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Learning Insights

Tel: 0117 9682870 | Mob: 077 6789 5682

Education, Health and Care Plans are now being used.  How they work can still be found under Parents, Tribunals.

Facts and Questions

How to use this page.

Click on one of the three Headline sections below that you think you want (either General Issues, Parents and Children or Adults).

When your do, a list of current questions will appear. Simply click on a question you are interested in and the answer will be displayed. You can click as many questions you like.

If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, email us at info@learninginsights.co.uk, or click on Contact Us.

 

  • General Issues
    • How do performance pressures and anxieties affect someone?
      Check out Parents + Children next section (or Organisations + Individuals if you are interested as an adult).
      Individuals with Specific Learning Difficulties are often prone to some performance pressure and anxiety which makes them more prone to errors, and under-confident about aspects of their work. This is likely to manifest in appearing to not to want to attempt to do some tasks, appearing overwhelmed at times and to be reticent to express ideas. It is this fear of failing that actually becomes a barrier to learning and whilst this fear exists individuals will often avoid new situations, or those they perceive as risky, thus denying themselves valuable learning experiences. Again this is often wrongly perceived as laziness or lack of effort or motivation on the part of the learner.

      Erratic performance can be confusing for parents and teachers and is often the outcome of living with learning difficulties. Understanding individuals in terms of their learning difficulties is helpful. They are coping with vulnerabilities, which are confusing to them and are likely to be the source of erratic performance, loss of confidence and slow progress in some areas of learning.

      Check out Parents, Children+Schools (or Organisations + Individuals if you are interested as an adult).
    • How do memory difficulties affect us?
      Check out Parents + Children next section (or Organisations + Individuals if you are interested as an adult).
      Individuals with auditory memory problems tend to have variable concentration - poorer for tasks involving written material than for practical problem-solving activities, but also showing variation from day to day. Auditory memory difficulties in particular affect concentration and cause the individual to appear distractible (day-dreaming, inattentive, lacking in motivation, giving poor effort) and therefore performance can appear erratic. This is not volitional, deliberate or the result of laziness (though it may appear to be so), but the effects of an underlying vulnerability in auditory recall. This requires more effort to sustain attention which in turn is more fatiguing, and this in turn lowers concentration.

      For the individual with learning difficulties, they do not understand why one minute they can get things right and recall accurately and at other times cannot recall anything. Hence they come to feel very insecure about their own abilities and seek reassurance from others or avoid certain activities where they fear their weakness will be revealed. Observers often find themselves thinking or saying ''if you paid attention and tried you could do it''. However the individual is actually attending and trying their best and the observer cannot see this effort.

      For some, this less effective performance is likely to show when required to deal with a volume of information that has to be acted on, for example carrying out instructions when reading for comprehension and doing mathematics, (particularly mental arithmetic) and when required to produce written output, (particularly at speed or in volume). Most importantly it can mean that carrying out instructions in general, and in the classroom in particular, is more difficult for the individual. It may also mean there may be difficulties in taking on new concepts initially. This latter difficulty is more likely to be the result of difficulty in recalling the material, than an inability to understand the material per se.
    • How might sequencing and organisational difficulties affect someone?
      Check out Parents + Children next section (or Organisations + Individuals if you are interested as an adult).

      Sequencing difficulties can be either visual, auditory or both. Difficulties with sequencing can affect the organisation of actions, thoughts and ideas for written output as well as the organisation of possessions. Individuals with this vulnerability may well take much longer to compose thoughts for written output which in turn overloads memory which in turn increases fatigue. The final composition may well appear confusing or muddled to the reader and lacking in structure or organisation. Also written output in longhand can be more difficult where sequencing difficulties show in spellings, grammar or lack of appropriate punctuation, making it difficult for the writer to self-correct their own errors, and for the reader to gain the meaning.

      Difficulties with sequencing can be extremely pervasive and manifest as difficulties with organisation of possessions, maintenance of a diary, general untidiness, and an overall appearance of disorganisation. Awareness of these difficulties often makes it easier for the individual to become aware of how their vulnerability manifests itself and then steps to addressing these difficulties can be taken.
  • Parents & Children
    • If my child has already been assessed and I am still unclear/unhappy about the results is there anything I can do?
      Yes. Learning Insights frequently get asked to comment on reports. The important thing to remember is that we are all in the business of trying to help you make sense of your child. Sometimes there are better ways of understanding results and this can be done in a relatively simple cost-effective way. Occasionally a little more testing is helpful, but should you ask for a second opinion, our preference is to minimise the need for any further testing, for children, in particular.
    • What happens, if as a teacher, I think a child would benefit from a psychological-educational assessment?
      You simply need to tell the parent that you think this might be helpful and suggest they look at this web-site as a starting point. If they are not able to access us, feel free to give them our number 0117 682 870 at Learning Insights and ask them to call us. You can, with their permission, give us their number on the CONTACT US page and we will call them.

      Please reassure them they are not charged for any enquiry, and they will not be pressured at all to have an assessment. They will only be given information to better assess if this is the right thing to do and encouraged to discuss things further with you.
    • I have been told my child has behaviour problems and this is why she/he isn’t getting on at school. What can I do?
      Let’s start by addressing the issue of what a ‘behaviour problem’ is. When a child does not behave in a manner that is usually expected, especially at school, we often find they are labelled ‘a behaviour problem’. This often means the child won’t sit still, distracts other children, doesn’t get on with their work, messes about, gets others into trouble, gets themselves into trouble, doesn’t listen, concentrate or attend, gets out of their seat, bunks off, bullies other kids, may be cheeky, rude or even aggressive to others including staff, and can actually be very hard to manage in a classroom and may spend a lot of time outside the head’s office or in some other place where discipline is handed out.

