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Angela Neville, Educational Psychologist

Seeking understanding about learning differences?

Love of Learning offers cognitive and educational assessments with Angela Neville, a registered educational psychologist.

Angela has previously been a teacher, as well as a structured literacy specialist educator. She therefore has a depth of understanding and expert knowledge about specific learning difficulties, behavioural issues, and social/emotional problems.

Her interests include kayaking, cycling, hiking, skiing, and she enjoys movies, music and singing.

A full cognitive and educational assessment can identify and diagnose a specific learning difficulty (such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or dyscalculia) if it is present. Other behavioural and emotional issues can also be investigated, using additional assessment tools, if desired.

An assessment can help identify the specific next learning steps for individuals and assist with understanding why difficulties may be occurring. Recommendations for appropriate evidence-based action will be provided to enable success, confidence building, and greater academic progress.

Assessments can be administered with children as young as 2.5 years (to identify potential giftedness), or for children as young as 5-6 years (to identify a specific learning disorder such as dyslexia). Older children, teenagers, and adults can also be assessed.

NOTE: Students must have had some form of previous intervention, i.e., tutoring, small, targeted group work, etc., for a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder to be made.

Assessment tools include the WISC-V cognitive assessment and the WIAT-III educational  assessment. Used together, they are able to:

  • Identify children (and adults) with specific learning differences (such as dyslexia), including those who are 'twice exceptional' or are gifted.

  • Help in understanding an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses and drive evidence-based interventions and that match the individual’s needs.

  • Determine if a student may be eligible for accommodations, such as a reader or writer (scribe), use of a computer, and/or extra time during exams in secondary school or in tertiary education.

Assessments can be administered with Angela Neville in Cambridge (Waikato) or Hibiscus Coast (Auckland). For an additional fee, Angela is also able to travel to your home to administer the assessment if this is more convenient for you.

Please telephone or email Angela Neville at Love of Learning for more information, or to make an appointment:

Telephone: 021 02404164

Email: loveoflearning@xtra.co.nz

FAQ

Question 1. How can a Cognitive and Educational Assessment be helpful?

  • The assessment can provide an in-depth overview of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses. It can identify underlying areas of concern which may be contributing towards learning difficulties.

  • A diagnosis of a specific learning disorder (SLD) such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and/or dysgraphia can be made, if the individual meets the criteria.

  • Assessment findings can be used to support applications for Special Assessment Conditions (SACs), such as a reader and/or a writer, use of a computer and/or extra time, in senior NCEA or Cambridge examinations.

Question 2. What assessment tools are used in the Cognitive & Educational Assessment?

  • The Wechsler range of cognitive assessments, including the WISC-V for children aged 6 – 16 years (or the WPPSI-IV for younger children, or the WAIS-IV for individuals 17 years or over)

  • The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, version 3 (WIAT-III) – for individuals aged 4 – 50 years)

  • Occasionally, the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Achievement and Oral Language, version 4 (WJIV) can be used.

Question 3. What are the criteria for a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder (such as dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia)?

The American Psychological Association’s DSM-5* sets out the following criteria:

  • Difficulties learning and using academic skills (such as word reading, reading comprehension, spelling, written expression, numeracy, or mathematical reasoning). 

  • Symptoms have persisted for at least six months.

  •  Symptoms remain, despite the provision of interventions that target those difficulties.

  • The learning difficulties are not better accounted for by other factors, including intellectual disabilities, poor vision or hearing, other neurological disorders, etc.

Due to the third criteria, students who have not been provided with appropriate interventions (such as tuition with Impact Tutoring) cannot be formally diagnosed with an SLD such as dyslexia. Dyslexic tendencies can, however be indicated, and followed up with an updated diagnosis once remediation has been provided (if the individual has not responded as expected to the intervention). 

* (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the manual relied upon by most New Zealand psychologists when making a diagnosis.)

Question 4. What usually happens during the assessment?

With most of the assessments: 

Some assessment tasks are presented on an iPad device, usually involving tapping responses on the screen, or answering the questions orally.

Some assessment tasks are done on paper.

Some assessment tasks involve listening and responding.

One assessment task involves copying designs manually, using blocks.

Question 5. What does the Cognitive Assessment include?

The Cognitive assessment is an IQ test administered to individuals by a psychologist to determine the student's cognitive strengths and weaknesses. The IQ score can also indicate possible giftedness, as well as intellectual difficulties or global delay.

The WISC-V Cognitive Assessment looks at 5 cognitive domains (how the mind works), including Verbal Comprehension, Visual Spatial Ability, Fluid Reasoning, Working Memory, and Processing Speed

The WAIS-IV, WPPSI-IV and WJIV Cognitive Assessments also cover a similar range of cognitive domains.

Question 6. What does the Educational Assessment include?

The WIAT-III Educational Assessment looks at a range of academic skills, including Oral Language Skills, Reading Skills, Writing Skills, Mathematics Skills.

The WJIV Tests of Achievement and Oral Language also cover a similar range of academic skills.

Question 7. What is the best age for a cognitive / educational assessment?

The sooner, the better! …however (as mentioned before) certain criteria must be met for a firm diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder such as dyslexia. One of the criteria for a specific learning disorder, such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia, is that the individual’s symptoms remain, despite the provision of interventions that target those difficulties.

Question 8. What other assessments or screening tools can be administered?

Please be aware, this assessment CANNOT diagnose the following, but can indicate the possibility of other difficulties, such as:

Auditory Processing Disorder

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Autism Spectrum Disorder

 Developmental Coordination Disorder (Dyspraxia)

Question 9. How long does the assessment take?

A full Cognitive and Educational Assessment usually takes from three to four hours, including short breaks.

A usual appointment is from 9.00 am to 2.00 pm, which allows for a 60-minute lunch break. For students younger than 10 years, or for those who have difficulty focusing for prolonged periods, we recommend breaking the assessment over two days.

Question 10. What happens after the assessment?

Immediately following the assessment, a brief overview of the initial findings will be given. A comprehensive assessment report will then be emailed within approximately 2-3 weeks following the assessment taking place.

A follow-up meeting (of up to 45mins) can be held to discuss the assessment findings and recommendations. Follow-up meetings can be held in in person, or online, via MS Teams.

Teachers/educators etc are welcome to join in on follow-up meetings if you wish.



 

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