Educational psychologist

(25 Posts)
Gunznroses Sun 25-Nov-12 20:39:00

Has anyone ever used one ? and did you get much out of it ? Please share your experiences.

chocoluvva Sun 25-Nov-12 21:13:06

DS was referred by his school as two teachers in a row were finding him very difficult when he was 7-9YO.
Ed psych was lovely and attempted to explain to his (awful) teacher and the senior management what she thought was happening. She referred him to the autism unit who diagnosed him with aspergers.
Now that he's in Y8 he's generally happy at school, but so much depends on which teacher he has.

jomidmum Sun 25-Nov-12 21:15:25

It was one of the best things we did to help DD educationally. We felt she was struggling so much in school and didn't know why. The ed psych identified her strengths and weaknesses and part of the report was a couple of pages of recommendations of how we could help her progress in different areas. It's helped us totally turn some areas around with her.
Hope they helps!

3b1g Sun 25-Nov-12 21:16:51

We had pretty much the opposite experience to chocoluvva. School were great, they brought EP in, who spent half a day interviewing and observing DS2, but had nothing helpful to offer or suggest. School continued to be supportive and suggested going to the GP and asking for a paeds referral, which led to a diagnosis of Asperger's (no thanks to the EP).

SundaeGirl Sun 25-Nov-12 21:17:04

I've just seen mine. It was great - detangles strengths and weaknesses and puts it into black and white. No quibbling from anyone after that.

Saracen Sun 25-Nov-12 21:56:48

Last year my home educated dd went to a neurodevelopmental psychologist. As he said, his job is basically the same as an ed psych except he's employed by the NHS.

It was somewhat useful. He identified patterns I hadn't noticed and helped quantify some of her difficulties, which made the picture clearer for me. For example, I had thought her verbal skills were lacking (they had been when she was younger) but she actually tested at the 40th percentile, well within the average range. On the other hand there were other areas in which I had thought she was only moderately delayed, but his testing and the questionnaires I filled in helped me to see that these would present major problems if she were in a different environment. I hadn't really thought about the extent to which her environment suits her and how much we accommodate her needs; when you are used to living with a child you don't always notice all the things you do for them.

On the other hand I think there were some things about dd which he simply didn't get, and I decided to disregard some of his recommendations because I didn't agree with them. I am glad I could have my own "take" on his assessment and did not have to rely on it to get access to services.

Gunznroses Mon 26-Nov-12 06:59:23

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Our situation is very similar to chocoluvva first teacher suggested adhd, then second is suggesting autism traits because dc having difficulty understanding some abstract things, so we're thinking of seeing an ED. Just wondered how useful it might be but from what everyone is saying it sounds like there's nothing to lose.

creamteas Mon 26-Nov-12 14:09:24

My DC were assessed by a private Ed Psych which was useful, although the school won't officially accept the report (although some points have made it into the IEP).

The Reports they do accept in full are from the LEA one, but appointments are like gold dust round here. My DD has been on the waiting list since year 7, but is unlikely to ever been seen now (Year 11). Pupils who are deemed to have 'behavioual' issues seem to have priority, and ones that struggle quietly are pushed to the bottom of the list sad

Copthallresident Mon 26-Nov-12 15:28:37

I think I would have got a lot out of it if I had seen an Ed Psych when I was at school. My brother was severely dyslexic, not reading at 9, and because my mother was a teacher, he did see an Ed Psych, was diagnosed and given specialist tutoring to at least get him to a basic level of reading and writing. His schools were of course entirely unsupportive and he left with a CSE in woodwork, but has since got a degree in Engineering on day release and now Heads up the Engineering department of a mid sized European company, something he clearly wouldn't have been able to achieve without that intervention.

I meanwhile struggled along, thankfully my school took a phonic approach to teaching reading, I scraped into Grammar School, with a pep talk that I was clearly bright but very careless (which was mystifying for me since I was so careless I didn't even remember sitting the exam), and it was a source of constant mystery to my teachers that I could have such good ideas and insight but do so badly in exams. It was put down to what one of my teachers described as "insouciance". I did get progressively better at exams as ideas became more important and rote learning less so and I had a successful career exploiting all those dyslexic strengths, seeing the big picture, creativity etc. BUT I wish I had known why I found it so hard to organise myself and remember things, why I couldn't spell, why I got the good ideas after the meeting had moved on and then had to send it round to the participants after etc etc. Armed with that knowledge it would have helped me cope with my weaknesses and play to my strengths and most importantly I would have had confidence in my ability, instead of always thinking I was a bit slow and stupid. I now have two Master's degrees and I'm studying for a PhD.

