We often meet parents asking us with a bewildered heart, “They have asked me to get him assessed. Is something wrong with him? Is my child crazy? ”. Honestly, Psychological Assessments may sound intimidating, but in truth is the best way designed to help you. So what is a psychological assessment?
Who does it? How is it done? Will they use needles, will they medicate? Parents typically have many such questions. Let us understand this mystery that is psychological assessment!
What is a Psychological Assessment?
First and foremost, a psychological assessment is NOT a medical test. You do not require blood or urine samples, X-Rays or any medical paraphernalia. Most of the psychological tests are ‘paper-and-pencil’ tests. In simple words, your child may be asked to answer a set of questions, solve a few puzzles, work with some blocks – games and so forth. This is done to assess a child’s personality, intellectual functioning, emotional adjustment and other such psychological variables. Tests are also used to help diagnose the presence of developmental disorders such as ADHD, autism and so forth.
Essentially, the tests help your counsellor, therapist or psychiatrist diagnose the exact nature and severity of the issues the child is facing. Just like a blood test helps a medical doctor arrive at a diagnosis, similarly, a psychological test helps a psychologist formulate a diagnosis. When certain behavioural, learning, or emotional difficulties are seen in children; an assessment helps determine a specific concern and formulate a counseling intervention. In other cases, an assessment can help analyse, develop, or train behavioural or emotional traits for professional or personal. In order to arrive at either of the above mentioned goals, a standardized psychological test needs to be conducted only by a professional psychologist.
Depending on the issues, or the presenting complaints, the psychologist will determine what tests are required. Most widely used tests and the variable measured are given below:These are employed to get insights into the child’s emotional makeup. Some of the most popularly used tests with children include the House Tree Person test, Kinetic Family Drawings, Children’s Apperception Test.
Thus, psychological assessment provides invaluable information to the psychologist in understanding the issues your child may be grappling with. While the test results are not always diagnostic in themselves, they help pinpoint areas of strength and weakness, which can then be incorporated into the therapy and treatment plan .