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Does My Child Need a Learning or ADHD Assessment?

Holly Nelson, Clinical Neuropsychologist

It can be difficult to know if your child would benefit from an assessment and when is the right time for this. This brief guide offers helpful information to support you in this process.   

What does an assessment involve? 

A comprehensive psychological assessment process can assess for, and diagnose, Specific Learning Disorders (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia), ADHD, intellectual giftedness, and intellectual disability. Our assessing psychologists are skilled at identifying your child’s unique profile of academic and cognitive strengths and challenges. This information is used to inform individualised recommendations for your child’s learning and development. Our psychologists also consider the emotional, mental health, and self-esteem factors that may be affecting your child and provide guidance on how to support this. 


Signs a formal assessment might help:

  • Do you (or your child’s teacher) have concerns about their academic progress at school?

  • Do they appear anxious or overwhelmed with tests and assessments?

  • Has your child said that they feel “dumb” or “stupid” compared to their peers?

  • Do they struggle with reading, writing, spelling, or mathematics despite having received additional support?

  • Are they good at talking but struggle to put their thoughts down on paper?

  • Does your child have difficulty with processing or comprehending what they read?

  • Do they show a lack of interest in, or avoidance of, certain academic tasks?

  • Does your child have difficulty taking in or following instructions?

  • Do daily tasks like getting ready for school, completing homework, or doing chores require a lot of effort and parent support?

  • Does your child complain about being bored at school?

  • Do you feel that your child is not performing to their potential at school?

  • Can they get absorbed in activities that are of interest, but really struggle to focus on other tasks?

  • Does your child experience emotional regulation difficulties at home or school?

  • Do teachers get a completely different child at school compared how your child is in home environment?

  • Have you noticed a distinct difference in their mood and behaviour in the school holidays compared to during school term?

  • Is there a history of learning or attentional difficulties in the family?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, an ADHD and learning assessment could be helpful for your child.

What difference can a formal diagnosis make? 

Having a formal diagnosis can make the world of difference, particularly when it comes to receiving supports at schooland in tertiary education settings. Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, education settings are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations to support a child with a formal diagnosis such as ADHD or Dyslexia. This means that once a child has received a diagnosis, they can receive adjustments to support their performance in the classroom as well with assessments such as NAPLAN, OLNA, and ATAR examinations.

A diagnosis can also be critical in supporting your child’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Unfortunately, most children are aware (even from a young age) if they are having difficulties at school or if they might be ‘different’ to their peers. Although some parents are hesitant to label their child, the reality is that children will come up with their own label if they aren’t given the correct information. Sadly, many children will believe their learning difficulties or differences mean that they are ‘dumb’, ‘weird’, or ‘just can’t do it’. Because of this, they can experience feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, or low mood.

Research indicates that receiving a diagnosis helps children to understand their differences and promotes self-understanding, acceptance, and a feeling of control over their life.

A formal diagnosis helps children to learn that their challenges are not due to low intelligence or lack of effort. The research also indicates that children who have a greater understanding of their strengths and difficulties are better able to problem-solve when faced with challenges and are more likely to seek help when needed.

How can I find out more?

If you'd like to know more about our assessments for children, you can get in touch with our reception team via our Contact Us form or call us on 9456 0411.


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