page at:
CADDAC Recommends Psychoeducational Assessment | Testing for Children with ADHD. Click here for the full information on the CADDAC website:
About Psychoeducational Testing
CADDAC, the Canadian association of medical professionals who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD. While primarily a medical association, many psychologists in the field of ADHD keep a close eye on what CADDAC recommends, and follow their guidelines. In my own practice I follow their guidelines in terms of comprehensive assessment, rather than brief screening, for ADHD.

One area there has been some controversy in lately has been the need for comprehensive assessment, especial neuropsychological assessment, with adults with ADHD. This issue needs to be kept separate from the issue of children with ADHD, and in several posts I have discussed the issue of Psychoeducational Assessment and ADHD. Nearly 50% of all children with ADHD have one or more co-morbid disorders, and when diagnosing ADHD we need to look carefully at possible depression, anxiety, mood disorders and specific learning disorders. We also need to understand how ADHD is effecting executive function in the child/adolescent. A good psychoeducational assessment does just this.  Here is what CADDAC says on the topic (their web page is found at the ink above):

"It is also recommended that a psychoeducational assessment be done by a psychologist to assess whether other learning disabilities may coexist with ADHD, or may be the actual cause of the symptoms rather than ADHD."

There is no controversy about psychoeducational assessments for children and adolescents. ANY comprehensive assessment includes a psychoeducational assessment. Medical doctors do not provide this service. It can only be provided either through the school district or a registered | licensed psychologist.

CADDAC continues: " A psychoeducational assessment should look at levels of executive functioning (see ADHD information for more information on executive functioning), assess the possibility of a central auditory processing (CAP) disorder, look for graphomotor (printing/writing) difficulty, and evaluate processing speed as well as productivity. It is very important that if there is even the slightest evidence that CAP disorder may be a problem, this should be assessed before the psychoeducational testing occurs. Testing for CAP disorder is done by a specially trained audiologist. Since many of the tests that take place during an educational assessment are auditory-based, they may wrongly indicate that the child or adult has a low IQ if they are used to test a child with CAP disorder. Different tests that are not auditory-based can be used to get a more accurate reading of the person's ability. 

Symptoms of CAP Disorder

  • Problems paying attention to and remembering information presented orally
  • Difficulty with following multiple directions
  • Poor listening skills
  • Slower processing of information
  • Lower academic performance than is expected
  • Difficulty with language, spelling and/or reading skills
  • Problems with frustration and behaviour"
If there is any suspicion of an CAP disorder, take your child to his/her medical doctor and have them assessed. Your medical doctor will then provide a referral if one is necessary. 

"Can a psychologist complete this testing for CAP disorder?" 
You should have your medical doctor request a hearing assessment, including a screening for CAP disorders. Some psychologist perform testing of auditory processing (the testing is called "The Test of Auditory Processing Skills" or TAPS, and other tools are available to psychologists to look at language and processing issues. Not all psychologists have or use these tests, so ask your psychologist if they perform such tests, or if you need a separate referral. IT's really best to start with your medical doctor. 

CADDAC got on to point out: "Unfortunately, psychoeducational testing, if done privately, is not covered by provincial health plans in most cases. Schools may do these tests if they feel that there is a significant problem, however waiting times can be lengthy and time restraints may compromise the thoroughness of the tests."

What does CADDAC mean by "compromises of thoroughness?"  Well, some schools use a limited battery of tests and tools, as they are only focused on issues that relate to classroom issues, and issues of "coding" or funding they may be able to obtain. Some issues that you or I would consider important would not be covered in their exam.  Also, some schools complete initial "screenings" and rule students out because they see no educational "discrepancies,even though a child may be failing academically or socially at school. Many of these compromises are the result of limited funding to our schools, and not choices school psychologists would make themselves. Finally, there is the issue of "diagnosis." A school psychologist is not qualified to diagnose ADHD, depression or anxiety. A REGISTERED PSYCHOLOGIST is. School psychologists are only registered or certified to work in the schools, and have restrictions on the scope of their practice registered psychologists do not. But- many school psychologists are also registered psychologists. So check, and ask if, after the assessment, the psychologist would be able to provide a diagnosis of a disorder if one is present.

