Psychological Assessments

What are Psychological Assessments?

At ORS, we are passionate about supporting people to improve their quality of life and overall well-being by providing them with exceptional psychological care. Our psychological assessments aim to support individuals to work towards their personal goals and gain greater insight into their lives through psychological intervention and clinical guidance.
Our experienced Psychologists and Counsellors are able to provide extensive therapy supports due to their broad qualifications (including many with PhDs, Doctorates and Masters Qualifications), wide-ranging experience, and our internal professional development program. ORS employs AHPRA registered Psychologists, Neuropsychologists, Educational and Developmental Psychologists, and Clinical Psychologists; who are trained in delivering therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy, and more. For more specific information about our Psychologists’ individual experience and areas of expertise, you can view Our Expertise.

We are able to support individuals of all ages who present with a broad spectrum of psychological difficulties including anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, grief and trauma, sexuality and gender, familial difficulties, personality disorders, psychosis, and more. Our services can be provided in a range of settings as required and suitable including at home, school, work, disability, forensic and hospital settings, as per individual support needs. For anyone seeking diagnostic and neuropsychological assessments, please see our list of the services below.

Assessments Available

Mental Health Assessment

A mental health assessment assess an individual’s overall current psychological functioning to determine the presence of any underlying or existing mental health disorders, and the impact of current symptomatology on their overall functioning. This may include mood disorders (e.g., Major Depressive Disorder), anxiety disorders (e.g., Generalised Anxiety Disorder), psychotic disorders (e.g., Schizophrenia) or personality disorders (e.g., Borderline Personality Disorder).

A mental health assessment is recommended for individuals who may be experienced increased mental health concerns that are impacting their daily living, home and external environments, and overall functioning. A mental health assessment assists to better understand an individual’s current presentation to make recommendations to address their support needs, such as recommendations for treatment planning, interventions and services.

A mental health assessment includes:

  • Clinical interview with the individual, and any relevant informants;
  • Psychometric assessments and/or screeners relevant to the presenting concerns;
  • Review of collateral documentation;
  • Observations

Following the assessment, a detailed report will be provided outlining the individual’s presenting concerns, areas for support and tailored recommendations to inform future servicing and treatment to help manage the symptomatology. Where relevant, a diagnosis may be made.

School Readiness and Educational Assessments

School readiness assessments assist in comparing a child’s intellectual, academic and social abilities to same-aged peers to determine whether they are ready to commence school. Where a child’s abilities are significantly delayed, recommendations may be made to postpone schooling to ensure they can receive appropriate intervention before starting.

For educational assessments, the child may have already commenced school; however, their teacher or parent may observe and identify delays in academic abilities. An educational assessment cross-compares the child’s intellectual and academic abilities to determine any underlying contributors to the child’s delays, and recommendations are provided to assist in improving their school progress. If appropriate, a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder (e.g. Dyslexia/Dyscalculia) may be made.

A school readiness assessment incorporates IQ testing (See: IQ Assessments), as well as testing of academic abilities. Academic testing involves an assessment of listening comprehension, early reading skills, mathematics, oral expression and alphabet fluency, where the child’s results are compared to peers of the same age. Adaptive, behavioural and emotional functioning measures, combined with play-based observations, are also completed to provide further information regarding the child’s overall socioemotional functioning. An educational assessment entails the same spectrum of testing, though there may be more academic testing completed, depending on the child’s age and year level.

School readiness and educational assessments may include:

  • Play-based observations;
  • Assessment of intellectual functioning (e.g., WPPSI/WISC/WAIS/WASI/TONI);
  • Assessment of academic functioning (e.g. WRAT/WIAT);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a detailed individualised report will be provided outlining educational strengths and areas for development based on peer aged assessments, and recommendations for strategies to enhance academic progress. Where appropriate, a formal diagnosis will be outlined to allow additional academic support, as required.

ADHD Assessments

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests as “a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development”. It can impact one’s ability to maintain attention and concentration, plan and organise, follow instructions and complete tasks, manage impulses and regulate emotions. ADHD can cause difficulties with completing schoolwork, socialising, managing daily tasks and maintaining employment for both children and adults, affecting functioning in the home, school and work settings.

ADHD assessments incorporate testing and measures of cognition, such as attention and executive functioning, to determine whether the child or adult meets the criteria for this diagnosis. In addition to cognitive testing, gold-standard ADHD questionnaires measuring attention and concentration, executive functioning, learning problems, social relationships and behaviours are completed by the individual and other people in the person’s life (e.g., parents, teacher, partner) to determine consistency in difficulties across settings. Occasionally, further testing may be required, depending on the result of the consultation.