My daughters and nieces and nephew are all moderately to severely dyslexic but bright enough for, with the exception of one of my DDs, it not to have been picked up until they were into their teens. As a result of support at school and uni, including equipment and extra time in exams, they are now being helped to achieve their potential. Thanks to the Ed Psych reports I know exactly how able my daughters are and their strengths and weaknesses. It's still not plain sailing and we still struggle to build their confidence and support them and the "label" has been a disadvantage with certain teachers and ignorant peers and their parents, especially when DD got into a more selective school than their DDs hmm but certainly not to the extent that I would not have sought an Ed Psych report.

bulletpoint Mon 26-Nov-12 20:20:25

How does it actually work, was your dc assessed over a number of sessions or was it just a 1hr joby excercise ? Are they asked to do test sheets or do they just intervew your dc ? Thank you.

trinity0097 Mon 26-Nov-12 20:55:00

THe one who comes to our school spends a couple of hours with the child and then about an hour with the parents and SENCO.

It is very helpful as a teacher to understand the child more fully and know what to do to help them make more rapid progress.

noisytoys Mon 26-Nov-12 20:55:08

DD was referred to an ed psych by the health visitor for an IQ test after her 2.5 year check. Turned out she had the highest recorded IQ in the country (she was 3 when she was tested). I wouldn't imagine many 3 year olds have an IQ test though so I'm not sure what difference it makes. She is nearly 5 now and her ed psych report got her a statement so she has a 1-1 TA at school now

Takver Mon 26-Nov-12 21:54:59

DD was referred to the ed psych by school. I'd say it was very helpful - she gave school various recommendations which did definitely make a difference in the short term (eg focusing on reducing dd's anxiety levels around written work by letting her set her own targets for quantity, being really specific about what is wanted in a task, using a keyboard much more).

Something I hadn't expected (dd was then in yr 5) is that the EP talked about supporting dd through the transfer to secondary, looking at long term use of keyboards, extra time etc. So a specific benefit over and above the immediate changes in the classroom. The EP is based in our catchment secondary.

I'm not sure a private EP would have been useful in the same way though, for dd it was very much part of working with the school.

Takver Mon 26-Nov-12 21:59:02

bulletpoint - the EP initially observed dd in the classroom (at the same time as observing other children she's assessing I think) & chatted to her a bit, then met with us & her teacher & the HT (who is the SENCO). Then she had a second session with her doing various tests - verbal & non-verbal reasoning type things, then after that a follow up meeting with us and also with dd's class teacher.

(I guess each visit covers several pupils, IYSWIM - dd missed her initial 'slot' for assessment because she'd broken her arm, so she had to wait a couple of months for the next time the EP was in school)

Copthallresident Mon 26-Nov-12 23:38:21

We saw an Ed Psych privately but it was one the school recommended and respected, and they took the recommendations on board. The assessment lasted three hours and was a whole battery of tests in a variety of formats, written, verbal, aural, using blocks etc. Specific Learning Difficulties or Differences are actually a range of difficulties that can vary from person to person, Dyslexia is actually quite narrowly defined within that as problems with reading and/or spelling, but what people with Specific Learning Difficulties have in common is that their attainment in certain areas is inconsistent with their ability because off problems they have with processing, memory, motor control etc.

So there were tests of ability, Verbal and Non Verbal Reasoning, various sets were used. Last assessment for my daughter in Year 9 it was verbal similarities, vocabulary and comprehension for VR and block design, picture concepts and matrix reasoning for NVR. Then she was tested for working memory ( eg digit spanning which is repeating a sequence of numbers then being asked to repeat them backwards), processing speed (eg assigning symbols to correct boxes), reading speed and writing speed. Then she was given attainment tests for literacy (word reading, reading comprehension and spelling) and numeracy (mathematics reasoning/ problems and numerical operations).