CADDAC continues: "In some limited cases, hospital clinics may do these tests as well, however long waiting lists and time restraints will apply here as well. As with a physician, it is important to do some research on the psychologists that will be doing your child's testing. The psychologist must be currently accredited and officially registered to make diagnoses and they should be familiar with testing for learning disabilities and ADHD. They should be prepared to produce a detailed report outlining all areas of difficulty as well as areas of strength without clustering everything into an ADHD diagnosis. It will be important that difficulties with executive functioning, processing, written output, sequencing, active working memory as well as long and short term memory be well documented. These are all areas that children with ADHD routinely have problems with and at the present time, a report that outlines these difficulties clearly will make it possible for your child or adolescent to receive a special needs designation from the school board. This designation will at least give you a basis on which to to advocate for classroom accommodations. At this time, a private psychoeducationalassessment roughly costs between $1500 and $2500.
TIP:  Private health insurance will usually cover psychological fees to a maximum of $500 a year. The assessment can sometimes be split over two years if done at the end of one year and the beginning of the next."

For more information on what CADDAC recommends in terms of assessment and services for ADHD go to their web page. Some videos and other information is available for children, adolescents and adults with ADHD. They also provide a listing of ADHD coaches in British Columbia and across Canada.


Key words
ADHD | ADHD coaching | workplace coaching | Anxiety and Stress | Autism and Asperger's Disorder | Individual Counselling | Child Therapy | Testing and Assessments and Learning Disabilities | Couples Counselling | Depression | The Angry Child | Anger Management | Pain Management and PTSD | Forensic Services | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder | Vancouver | Burnaby | Coquitlam | New Westminster | Maple Ridge | Port Moody | Child Psychologist | Psychologist | Learning Disability | Assessment | Testing | Psycho-educational Assessment | Neuropsychological Assessment | Psychoeducational Testing 

How Much Does a Psychoeducational Assessment Cost?

How much should a Psychoeducational Assessment Cost?
Well, I hate to say this, but "it depends."

Not All Assessments are Alike
The exact nature of the Psychoeducational Assessment you need can be very different from case to case. This includes assessments because of in class behaviour such as aggression towards peers to a student who are struggling..and then the student who isn't doing work and seems bored and we suspect is really "gifted" and whose needs we are not meeting. And that's the issue we should be focusing on when it comes to psychoeducational assessments: what needs does any student have that need to be met for this student to be successful as they can be?

So any individual psychoeducational assessment may be very different. Let's first look at what usually is the same:

A common feature, if not a necessary feature, is a comparison of a students cognitive or intellectual abilities and their academic abilities. Usually this means administering a cognitive-intelligence test (this might be any of the following: The Cattell Culture Fair, Kohs block, Leiter International Performance Scale, Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, Raven's Progressive Matrices, Stanford-Binet IQ test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, the Wonderlic Test or the more recent and very popular Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scale or RIAS). In addition to the intelligence test a test of academic skills is also administered (This might include anything from the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test to the Wide Range Achievement Test-4 or a any of several others).

The most common combinations are one of the Wechsler Tests of intelligence and a Wechsler test of academic skills, or the Reynolds (RIAS) and Wide Range Achievement Test.  The next step is usually to compare these scores and see if there is any reason to suspect a specific learning disability. This is done several ways, but is most often referred to as a "discrepancy analysis." The basic question is: Does the student work at an academic level we would expect, based upon their intelligence.

After this most basic analysis a psychoeducational assessment can go in several directions. If there are behavioural issues it might include testing for personality issues, anxiety, depression, or ADHD. One problem is that school psychologists are neither psychologists or doctors (usually ...some school psychologists here in BC actually are Registered Psychologists) and should not be diagnosing mental health disorders. They look for educational problems, often perform "coding" which is the process of classifying students for different types of services based upon ministry guidelines, and make suggestions for classroom supports. But they usually do not diagnose something like ADHD. You need your family medical do cot or a Registered Psychologist to do that.

