psychologist; psychology; psychiatrist; behaviour; learning problems; assessment; test;
Kids are different in lots of ways.
- Some kids are tall, some are short.
- Some kids have brown eyes, some have blue eyes – and some have green or gray eyes!
- All kids are different in the way they look.
Kids are different in the way that they can do and learn things too.
Sometimes a kid may have a psychological (say 'sy-col-oj–ik-al') assessment (say 'ass-ess-ment'). This can help find out more about the things you can do well and the things that are hard for you. Then your parents or caregivers and teachers can work out ways to help you at school and at home.
Who does the assessment?
- A psychologist (say 'sy-col-oh-jist') is a person who has learnt about how people think, feel and act. They can help people understand more about thinking and behaviour through talking with them and sometimes doing testing (psychological assessment).
- A psychiatrist (say 'sy-ky-a-trist') is different to a psychologist – psychiatrists also help people with their thinking, feelings and behaviour, but they trained first as doctors, and they can prescribe medicines. They don't do psychological assessments.
- A psychologist will meet with you and with other people who know you well (like your parents/carers and teachers).
- The psychologist will ask you lots of questions and ask you to do some special tasks.
- Sometimes the psychologist may use a watch to find out how long it takes you to do the task.
- Some of the tasks are like things you do at school – some are different.
- Some things are easy and some are really hard. No-one gets all the questions right.
- The psychologist wants to know what YOU think. He or she can't give you any help with answers. The psychologist is not even allowed to tell you if your answers are right or wrong!
- It is OK to ask for a break if you need to go to the toilet or have something to eat or drink.
- It is important that you just try your best.
What happens next?
- The psychologist will usually write a report. It can take a while for this report to be finished.
- The psychologist will usually talk to you and your family about the report and may send it to your school.
- The report is about the things you do well and the things you need some help with – and some ideas about things that might help you at school and at home.
What kids say
- 'At first I felt a bit scared when I knew I was going to have a psychological assessment – but it wasn't scary at all – it was fun.' Bianca
- 'I had a psychological assessment because I was having trouble learning at school. Now my mum and my teacher have got some new ideas about how to help me and things are working out pretty well.' Mayur
- 'I wish someone had told me that there was nothing to be worried about – the psychologist was really friendly.' Daphne
- 'I thought I was in trouble when dad said I was going to have a psychological assessment – but I wasn't. It was just a way to help me. The psychologist helped me feel relaxed.' Matt
- 'The psychologist asked me lots of questions. Even though I didn't know all the answers, I just tried my best and it was OK.' Tran
Dr Kate says
When kids have problems learning or doing things it can be worrying for kids and adults.
Having a psychological assessment can be a really good way to work out what help you might need and what you can do to help yourself.
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.