A new program to conduct psycho-educational assessments of local children and adolescents will provide “a gold-standard service,” says the faculty member heading up the project.
“We can take more time with cases,” says Sylvia Voelker, director of the Psychological Services and Research Centre. “We plan to conduct follow-up to see how the recommendations from the assessments are acted on.”
The program is aimed at children six to 17 years old experiencing difficulty in school stemming from cognitive challenges, anxiety, depression, or attention problems. Advanced graduate students in clinical psychology will conduct the assessments under the supervision of registered psychologists.
Evaluation may include standardized testing, observation, questionnaires and interviews. Each assessment will include a face-to-face feedback session and a written report detailing strengths and weaknesses and specific recommendations for addressing areas of difficulty at school.
Dr. Voelker says there is a demonstrated need in the community for this type of service.
“Testing is provided through the school boards, but wait lists can be years long,” she says. “We know that if there are issues to identify, the sooner the better for remediation.”
She hopes to serve 20 clients over the summer. The service will carry a fee; a sliding scale is available for families with demonstrated financial need. The program is supported by a Strategic Priority Fund grant to Voelker and her faculty colleagues Rosanne Menna and Julie Hakim-Larson.
The Psychological Services and Research Centre is located at 326 Sunset Avenue. Please direct referrals and inquiries to its staff at 519-253-3000, ext. 7012.