What is involved in an assessment?
The length of an assessment and the professionals seen depends on the type of assessment being performed. Though it may vary, typical components include:
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) - 1) Medical assessment 2) psychology assessment 3) speech-language assessment, and 4) family conference. Dependent on the needs of the client, a referral for an occupational therapy assessment or psychiatric assessment may also be made.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) - 1) Observation of child by medical practitioner, and 2) caregiver interview. Dependent on the needs of the client, a psychology or speech-language assessment may also be recommended.
Complex Developmental Needs/Complex Behavioural Developmental Conditions (CDBC) - 1) Medical assessment 2) psychology assessment 3) speech-language assessment, and 4) family conference. Dependent on the needs of the client, a referral for an occupational therapy assessment or psychiatric assessment may also be made.
Other Private Assessments - May include a 1) medical assessment 2) psychology assessment, or 3) speech-language assessment, or any combination of the above.
Preparing for an Assessment
Assessment can be an anxiety-producing event, and requires significant support throughout. It is critical that a trusted person accompanies the individual to every appointment, and remains on site throughout the day.
It may be valuable to take the virtual tour
of the Asante Centre, let the person know which team members
they will meet, and explain the process beforehand to address concerns and increase transparency.
It is important that the person rests well the night before, takes his or her medication as usual, and eats before beginning his or her appointments. The person is welcome to take breaks as needed throughout.
What can I expect to happen at the assessment?
A pediatrician or other medical doctor will complete an evaluation of the person as well as an interview with family members to discuss prenatal, family, and medical history. The doctor wants to understand the person's health, as well as any influences on his or her development.
Fine and gross motor skills, reflexes, height, weight and hearing will all be tested. The evaluation lasts about 20-30 minutes, and the family interview lasts up to an hour.
The person will be able to keep on all of their clothing, and gets to decide if he or she wants a caregiver or other support person in the room. There are never any needles involved. The Centre does not prescribe medication.
A psychologist works with the person to help understand his or her abilities in multiple areas, such as memory, visual and verbal problem-solving, core academics, cognition, and executive functioning. This appointment generally lasts 4-5 hours, depending on the person.
The psychology evaluation can be a tiring appointment, as it is designed to measure the person's maximum abilities in different areas. The person is encouraged to take breaks as needed.
The psychologist will also complete an adaptive functioning interview with a caregiver or close support person to understand the person's daily living skills. This interview may take up to 1.5 hours.
The psychology assessment helps determine if the person will be eligible for disability services, as well as helping the person and his or her support system better understand the individual's needs and abilities.
The speech-language pathologist will work with the person to measure his or her understanding of language, use of language, verbal reasoning and use of speech sounds. This appointment focuses on social language, and helps us understand how the person will be able to engage in services and other community settings.
Family Conference/Results Meeting
The person receiving the assessment, their family members and support people will meet with the Asante Centre team to talk about the results of the assessment. All of the testing results are shared at this time, including the medical, psychology and speech-language testing. The final diagnosis, as appropriate, is also shared and discussed.
With the help of all individuals present at the meeting, a list of recommendations for care is made. These recommendations are designed to be specific to the individual and will help them to be more successful in the community and in their own life. Eligibility for services is discussed at this time.
It is up to the person and their family who will be invited to participate in this meeting. Final diagnostic and assessment reports will be distributed as per the referral stream contract and in agreement with the person and their family.
Where does the assessment happen?
Assessments are generally carried out at the Asante Centre, located in Maple Ridge, BC. We are a small, client and family-focused organization. To further prepare clients and families on what they can expect at the Centre, click here to take a virtual tour. Appointments may occasionally be completed at partnering organizations; if so, this will be discussed at the time of appointment booking.
How long does the assessment take?
A full assessment for FASD or other complex developmental needs takes approximately one and a half to two days to complete, depending on the age of the person and any previous assessments. An assessment for ASD generally takes one and a half days. Appointments may be scheduled in combination or separately, depending on the needs of the client and the availability of the assessment team.
What happens after an assessment?
The Asante Centre assessment team gathers the findings of the assessment, including the diagnostic testing results and recommendations for care, and develops a report. The report shares the results for an increased understanding of the individual, as well as to help the individual and family advocate for services. Reports are generally released to the legal guardian or adult client, as well as the original referring agent; however, this varies depending on how the person is referred, and will be discussed at the time of intake.
What about support?
Support services are provided for individuals and their families throughout the assessment process. Preparing for an assessment can be a major step for the family of a person with developmental delays; the Asante Centre assists families prepare by starting a dialogue about the process and providing emotional support.
During an assessment, the Asante Centre team helps families and care providers to understand the individual's strengths and challenges. The team provides encouragement and hope, through dialoguing, listening, and acknowledging grief.
After diagnosis, the Centre is available for intervention assistance and to help care providers to access services available to individuals. The Centre also helps care providers to become more knowledgeable about the person's disability and the appropriate methods for assisting the individual based on their abilities and needs noted throughout the assessment.