ADHD assessments may include:

  • Observations across settings (e.g., for children – school and home);
  • Assessment of intellectual functioning (e.g., WPPSI/WISC/WAIS/WASI/TONI);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Standardised ADHD screening measures (e.g. Conners-3, BRIEF-2);
  • Review of school reports;
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

 

Following the assessment, a detailed report will be provided outlining a diagnosis if appropriate. The report will also showcase the individualised strengths, functional impacts across key areas, including; school, work and relationships, and tailored strategies to enhance daily functioning.

Autism Assessments

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by social and communication difficulties, and restricted and repetitive behaviours. Autistic individuals may experience delays in achieving developmental milestones and can exhibit challenges initiating and maintaining friendships, understanding social cues, receiving and expressing adequate verbal language, and navigating social settings. They additionally may exhibit repetitive behaviour, such as completing rituals, or restricted interests, such as fixating on specific topics or toys.

Autism assessments may entail an observation-based assessment with the child or adult that aims to identify the presence of any social and communication difficulties, restricted interests and/or repetitive behaviours. This might involve hands-on and demonstration tasks or interview-style questions, depending on the person’s language and capacity. The assessed person’s parents and/or carers may also participate in a diagnostic interview, which involves questions about the person’s developmental history, language and communication functioning, social development and play, interests and behaviours. Collectively, the information from both assessments, and measures of adaptive, psychological and behavioural functioning, assists in determining whether the person meets the criteria for Autism and, if so, how much the difficulties impact their functioning and quality of life.

Autism assessments can assist with applications (e.g. NDIS) if a diagnosis is provided, or with determining the level of support required for autistic individuals with an existing diagnosis.

Autism assessments may include:

  • Observational assessment (e.g., ADOS-2);
  • Diagnostic interview with parents/carers (e.g., ADI-R);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a detailed report will be provided outlining a diagnosis if appropriate. The report will also showcase the individualised strengths, functional impacts across key areas, including; school, work and relationships, and tailored strategies to enhance daily functioning.

Memory Assessments

A memory assessment can be used for several different reasons, including to review and monitor any decline in memory or to help to determine aspects of a person’s memory that might be performing better than other areas. This information can be used to assist in understanding memory, decision-making skills, and a person’s support needs, or help when looking at illness progression, such as with Dementia, or issues with learning and retaining information.

Memory assessments incorporate other elements of cognitive testing, as well as testing to assess several different types of memory, including verbal, auditory, visual, short-term and working memory. Additional measures assessing daily living skills and psychological functioning may also be included.

Memory assessments may include:

  • Assessment of intellectual functioning (e.g., WAIS/WASI);
  • Assessment of memory (e.g., WMS);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a detailed report will be provided outlining any identified memory concerns, associated diagnosis if relevant, and recommendations for the person’s support needs.

Decision-Making Capacity Assessments

An adult with capacity has the right to make legal decisions about their life, such as their accommodation, medical treatment, finances and services. Decision-making capacity assessments assist in determining a person’s ability to participate in decision-making regarding these functions, with or without support. Many individuals can exhibit intellectual impairments or psychiatric conditions that may impact their ability to make safe and appropriate decisions if support is not provided. In some cases, where decision-making capacity is minimal, a Public or Private Guardian may be required to ensure oversight of significant decisions, such as where someone lives or their medical treatment. The main objective in determining a person’s decision-making ability is to help improve their quality of life and safety.

A capacity assessment involves cognitive testing and a semi-structured interview that aims to evaluate the person’s ability to recognise and evaluate risks and consequences of making specific decisions regarding their care. Measures of adaptive and psychological functioning are also completed to determine the person’s ability to manage their day-to-day tasks or the presence of extenuating psychological difficulties that may impair judgment. For certain cases, further testing on executive functioning and memory may be required.

Capacity assessments may include:

  • Assessment of intellectual functioning (e.g., WAIS/WASI);
  • Semi-structured interview (e.g., ACE/CACE);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a report outlining diagnostic findings will be provided in relation to the person’s capacity to make independent decisions across accommodation, medical treatment, finances and services areas. Should support be needed in decision-making, tailored recommendations will be provided.

Risk Assessments

A risk assessment assists in evaluating a person’s historical and current risk factors that may influence the risk of harm to themselves or others while in forensic or community settings. Assessing for risk may support individuals transitioning from incarceration or an inpatient setting into the community or can assist with oversight of their care once in the community.

A risk assessment typically entails a risk assessment tool that examines static (e.g. historical) and dynamic (e.g. current) factors that may influence the likelihood an individual will re-offend, and which helps to inform interventions and treatment to prevent relapse and reduce risk. Additional measures of psychological functioning and observations may also be required to further understand the presenting dynamic factors.