If your wondering if your child has autism you need to have a specially trained medical doctor or Registered Psychologist perform a specialized examination using several tools that most psychologists and family doctors do not have training in, and simply don't own.

So to start usually we take a look at cognitive/intellectual ability and compare that to academic ability. From that we determine if there might be a specific learning disability. After that step other tests are usually used to look at specific areas of concern. This might include tests of reading, specific math skills (Key Math is one commonly used test), tests of pragmatic language, visual perceptual skills, auditory processing, balance, gait, motor skills and so on. So the initial phase of the assessment is only the beginning.

Each psychoeducational exam is different, or should be. Often the psychoeducational exam is just a starting point, and to understand the issues a student may also need an assessment by an occupational therapist and/or a speech pathologist. A medical examination should also have been administered to rule out medical reasons for the issues of concern.

So, when a parent asks me how much a psychoeducational examination will cost, I have to ask questions to determine what kind of psychoeducational examination we will be doing. Many parents tell me they are told by other professionals that "a psychoeducational assessment will cost $2,600." A straight forward price. But in reality, until we meet and look at the situation, we aren't sure. Sometimes a psychoeducational assessment isn't even appropriate until a child is seen by his or her medical doctor, an occupational therapist and a speech pathologist, so that other causes of academic difficulty are mistaken and misunderstood. This is why I personally suggest an initial meeting to gather information, history and concerns.

The cost of a psychoeducational exam? Well, it can range from $1,200 -$2,600. It depends. It depends on the situation, the information we need, the amount of testing and how cooperative and able the child is. One price does not fit all, and one "psychoeducational assessment" does not fit all. After an initial meeting we usually know, and together can shape a plan to fit your needs.

Finally, remember, your school should provide a psychoeducational exam....for free. Yes, there are sometimes long waiting lists. And sometimes a school psychologist can't make a diagnosis of a disorder such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some parents also prefer to have an outsider look at their child and give an opinion. All of these are reasons for looking outside the school for an assessment. (Psychoeducational Assessments are not covered by MSP, but most Extended Health Care Plans do provide some or complete coverage for an assessment).

Talk to your family doctor, your school psychologist and give a Registered Psychologist a call. All would be more than willing to talk to you about this subject. (Registered Clinical Counsellors are not qualified to complete Psychoeducational Assessments. An independent Psychoeducational Assessment must be completed by a Registered Psychologist.)

In my offices in Burnaby (serving Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Maple Ridge) and Vancouver (serving Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Richmond) I provide comprehensive psychoeducational assessments. I also provide diagnostic assessments for ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder). Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about these services.

About Dr. Roche
My name is Dr. Jim Roche and I am a Registered Psychologist and a Registered Marriage and Family Therapist (RMFT) in British Columbia. In addition to my doctorate in clinical psychology, I hold a master's degree in family therapy, a certificate of advanced graduate studies (CAGS) in school and educational psychology from Norwich University, and have completed two years of post doctoral studies in neuro-psychology at The Fielding Institute in Santa Barbara, California. In addition to being a registered psychologist, I am a certified school psychologist, certified teacher of special education (New York and California), and a Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT). I also hold a doctoral degree in law with an emphasis in medical malpractice and education law. Beyond my academic credentials, I have completed two years of supervised clinical experience in both hospital and community based clinics and two years of post doctoral training in neuropsychology. I have served as director of behaviour programming for several school districts, as a consultant on autism for the province, and have held numerous academic positions including Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at New York University and Bellevue Hospital in New York as well as being a faculty member at NYU, Brooklyn College, SUNY New Paltz, and Norwich University.
Key words
ADHD | ADHD coaching | workplace coaching | Anxiety and Stress | Autism and Asperger's Disorder | Individual Counselling | Child Therapy | Testing and Assessments and Learning Disabilities | Couples Counselling | Depression | The Angry Child | Anger Management | Pain Management and PTSD | Forensic Services | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder | Vancouver | Burnaby | Coquitlam | New Westminster | Maple Ridge | Port Moody | Child Psychologist | Psychologist | Learning Disability | Assessment | Testing | Psycho-educational Assessment | Neuropsychological Assessment