FAQ

When and why would I want to have an assessment as an adult?

Assessments provide information about strengths and weaknesses in areas measured.  That information is used to diagnose disorders and to make recommendations to improve or accommodate areas of weakness.  As an adult, you might choose to have an assessment completed to diagnose the presence of a learning disorder or ADHD, to gain more comprehensive self-knowledge, or to qualify for accommodations in post-secondary education or for standardized licensure exams.  Accommodations, such as more time or having material read aloud rather than reading oneself, can assure that the evaluation process is fair, measuring the intended skill or knowledge development rather than measuring the disorder or disability present.  

How do I prepare for an assessment as an adult?

Assessments take several hours and involve both face-to-face interactions (including test or task completion as well as interviews) and completion of standardized questionnaires that support decision making in the assessment process.  Before you arrive for your appointment, please carefully consider the symptoms that you are investigating to determine when they first became apparent, how they are impacting your life now, how you want things to be different, and why you are seeking the assessment at this time (i.e. for disability consideration or funding, needing accommodations for school or work, for self awareness and knowledge, or to make positive life changes).

Because many symptoms can be attributable to a variety of concerns, an assessment starts with a broad look at your skills and experiences.  Please be prepared to discuss your childhood behaviour, school experiences, as well as your work, personal and relationship history.  To this end, it is highly recommended that you talk with someone more familiar with much of your early history, such as a parent, and determine if they are willing to provide information to help in the assessment process.  It is important to have multiple perspectives whenever possible, so often, life partners are also asked to provide input.  None of this information will be gathered without your direct consent.  

When and why would I want to have my child assessed?

When children struggle to work up to their perceived potential in school, it may be helpful to have more information about their strengths, weaknesses and level of learning to identify the challenges faced and to plan for more effective instruction. Early identification of and intervention for learning difficulties or disabilities is always best. Children will not simply out-grow difficulties and catch up with their peers without intervention. Research has identified that 98% of children who struggle to read in the first grade, continue to fall behind their peers in reading in the fourth grade. Reading intervention should begin as soon as difficulty is evident. It can take up to 4 times as long to remediate reading difficulties in grade 4 as it would in grade 1. Children who receive effective intervention early on can develop into accurate and fluent readers who may catch up to their peers in reading achievement. Even children with severe dyslexia can learn to read accurately and with comprehension. Those who are delayed in “breaking the code” miss out on essential early practice and may fall behind in the development of reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary development and general knowledge.

How do I prepare my child for an assessment?

Assessments take several hours and involve both face-to-face interactions (including test or task completion as well as interviews) and completion of standardized questionnaires that support decision making in the assessment process. Before you arrive for your appointment, please carefully consider the symptoms that you are investigating to determine when they first became apparent, how they are impacting your child’s life now, how you and/or your child want things to be different, and why you are seeking the assessment at this time (i.e. for disability consideration or funding, needing accommodations for school or work, for self awareness and knowledge, or to make positive life changes). Please make sure your child eats well and gets a good night’s rest in order to be able to face the challenges in the assessment. Remind them that the assessment is just a chance to “showoff” all that they can do, and that all they will be asked to do is their best.

Because many symptoms can be attributable to a variety of concerns, an assessment starts with a broad look at your child's skills and experiences.  Please be prepared to discuss your child’s general development (i.e., developmental milestones), childhood behaviour, school experiences, as well as your family history of significant challenges or difficulties.  It is important to have multiple perspectives whenever possible, so with your permission, teachers may also be asked to provide input.

What can I expect from counselling?

Psychological services use evidence-based practices to assist with life problems or to address obstacles to success in your life. Successful psychological intervention depends upon a solid professional relationship between patient/client and provider. There are both benefits and risks associated with intervention. Risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness because the process often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life.  However, therapy has been shown to have benefits for individuals who undertake it.  Therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increase satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress or emotions, and resolutions to specific problems. Therapy requires a very active effort on your part. There is often homework or things for you to work on between sessions. There are no guarantees of success.

When is it time to seek counselling for myself?

If you feel that you are not meeting your goals for yourself, or encounter situations or emotions that cause you distress, it may be time to seek counselling. From simply refining and developing a plan to meet your goals to addressing feelings of anxiety or coping with interpersonal strife, psychological counselling can provide personal enlightenment and effective coping strategies to enable you to make good decisions and move forward in your life.

What can I expect from counselling for my child?

Successful psychological intervention depends upon a solid professional relationship between patient/client and provider.  There are both benefits and risks associated with intervention. Risks may include experiencing uncomfortable feelings such as sadness, guilt, anxiety, anger, frustration, loneliness and helplessness because the process often requires discussing the unpleasant aspects of your life.  However, therapy has been shown to have benefits for individuals who undertake it. Therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress or emotions, and resolutions to specific problems. Therapy requires an active effort on your part. There is often homework or things for you to work on between sessions. There are no guarantees of success.

