General Overview of Assessment Services
Many people think that undergoing a psychological assessment is an intimidating or stressful process. At Waterloo Psychology Group (WPG), we go the extra mile to ensure that our clients and their families feel heard and supported. Our assessment team is highly trained and will take time to explain the assessment process, results, and recommendations. We offer assessments for children, adolescents, and adults who are experiencing a variety of issues, which are briefly described below; however, we encourage you to reach out to us if you are interested in our assessment services or have questions about the process.
At WPG, we offer comprehensive assessments in the areas of:
• Psychological (Diagnostic) Assessment
• Psychoeducational and Developmental Assessment
• Neuropsychological Assessment
• Medical-Legal Assessment
• Insurance Assessment
Psychological (Diagnostic) Assessment
Psychological assessments are completed for a variety of reasons, but the goal is to examine a person’s presenting physical, emotional, and behavioural symptoms in order to identify and, if warranted, diagnose a psychological disorder. Diagnosing a psychological disorder (e.g., mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma-related disorders, etc.) is a controlled act in Ontario, restricted to Psychologists, Psychological Associates, and Physicians.
During a psychological assessment, your psychologist will examine your mental health functioning in a clinical interview and may also ask you to complete some self-report questionnaires. The duration of the interview can vary in length, but a typical psychological assessment will last 1 to 2 hours and may be split into more than one session if necessary. On occasion, and with your permission, your psychologist may wish to include a family member or friend in the process to provide additional information from another person’s perspective.
When your assessment is complete, your psychologist will complete a comprehensive report that contains information about your background, presenting problems, diagnoses, prognosis for recovery and recommendations for treatment. This information will then be shared with you in a follow up “feedback” session that will include ample time to address any questions that you may have.
A psychoeducational assessment may include a comprehensive evaluation of a person’s intellectual, developmental, social, and/or emotional development. Common goals of such assessments include identifying and diagnosing the following:
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
Our assessments are completed according to the region’s standards to ensure our diagnostic procedures, presentation of results, and language used in our recommendations are accepted by local school boards, colleges, and universities. These assessments are instrumental in ensuring that you or your child receive appropriate classroom and/or academic accommodations to allow them to thrive in their learning environment. If you suspect that you or your child may be failing to meet their learning potential, our assessment team can assist with developing a treatment and education plan.
We know that each person develops and learns differently. Our goal is to identify each client’s cognitive profile in order to maximize strengths and improve (or limit the impact of) any learning weaknesses.
A neuropsychological assessment is a non-invasive process that is used to assist with answering questions about how well a person’s brain is functioning. Through use of standardized tests that are highly sensitive to the effects of brain dysfunction, neuropsychologists answer questions about:
Integrity of cognitive functions:
Cognitive testing is used to determine the presence, nature, and severity of cognitive dysfunction.
A neuropsychologist interprets results from clinical interviews, collateral information, medical reports, cognitive testing, and psychological questionnaires in order to help evaluate neurological and psychiatric disorders. A neuropsychological assessment is unique in that it can detect and evaluate cerebral (brain) dysfunction in the absence of clear anatomical evidence (e.g., brain scans) of damage or alterations. The assessment also investigates psychological factors, such as mood or substance abuse, that may contribute to a person’s cognitive dysfunction.
A neuropsychological assessment includes an extensive report that outlines treatment recommendations for cognitive disorders, including:
A profile of strengths and weaknesses to help guide rehabilitation and other therapies.
An assessment of readiness to return to work or other important life activities.
An assessment of readiness to return to school or other training.
Common reasons people are seen for neuropsychological assessment include, but are not limited to:
Brain injury / concussion
Stroke or other neuro-vascular problems (e.g., TIA)
Medical / health conditions (e.g., diabetes neuropathy, epilepsy)
Substance or alcohol abuse
Medical-Legal Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessment
Medical-Legal Psychological and Neuropsychological Assessments are provided for use as evidence in litigation; for example, in relation to compensation for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident (MVA), work-related stress or injury, or other accidents that may have impacted a person’s well-being or functioning. The assessment process is comprised of an in-depth clinical interview, review of all medical documentation, as well as extensive psychological and/or cognitive testing. A comprehensive report is produced outlining diagnostic conclusions, level of psychological and/or cognitive disability, causality, future treatment recommendations and prognostic information.