Assessment of Intelligence
An IQ test measures a combination of cognitive abilities like memory, mathematical skills, logical reasoning, spatial perception, processing speed, language skills and much more. The intelligence quotient (IQ) signifies the intellectual ability and potential of the child. It can help us predict the capacity of the child to learn new things, deal with novel situations and with abstractions. This knowledge can tell us about the child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and predict how they are likely to function in an academic setting. This will help in tailoring the best learning method for the child. IQ tests can also help in diagnosing intellectual disabilities, thus seeing if any intervention is required.
Screening for Autism
Autism is a developmental disorder which affects the ability of the child to communicate and interact with people. It is estimated that one in every 59 children have autism. Most common symptoms would include avoiding eye contact, not showing interest in caregivers or other children and problems in communicating. The earlier children are screened, assessed and diagnosed, the sooner they can get the support and training they need to reach their full potential. ASD can be detected as early as at the age of 18 months. Children have better ability to adapt to new experiences due to faster neuroplasticity, which is why early interventions can help reduce the challenges they are likely to experience. Treatment and therapy is customised after a diagnosis to suit the child’s needs.
Depression and Anxiety
Many children/students have fears and worries and may also feel sad and hopeless from time to time. It is when this feeling becomes persistent and starts affecting their development that it becomes important to intervene. Anxiety and depression are two of the most leading obstacles that teens and young adults face today. This can negatively impact their self-esteem, their ability to learn in a classroom and also to enjoy their time in school. Some signs of these may include physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, or stomaches. Other signs may include having a hard time to pay attention in class, self-destructive behavior being sluggish or restless all the time. Therefore, it is important for schools to assess their students every now and then so that they are able to help the student manage the symptoms and lead a healthy life.
Anything done in excess can be a bad thing and this includes spending too much time on the internet or playing video games. When children take their video game hobby too far or become over dependent on the internet it can often lead to several issues including lower grades in school to more serious health issues. Just like alcohol withdrawal, behavioral addictions have withdrawal symptoms too. These include anger, restlessness, worry and irritability when they are unable to access the internet or engage in their videogame. These types of behavioral addictions are not formally recognised as addictive disorders and hence may be difficult to diagnose but could still cause serious consequences to an individual’s life. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to screen individuals for such behavioral addictions so that they are handled and can improve a child’s overall wellbeing.
Assessment of Aptitude
An aptitude test measures the child’s cognitive abilities and predict’s their potential to succeed in a certain kind of task. Aptitude tests are most popularly used for career guidance and for pre-employment screening. It can help the child find the right career for them based on their skills and interests. Aptitude tests cover several area of cognitive ability like language, reasoning, spatial aptitude etc. It would be recommended for highschool students to take an aptitude test before choosing a college major. Aptitude tests are designed to reveal your cognitive strengths and weaknesses. Making an informed decision assures career satisfaction and increase the chances of success. It is often used by schools to place gifted and talented children in different educational programs and understand the cognitive abilities of each student better.
Screening for ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a chronic condition that begins in childhood and might persist well into adulthood. ADHD is the most prevalent mental health problem in children with approximately 10 million children being diagnosed every year in India. It is important that the diagnosis is done as early as possible. If treatment, training and therapy is started early it can help the child in achieving their full potential both at school and at home. Signs of ADHD may include showing temper tantrums, having trouble waiting for their turn, interrupting, constant fidgeting, lack of focus, forgetfulness and not finishing their tasks. If the child regularly shows any of these symptoms and it is affecting their performance in school or their relationship with their friends then it is advisable to get an assessment done. ADHD can be managed better by spotting it early and devising an adequate treatment plan.
Assessment of Emotional Problems
Like adults, children also face difficulties that might affect their mood from time to time. But in some cases these emotions may persist over time inappropriately affecting the child’s physical, cognitive and social life. In extreme cases there might be attempts of self-injury or violent behaviours for which parents should seek treatment as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent further delays in their emotional development. Bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety disorders are the most common among these. Signs of emotional disorders might include disinterest, dramatic mood swings, irritable, etc. Children with emotional disturbances need treatment and services based on their individual needs. This will help them achieve their full potential while managing their symptoms and also lift their self-esteem.
Social skills are an integral part of functioning in a society and developing these skills in children can prepare them for healthier interactions throughout their lifetime. Being able to express personal needs, displaying good manners and etiquettes, communicating effectively with others and being considerate towards the feelings of others are all a few components of social skills that children need to develop as they mature. Lacking social skills can affect the child, emotionally, personally and academically. Therefore, it is extremely important to assess your child’s social skills to identify the skills that they lack and formulate the right methods to improve them.
Assessment of Learning Difficulty
Learning difficulties are a condition that affects the child’s ability to comprehend or use spoken or written language, mathematical abilities, or the ability to coordinate movements. About 10 percent of the population is affected by specific learning disorder. Some early signs may include poor memory, being disorganised, having more difficulty reading or writing than their peers, have trouble following directions or telling the time and poor performance in academics. This affects the child’s self-esteem and motivation levels. This assessment helps us identify a varied range of learning disabilities. Early diagnosis of LD is important for the child to reach their full potential. This can help improve their self esteem and self image. If left unmanaged it can affect their performance these disabilities tend to become more prominent. This might also frustrate children leading to other behavioural problems. With early intervention they can develop the skills they need to live a normal and successful life as adults.
All children act out from time to time, but some children might exhibit challenging behaviours that are not seen in other children of their age. These behaviours can be difficult to manage and may include aggressive behaviour, frequent temper tantrums, lying, violation of rules, fighting or bullying. If these behaviours disturb the child’s academic performance or social behaviour then it is advisable to get a behavioural assessment done. Oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder are two of the most common behavioral disorders. Signs of behavior disorders might become apparent by the age of 8 and more serious symptoms appear later. With early diagnosis, these disorders can be managed with adequate intervention. If left untreated, these children are likely to grow up to be dysfunctional adults which might lead to other mental health problems. This assessment helps us identify children that show signs of behavioural disorders. An expert is required for the assessment and diagnosis of these disorders to perform a comprehensive evaluation.
A neuropsychological evaluation is an in-depth assessment of a child’s skills and abilities that are linked to brain function. This evaluation measures areas such as attention, memory, language, problem solving, visuospatial skills and social-emotional functioning among various others. A neuropsychological evaluation is not something that will change who the child is, but instead give us a better understanding of the child’s strengths and weaknesses and also allows us to better understand why the child may be struggling in a few areas. The assessment provides us with a set of recommendations and interventions or treatments that may be appropriate and effective for the child’s development and address the child’s needs, at home and at school.
Adaptive behavior refers to behaviors that are required for daily functioning and are age-appropriate. This comprises of aspects like social competence, life skills or ability to do tasks independently. Some examples of these behaviors include ability to get dressed, manage money, cleaning, following rules or making friends. These assessments are mostly used in children with learning disabilities or other developmental problems. It is important to identify and address these issues to be able to manage them better. Children can be taught these skills using specially tailored interventions. If the child has difficulty performing some of these essential adaptive behaviours and seems to be lagging behind their peers then it advisable to investigate and assess the problem. These skills can help the child perform age appropriate tasks independently and live in a safe and socially responsible manner.