I am willing to team with parents in supporting their children, teens, and young adult children, while still respecting your child or adolescent’s right to confidentiality. Aside from providing the logistical support in getting your child to appointments, they may also need support from parents in completing homework and relating events accurately to be discussed in session.

When is it time to seek counselling for my child?

Sometimes children struggle to meet the demands in their life or to adjust positively to situations they face. They may struggle to behave within expectations at school or at home. They may feel out of step or suffer from strong emotions they feel ill-equipped to handle. When parental support and coaching is not enough, it may be time to consider a professional counselling relationship. Therapy often leads to a significant reduction in feelings of distress, increased satisfaction in interpersonal relationships, greater personal awareness and insight, increased skills for managing stress or emotions and resolutions to specific problems. Therapy requires a very active effort.  There is often homework or things to work on between sessions. There are no guarantees of success.

The Health Care Consent Act provides that anyone capable of undertaking and understanding the consequences of treatment may give consent to treatment, regardless of their age. However, psychological services, whether sessions are conducted in-person, by secure video link or by telephone, are provided upon consent of the recipient and/or the recipient’s parent/guardian if the recipient is a minor, wherever possible.

What are Executive Functioning Skills?

Executive Functioning refers to those cognitive skills used to regulate behaviour and emotion as well as to oversee problem solving. They can be measured directly or through observation of individuals’ behaviour while engaged in everyday events such as learning and meeting responsibilities at home, in the community and in school. Executive functioning skills play a role in performance on any number of cognitive and academic tasks. Deficits in executive functioning are often at the core of difficulties experienced in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Examples of executive skills include:

Response Inhibition - the ability to inhibit, resist or not act on an impulse.

Emotional Control - the ability to modulate emotional reactions. Weaknesses may manifest as emotional liability or explosiveness, or emotional reactions that may not seem to fit the severity of the situation or may be more frequent than typical.

Flexibility - the ability to move freely from one situation or aspect of a problem to another as needed.  Mild weaknesses compromise problem solving efficiency and severe ones result in perseverative or sticky behaviour.

Working Memory - the ability to hold information in mind in order to organize, recall and/ or problem solve with it. Working memory is integral to sustaining performance and attention, and is implicated in poor monitoring.  

Task Initiation - the ability to get started on a task or activity, including independently generating ideas and problem solving strategies. Weak task initiation skills may be a secondary consequence of other difficulties such as poor organization, lack of understanding, or emotional difficulties (i.e., anxiety or depression).

Sustained Attention - the ability to remain on track and on task through to the completion.

Planning/Prioritization
- involves the anticipation of future events, setting goals and developing an action plan for completing tasks.  

Organization - students who struggle with this skill may feel easily overwhelmed by large or comprehensive assignments that require the integration of a variety of academic skills. They may seem haphazard in their approach to work or may miss the main ideas among all of the details.

Time Management - the ability to effectively organize efforts and manage available time to meet deadlines and work efficiently

Meta-Cognition - thinking about and directing cognitive efforts constructively and adaptively for effective problem solving

Goal-Directed Persistence - the ability to resist distraction and stay focused on goals and desired outcomes until they are reached and/or tasks are completed.

Self-Monitoring - the awareness of the impact of one’s own behaviour on other people and outcomes, self-monitoring enables learning from experiences, and supports the ability to shift and to inhibit.

Task-Monitoring - refers to noticing errors and paying attention to details. Poor task-monitoring is evident in careless mistakes.

I and/or my child have been diagnosed with ADHD, now what?

Once you receive a diagnosis of ADHD, there is much to learn! Educating yourself about ADHD is important to be able to anticipate challenges and advocate for accommodations and strategies to promote success. There are many myths about ADHD that ought to be dispelled. There are also many strategies that have proved beneficial for individuals with ADHD to be successful despite the particular challenges they face. Treatment for ADHD can be both pharmaceutically-based or behaviourally-based. Managing ADHD symptoms is essential for success and effective goal completion.

What is Behavioural Management?

Behavioural management refers to the many ways that behaviour can be shaped or changed. Whether it is parents molding desirable and adaptive behaviour in their children or an individual making desired changes in their own life, there are many evidence-based strategies that can be applied to shape and adapt behaviour to meet expectations or achieve goals.

Billing and Fee Reimbursement

All services provided by Laurie Ferguson are billed directly to the client. Receipts can be provided in whatever form is deemed acceptable to an individual’s extended health benefit, as long as they are accurate. Clients can then submit receipts for reimbursement according to the conditions of their benefit policies.