do I know if my child needs play therapy?
child has undergone any traumatic events, such as divorce, crime related trauma
and death in the family, then play therapy is necessary. Sometimes, there is a
clinical condition that is noticeable, such as anxiety or depression. However,
at times there are no specific triggers or trauma or clinical conditions. Parents
get concerned when children are acting out of character for no discernible reason.
If parents are unsure as to what is causing a child distress a child psychologist
will initially conduct an emotional assessment to determine what the child is
going through on an emotional level. The assessment usually takes place over four
sessions and the observations which form a consistent theme for the child are
noted. It is necessary to get to the root cause of the child’s behavioural
difficulties so as to be able to assist the child. Often the child’s behavior
is a manifestation of underlying difficulties in their environment, such as issues
at school, with friends or at home.
After the emotional assessment,
a meeting between the child’s parents and the child psychologist takes place
whereby all the themes pertinent to the child are discussed. Thereafter, play
therapy, if deemed necessary, is conducted with regular parental feedback. Regular
contact between the child psychologist and parents is essential to help families
turn destructive behavior patterns into positive ones and to assist parents with
specific difficulties such as their child’s anxiety and so forth.
if your child demonstrates: regression, acting-out tendencies, low mood, soiling,
issues related with eating, excessive tantrums and challenging behaviour that
are not age appropriate, worries and fears, anger, school related difficulties
such as not making friends or getting bullied, withdrawal behavior etc. it will
be prudent to consult a child psychologist.
Assessments are a range
of tests that psychologists use to determine a child’s strengths and specific
difficulties and/or vulnerabilities that children may be experiencing. Assessments
usually offer the answers to behavior that does not make sense, such as avoiding
home-work, poor school grades, low motivation and so forth. Cristine
works with an Educational Psychologist at Bryanwood Therapy and Assessment
Centre to conduct the evaluations. Children from three years
of age can be assessed.
For young children, developmental assessments
are undertaken. Their developmental status is determined by measuring the
child against their specific age. Areas looked at are fine- and gross-motor
abilities, speech and language skills and so forth. It is often very important
to start relevant therapies as early as possible before children reach formal
schooling if difficulties are noted. Between the ages of three to five potential
difficulties start getting noticed by teachers and parents. During this age group
developmental assessments become especially relevant in diagnosing pervasive developmental
disorders and autism.
Psycho-educational assessments are conducted on
older children (6 years +). They may be necessary for school readiness purposes,
so as to enquire whether a child will be best suited for Grade 0 or Grade 1 placement.
School Readiness assessments at Bryanwood Therapy and Assessment Centre
are comprehensive as it includes an emotional component and takes place on a one
to one basis.
For children who are not coping at school or are not getting
adequate grades and don’t enjoy school a psycho-educational assessment is
essential. The first test that is conducted is an IQ test. These tests provide
valuable information for understanding how children learn and why they may not
be making progress at school. The IQ test consist of four components: A
Verbal Index which is a measure of spoken language ability. The Nonverbal Index
is a measure of visual-spatial ability whereby the score shows how the child performed
on puzzle- and pattern- based tests. The Processing Speed Index shows how the
child performed on two paper-and-pencil tasks that test how quickly children can
process and respond to visual information. The Working Memory Index shows how
a child did on tests remembering and repeating back strings of numbers and letters.
The information that the IQ scores give can be used to do the following:
- Give an accurate picture of what can be expected from the child
- Separate out types of learning difficulties
or rule out learning difficulties;
- Understand the impact
of patterns of ability on learning.
The second component
of a psycho-educational assessment is the scholastic testing. Tests of educational
functioning cover skills taught in the classroom. Here the tests determine at
what level a child is functioning with regards to Reading, Reading Comprehension,
Spelling, Writing and Mathematics. It is often important for the psychologist
to look at all these skills in order to evaluate the child’s pattern of
strengths and weaknesses.
The third component of a psycho-educational
assessment is the emotional component. A thorough assessment is garnered in terms
of a child’s emotional well-being. An emotional assessment is especially
important for children with difficulties at school as there is a correlation between
poor grades and emotional issues such as self-esteem issues, depression and so
Other assessments that are conducted at Bryanwood
Therapy and Assessment Centreare Vocational/Career Assessments,
Assessments for Extra-Time for Grade 11 and 12 learners and Subject-Choice.
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