What happens the first time?

The first session involves a detailed assessment where you and your psychologist can meet and begin to develop a shared understanding of your reason for attending. This will involve an assessment interview as well as the completion of some questionnaires. When attending this session with your child, the psychologist will try to spend time with parents and children separately as well as together. The assessment will cover the reason for a psychological assessment, the developmental history of the child, the family history and functioning, and functioning of the child in other areas of their life such as social and educational settings. Where possible, a 90 minute assessment session is recommended in order to allow time to conduct a comprehensive assessment.


What is a therapy session?

Your psychologist will use evidence-based therapeutic interventions to help you obtain the goals you have determined through the assessment process. These interventions are likely to include a combination of working directly with children and also their parents, and sometimes the whole family. The role of the therapist is to listen, empathise, inform, guide and support children and their parents to make desired changes in their lives. Trying things out in everyday life between sessions is an important part of therapy and essential for good progress to occur. The number of sessions required varies. Some families need only a couple of sessions to help to set them on their desired path, others might attend for 12 or more.


What is a clinic interview?

The clinical interview involves asking the parent and child about the child's current functioning and taking a detailed account of their developmental, social and educational history. The parent (and teacher where relevant) will be asked to complete some questionnaires also.  


What is a psychometric Assessment?

Psychometric assessment is a specialised type of assessment of a person's intellectual, educational, and neuro-psychological functioning. This type of assessment can be very helpful when there are concerns that a child is not matching his or her peers in aspects of their development such as communication, social, emotional and behavioural functioning and academic achievement.

The tests that are currently available at this service are:

Weschler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence - 3rd Edition (WPPSI-III)

Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV)


Conner's Continuous Performance Test , Version II (CPT-II)

Vinelands Adaptive Behavior Scale, 2nd Edition (Vineland II)

Children are typically referred for the following:

Psycho-educational Assessments (IQ and Academic Achievement)

Developmental Assessments (e.g. for Autistic Spectrum, Developmental Delay)

Attention and Executive Functioning

Learning Disorders

Gifted and Talented


What happens in a psychometric assessment?

A psychometric assessment usually involves a clinical interview with the parents and child; formal testing over one or two days, a feedback session and a detailed written report. The aim of this type of assessment is to gain a good understanding of the child's current and potential functioning and so we always try to assess the child when they are at their best. Therefore, all testing occurs in the morning, when children are most alert and less likely to be over-tired. Depending on the type of assessment, it is common that testing occurs over two morning sessions or two hours each, within a maximum of two weeks of each other.

A formal assessment involves the child undertaking a range of activities such as replicating pictures with blocks, answering questions, pen and paper exercises and activities on a computer. The child is helped to feel at ease and to give their best effort during this process, while their parents wait for them in the waiting room (or the cafe next door!). The tests used are standardised tests which enable the child's performance to be compared with children their own age.


How do I prepare my child for these assessments?

It is important to be open with your child about the reason for the assessment and what will be involved. Some parents have found it useful to tell the child that they want to find out more about what the child is good at and areas where they might need more help. They will be doing a number of different things, like playing with blocks and answering questions, and that all they need to do is to try their best. It is beneficial if your child attends the sessions well-rested and not affected by any physical illness or emotional upheaval that might affect their performance. If they wear glasses or hearing aids these should be worn on the day and they should be provided with drinks and snacks as there will be short breaks when needed.  


What happens after the formal assessment?

Once all the testing has been completed, the psychologist will score the tests and then write a detailed report summarising and interpreting the results of the assessment, and making recommendations for intervention if required. The parents are then invited to a Feedback Session where the psychologist will go through the report in detail, explaining the results and the recommendations. A copy of the report is provided to the parents at this session.


 Is what I tell you confidential and kept secret?

Amanda is a registered psychologist who abides by the Psychologists Registration Board of New South Wales Code of Professional Conduct and The Australian Psychological Society's code of ethics. You have the right to confidentiality and privacy and to determining when and whether information about you will be released to any other party except in the following circumstances.

Psychologists are required by law to report any circumstances where they have been informed, or are concerned about, a risk of physical, sexual, or emotional harm to a child or young person, or where a child, young person or adult has disclosed an intention of harming themselves or of harming another person.

If you attend this service with a referral from a paediatrician or psychiatrist or a GP Better Access to Mental Health Care Plan, and claim part of the fee from Medicare, there are certain reporting requirements to the referrer which must be adhered to. This means the psychologist will provide a written report at each 6 session interval, outlining the assessment, the number of sessions attended and your progress in treatment. You can obtain more information about this from your psychologist.


 Is my information kept secure?

Written information (if in a paper form) is kept under lock and key with only those with a need to have access being able to do so.

Electronic information (that is, the information kept about you on our computers) is retained on computers which have BIOS passwords and complex log-in passwords and 128bit encryption. Information about you is kept on encrypted partitions or encrypted hard drives. This includes the back-up systems which are used to ensure information is not lost or accidentally destroyed.

All of this means that should the computers or back-up systems be stolen or misplaced, the information on them is not accessible to unauthorised parties.