They then usually convert the scores into a centile so at what percentile of the population their score puts them in so if they score at the 90th centile that means they scored better than 90% of the population. Obviously everyone's scores vary a bit but if you score at a high percentile for ability and a lower percentile for attainment you are not achieving your potential and lower percentile scores for working memory etc would point to the reason and it's significance. They will assess the difficulties as mild moderate or severe depending on the gaps.

Saracen Tue 27-Nov-12 00:18:44

My dd's assessment was similar to what Copthallresident describes, but with different tests because my dd is much younger.

In advance of the half-day battery of tests, I had various questionnaires to fill in relating to her development, behaviour at home etc. I was also asked for a "school report" about her academic strengths and weaknesses so I wrote that myself.

After the test session, I was invited to return for an hour without my dd to discuss the psychologist's findings with him. At that meeting he asked me some follow-up questions and incorporated this into the report he later wrote up.

IndigoBelle Tue 27-Nov-12 07:51:27

GunzNRoses - if you think your child may have ASD or ADHD they need to be seen by a child development peadetrician, not an EP.

So if school are referring him for free, take it.

But if you have to pay for it, first go to your GP and tell her your concerns.

pranged Thu 29-Nov-12 14:49:45

I am so glad this thread started. I've just come from signing the assessment form request for my DD to be evaluated by an ed psychologist because she is not making the progress expected after two years of 'intervention' - ie extra maths and RML classes. She's also more emotionally immature compared to the other girls in her class. My less generous take on that is that she does quite do the 'whispering and selective playing' 7-8 year olds get into as they mature. So all that is now in an official form .... I just signed in and feeling like I've failed in some way. sad But I'm really pleased to see how an ed psyc assessment can really help too ... so am hoping for the best.

Gunznroses Thu 29-Nov-12 14:58:48

Indigobelle - of course we are already seeing a paeditrician, been referred etc. There's a lot more back story leading up to us being interested in an ED, but all i wanted to know about here, was other peoples experiences.

Gunznroses Thu 29-Nov-12 15:02:23

Pranged - i hope it all works out well and the ED will be establish exactly what is going and put a support plan in place with school. No you haven't failed, i'm sure you're doing everything you can, sometimes there's just no explanation as to why these things happen.

Copthallresident Thu 29-Nov-12 15:31:05

pranged If your DD is dyslexic, that could also explain the social problems. My DD has had exactly the same problems since age 7/8. She just isn't good at playing games and manipulating others and as a result isn't interested in doing it and is very sensitive when it is aimed at her, which of course all makes her a target. The problem is that dyslexics really only do think of the clever putdown /comeback after the moment has past. I am afraid the exclusive behaviour and intolerance of difference only gets worse as girls get older, and it is heart-breaking sometimes, so I have focused on supporting her to be herself and find friends who are similarly not interested in the alpha girl / being popular games and have genuine interests in common. Drama has been particularly good for that, with the side benefit it has helped her with memory skills.

pranged Thu 29-Nov-12 17:32:56

Gunznroses & Copthallresident: thanks for the virtual hand-holding. I sort of suspected dyslexia a while back because sometimes she misses words when she reads; so in a way I am almost hoping that it is "just dyslexia" because I know that can be supported and supported well. (High-five on that PhD by the way!) Capthallresident, I re-read your experience and it does sound familiar. So I am hopeful. At least the school is doing something at this stage and the teachers are keen to help, so I am holding on to that rather than beating myself about the head. So here's hoping an ed psyc get assigned quickly.

Helendouglas72 Tue 12-Mar-13 22:06:09

How much does it cost for a private EP assessment?

Copthallresident Wed 13-Mar-13 12:29:00

The last assessment for my DDs, which met the requirements of exam boards to justify extra time , cost just over £400 each, we are in the home counties

Schmedz Wed 13-Mar-13 18:44:04

I have been investigating the costs of a private EP in London and the cheapest I found was £500, but most were at least £650-£750. This covers the consultation, testing (around 3 hours) and report. Writing the report and marking the tests take hours so although you are not in contact with the EP for that long, they do take a long time over the marking/report and recommendations.
Would love to know how a health visitor can refer to an NHS EP!

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