A risk assessment may include:

  • Observations;
  • Risk assessment tool (e.g. HCR-20/SVR-20/ARIMIDILO-S);
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a detailed report outlining all identified risks will be provided, including the severity of the risk based on historical and current factors. Recommendations to reduce the identified risk/s will be provided.

Vocational Assessments

Vocational assessments assist in identifying an individual’s aspirations and suitable options for employment, relevant to their capacity, skills and experience. Such assessments are beneficial for individuals who cannot return to their previous place of employment, who have never worked before or who have a disability, or whose employment circumstances have changed, such as due to a physical or psychological injury.

A vocational assessment involves identifying an individual’s existing transferrable skills they have acquired through lived experience or previous employment, and their current interests relevant to employment opportunities. The individual is then supported to identify specific career matches relevant to this information, and is provided with specific details regarding eligibility, salary and job duties to determine suitability. This information can be provided to employment providers or job seekers to assist with obtaining employment suited to the individual’s needs and interests.

Vocational assessments may include:

  • Resume review (if relevant);
  • Vocational assessment tool (e.g., SDS)
  • Assessment of adaptive functioning (e.g., ABAS/Vineland);
  • Assessment/s of psychological functioning.

Following the assessment, a report outlining individualised vocational options based on transferable skills, interests and labour market analysis will be provided.  Recommendations will be provided to support the individual in obtaining employment in the areas of their choice.

Neuropsychological Assessments

Neuropsychological assessments may encompass a range of the abovementioned tools and processes to give a broad overview of an individual’s cognitive functioning, rather than focusing on a specific area. Such assessments are beneficial for individuals who may be experiencing broader cognitive difficulties and/or deterioration where the origin of the difficulties is unclear, or where the individual’s support needs are unknown or not yet sufficiently identified. A neuropsychological assessment may cover several areas of cognitive functioning, including intellectual, academic, memory, executive, visuospatial and psychosocial, through administering a broader neuropsychological battery. The selection of tests will be identified based on the individual’s expression of difficulties and the reason for referral, which will be discussed in the initial consultation. A neuropsychological assessment can assist with NDIS applications or other services, identify individual support needs, provide a formal diagnosis or provide a baseline of an individual’s cognitive functioning. Neuropsychological assessments may include:

  • Clinical interview with the individual and informants;
  • Observations;
  • Review of collateral reports;
  • A broader neuropsychological battery focusing on key areas;
  • Psychometrics.

Following the assessment, a detailed report will be provided outlining any identified cognitive strengths and weaknesses, associated diagnoses if relevant, and recommendations for the person’s support needs.

Whats included in the Assessment?

Typically, most assessments will require 3 to 4 hours to complete; however, this can vary depending on the referral need. The assessment process will entail the following:

  • An initial clinical interview will firstly be conducted the participant and their supports to understand their history, presenting difficulties and mental state. Involving supports in the interview process assists to gain a further understanding of their current circumstances.
Initial Clinical Interview
  • A neuropsychological assessment battery will then be conducted that incorporates a series of testing and questionnaires. The number and duration of tests will be dependent on the referral reason and aims to evaluate and better understand the underlying causes of the noted difficulties. It can involve standardised pen/paper, tangible and/or computer tasks that evaluate cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, intellectual and adaptive functioning, and general problem-solving skills. Some assessments may also involve a general observational component to evaluate the participant’s psychological and behavioural presentation, and social and communication skills.
Psychological Assessments
  • A detailed report that outlines the results, strategies and treatment recommendations for ongoing support will be provided within 2-weeks of the assessment sessions being completed.
Detailed Report
  • Finally, a feedback session will be conducted with the participant and their supports, if required, to review the report, explain the results and to offer treatment recommendations involving strategies and services to help address the difficulties and improve overall quality of life.
Feedback Session

How are these Assessments Funded?

Psychology and therapeutic support services can be funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), by Employment and Disability Services Providers, My Aged Care, WAPHA and privately. For EAP customers, access to the EAP Portal is free for staff and management.

Registered NDIS Provider
My Aged Care
Sarah Stewart, ORS, Villawood, NSW, Positive Behaviour Support

Following assessments, ORS are able to assist with treatment planning, clarifying prognosis and providing assistance with supporting school education and learning, mental health, workplace rehabilitation and forensic cases. ORS are also able to assist applications for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), should this be applicable with the assessment outcome.

Sarah Stewart
National Psychological Services Manager – Clinical & Forensic Services

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