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Educational Psychologists… providing useful insights into your child

Last week, I mentioned that we’d had Ava assessed with an educational psychologist and had had our feedback session with her last week. This weekend, her written reports arrived and it has been fascinating and has given us so much feedback and information on what makes her tick.

It was an extensive assessment covering the following:

INTELLECTUAL ASSESSMENTJunior South African Individual Scale (JSAIS)

Goodenough Draw-a-Man Checklist (Intellectual Maturity)


Optima School Readiness Assessment

Wepman Auditory Discrimination Screening Assessment

Bender-Gestalt (Visual-Motor Assessment)

Grade R Readiness – Teacher Checklist

EMOTIONAL ASSESSMENTProjective Techniques:

·         Draw-a-Person Test (DAP)

·         Kinetic Family Drawing (KFD)

·         Child-in-the-Rain Test

·         Düss Fables

·         Island Companion

·         Three Wishes

ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONIntake Interview – Mr and Mrs Van Wyk
Classroom Observations

I love how the ratings work o these assessments, because the ratings are given a chronological age. So for example, Ava is 5 years and 10 months at the time of assessment but in this area she excelled, with her rating being sometimes as high as the equivalent of an 8 year old.

Clearly a smart cookie.

The JSAIS’s Performance Scale relies heavily on innate intellectual abilities for success. A child’s ability to reason independently, to analyze and synthesize both concrete and abstract information in order to problem solve successfully play an important role here. These abilities often include higher cognitive functions which become increasingly important in the higher grades. Ava-Grace’s Performance Scale is currently at seven years and one month which indicates that she is currently functioning well above her chronological age on this scale. The following table provides a summary of each subtest and an indication of Ava-Grace’s performance in each area


SubtestWhat Does The Test MeasureScaled
Test Age
Form boardThis subtest indicates the child’s ability to recognise shapes and
manipulates parts to form that shape. An understanding of the
relationship between the different parts and the whole is
important for this subtest
15↑ 8 years 0
Missing partsThe ability to identify if detail within visual stimuli is correct and
complete is measured, and is also indicative of visual
137 years 4
The ability to identify absurdities and incorrect visual
137 years 4
Block designsVisual- spatial reasoning, pattern observation as well as analysis
and synthesis of visual information is required
126 years 9


The ability to distinguish similarities and identify relatively
complex units of a figure is measured – spatial orientation and
perceptual consistency is required
126 years 6


From the table above, it is evident that processing complex visual information by forming spatial images of part-whole relationships and/or by manipulating the parts to solve novel problems without using words is a strength for Ava-Grace.

She also performed significantly above her age in areas like numeracy, which is the ability to count, reason numerically and have a good numerical memory and memory scale, where she once again performed significantly higher than her actual age.

She did pass the school readiness but did not fair so well on the emotional maturity tests and her ed psychologist has recommended that she be kept back, given her age and her being such a late in the year baby, an extra year in grade R will give her the opportunity to catch up emotionally.

Her attention was also noted as a potential problem but again could relate to her emotional immaturity.

There were so many parts that stuck out for me, things I both knew and things I didn’t know.

Things that made me laugh like….”A theme present across the assessment measures was a sense of opposition, defiance and manipulation”

And things that made me cry and hurt like….. “projected strong feelings of insecurities and inadequacy with regards to her school work as well as within herself as a person.”

But now I feel we are able to make an informed decision and have decided to keep her back. In addition, we are also armed with some great tips on how to help her, practical advice for both ourselves and her teachers and what we can all do to help her achieve and thrive next year.

It has bee an invaluable, albeit expensive exercise but one I am so grateful we did. It has helped me understand her better and know her strengths and areas where she needs a little help and I feel it has armed me to be an even better parent to her.

We told her last week she was staying back, spun it into something positive about how each year the teachers choose a few superstars to stay behind and help them with the new Grade R’s. Show them the playground and help them find the toilets and tuck shop, figure out their classrooms and work and because Ava was a superstar the teachers wanted her to stay behind and help me. She was super chuffed about this, and has happily agreed. Interestingly, this is one of the things that came up in her assessment, that she has a strong need for recognition and approval.

So onward and upwards, lets see what 2016 has in store for us….

As a side note, if you’re looking to have your child assessed, I cannot recommend Tina enough! Her details below:

Tina D



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