developmental and scholastic assessments
So your child’s teacher has recommended your child see a therapist or be formally assessed which can be either a developmental or cognitive (scholastic) assessment. As a parent, this might feel a little scary and overwhelming so here is a short explanation as to what these all entail.
“Developmental assessment is a process designed to deepen understanding of a child's competencies and resources, and of the caregiving and learning environments most likely to help a child make fullest use of his or her developmental potential” (Greenspan & Meisels, 1996, p. 11).
A developmental assessment is a structured evaluation of a child's total development — gross and fine motor skills, language ability, intellectual ability, and social and emotional functioning.
You can expect that you will answer a host of detailed questions regarding your child’s growth and development together with their interactions with the family and the rest of the world. Following this, your child will undergo a standardised test (in this case the Griffiths Mental Development Scales – Extended Revised, aka the Griffie) which involves a lot of play and fun.
The Griffie Scales measure development trends which are significant for intelligence and mental growth in babies and young children (from birth to the developmental age of 8 years). Your child will be presented with certain tasks in order to establish strengths and weaknesses. Following this, a report regarding your child’s development together with recommendations will be made available to you.
A cognitive assessment is a formal assessment of your child’s intelligence and abilities in areas such as language (verbal) skills, memory and speed of processing information, and non-verbal skills. The assessment involves a number of different tasks such as puzzles, answering questions, and remembering certain things.
A child may be referred because of concerns regarding school/academic performance, or to investigate the possibility of the presence of a learning disorder.
Following a detailed intake interview with a child’s parents, the professional will conduct standardised tests. After this has taken place, a report will be made available, together with any necessary recommendations.