Psychological consultation and assessment can often be very beneficial when seeking to better understand and support children and adolescents who are experiencing learning, emotional, and/or behavioural problems. However, knowing what exactly clinical psychologists do or what specific services to request can sometimes be confusing. With that in mind, this description has been put together to clarify the types of services that can be obtained from the psychologists and the multi-disciplinary team at the Okanagan Ability Centre.

Girl working at a desk in a workbook
Assessments and Services Available

Children, youth and adults are typically referred for psycho-educational assessments when there are concerns about their cognitive development or when they are not achieving at expected levels academically.

A psycho-educational assessment, together with specific measures looking at attention and executive functioning, are used to help diagnose ADHD in children and youth who struggle with attention, focus, impulse control and organization.

Social emotional assessment addresses issues relating to areas of social, emotional or behavioural functioning. We can also evaluate adjustment difficulties. Social emotional assessments may address difficulties related to coping with challenging life experiences.

ASD assessments include evaluation regarding the question of an autism spectrum disorder, as well as exploration of the cognitive and behavioural difficulties often evident in children with ASD (e.g., intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits, communication limitations, learning difficulties, sensori-motor problems, social deficits).

We are recognized by Community Living BC (CLBC) as a service provider of assessments for adults who may be eligible for support services on the basis of having an intellectual disability or a specific developmental disability such as an autism spectrum disorder or a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. We provide the necessary cognitive testing and/or adaptive assessment required to determine whether or not individuals meet eligibility requirements.

We then provide documentation of our findings to CLBC if requested.

We are also able to provide a review of available documentation and, in some cases (if testing is recent and well documented), that may be sufficient to establish eligibility. Costs and time required will vary depending on the documentation needs.

The Okanagan Ability Centre offers therapy/counselling to treat a wide range of problems that children and their families face including anxiety disorders; depression; social-emotional problems; school refusal; adjustment to illness, separation, divorce or other life stressors; family conflict; and behavioural problems. The therapeutic approach taken is collaborative in nature and based on evidence-based practice including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and parent support/training. Our goal is to help your child overcome their areas of challenge so that they can thrive at home, at school, and in the community.

FASD assessments are provided for children and youth up to age 19 by the Okanagan Ability Centre in partnership with the Interior Health Authority Children’s Assessment Network (IHCAN). The assessments are completed by a multi-disciplinary team that typically includes a pediatrician, a psychologist, and social worker. Additional professionals such as a psychiatrist, a speech/language pathologist, or an occupational therapist may also be involved.

Speech Language Pathologists are dedicated to helping children reach their full communication potential.

Case Review & Telephone Consultation

In some situations, you may not be certain as to whether or not an assessment would be useful or you might wish to have a brief conversation with a psychologist in which you describe the child of concern and discuss your goals for the future. A telephone consultation is available for those circumstances.