      Our view at Learning Insights is that behaviour problems often arise because a child has a learning need that is not being met. If you child has a learning difficulty (click Parents + Children) it means that they find it hard to learn in the way that their peers (who don’t have learning difficulties) learn. The result is they get confused, start to fail, feel they can’t cope and over time do anything to avoid doing things they can’t do. The adolescent also has to avoid letting their peers see their inadequacies, so they often develop an ‘attitude’ which basically says ‘stay away from me, leave me alone, butt out or else…!) Your child may be very well behaved at school but actually be very stroppy and difficult at home; refusing to do what you ask especially avoiding their homework, arguing and fighting with their brothers and sisters or just seeming to be ‘difficult’ and moody. Any child or adolescent with behaviour problems will very likely have very low self-esteem – that means they don’t feel good about themselves and often they are very unconfident. (Ironically the more they ‘act out’ to cover up their feelings of inadequacies, the more unconfident they are likely to be).

      Remember all these behaviours are actually ‘normal’ behaviours too! So it is actually when you feel at your wits end, as if you can’t take any more, then it is very likely your child is not behaving in a manner that is ‘normal’. That is, they are showing more of these behaviours than would usually be expected for their age.
    • My child is being bullied at school, what can I do?
      Children come in all shapes and sizes, and some get left alone and others get teased or bullied. It can be quite subtle at times. We judge people, and children no less, on appearance, abilities, attributes, physical adeptness, on their language and communication skills, and on the way they are labeled such as ‘visually impaired’, ‘hyperactive’, ‘ADHD’, ‘dyslexic’, ‘gifted’! All these sources of information result in how we ‘perceive’ a child and there are likely to be consequences as the child is seen as ‘different’. The following commonly results; isolation and social distance, reduced social opportunity to join in with play and work activities, restricted opportunity for social contact, insults, name calling and ‘making fun of’ and refusal to work/play with someone. In suffering from bullying and teasing they react, ‘act out’ or withdraw, often achieve poorly, play truant, get rejected/excluded from school, which increases feelings of isolation resulting in poorer mental health and ultimately no way to maintain self esteem!

      Your first step is to approach the school and ask them to recognise the problem. They may need to be remineded that they have a Duty of Care now to protect children from any form of harassment, discrimination or bullying/teasing. If you have done this there may be several reasons why things haven’t changed. These would need exploring and Learning Insights could help you with this. However it is also possible that your child has learning difficulties.

      Children with learning difficulties can be observed clinically to be prone to; uncontrolled outbursts, impulsivity, poor self-monitoring, courting conflict, aggressive outbursts, non-compliance, inconsistent behaviour, unpredictability, poor communications, low insight, withdrawal and defiance. Add to this the ways in which the literature documents how the child with learning difficulties can be seen; irritating, misunderstanding, distractible, disorganised, clumsy/awkward, slow/dilatory, argumentative, disorganised, rigid/inflexible and misjudging. These factors alone can account for why a child is not having easy peer group relationships.

      Some children need protection from their peer group because they are teased as a result of being singled out as different. They can come under direct pressure to comply with their peer group as a need to be acceptable. Sometimes due to learning difficulties, they will comply with pressure out of fear, and also as a direct result of feeling no teaching staff understand their difficulties. By nature these children are not badly behaved, they are actually being pressed into this mode of response as a direct result of being pressured to improve their performance when they do not have the skills, knowledge or strategies to do so. Consequently it could be suggested their behaviours are a direct result of the way they are being handled in school, and until the child has been handled in manner that reflects their learning difficulties, their behaviour will continue to spiral down.
    • A word about panic attacks and children who don’t want to go to school.
      There can be many reasons why children are temporarily unhappy at school. Parents and teachers often have good insights into these reasons and manage them well without the need for professional advice.

      Sometimes a problem persists, seems more than appears on the surface, or genuinely feels to be a growing problem. Children may complain of stomach aches, headaches, sickness and may in fact be sick or start to harm themselves. They can be tearful and simply seem very unhappy. Again these symptoms can last for a few weeks because of something changing, stressing or bothering the child, but with some quiet, supportive conversations the problems are often resolved. Should the symptoms persist or increase in intensity and you have already spoken with your G.P., it may be worth a conversation with Learning Insights.

      Parents’ and teachers’ perspectives are invaluable to us, and this is where we would prefer to start. We work very closely with other professionals and so do not need to make everything a psychological problem. Sometimes a combined approach with the child’s G.P., the school and the family is all that is needed.

      Sometimes a learning difficulty can underlie the child’s distress, even in the most able of children which is often a surprise to parents and teachers. Remember a learning difference or difficulty does not mean the child lacks intelligence. However, it can cause the child to become very anxious about their performance as they cannot predict when they will succeed and when they will fail at school. They are often told they are lazy or that they can’t be bothered to try. This is very punitive to them as they often try very hard and due to their learning difficulty (often very subtle) they still make errors which look like lack of effort or attention. If you want to read more about Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) check out Parents, Children + Schools.
    • How does your service work if I want my child assessed by a psychologist for a psychological, social, emotional or educational assessment?
      Your child may need one or more of the following assessments and this will need discussion. After you have read through this information and checked out Parents, Children+ Schools, click on CONTACT US.

      Services to parents and adults from Learning Insights are strictly confidential. Contact with schools and other sources of information are made only with the expressed wishes of parents or guardians. Any forms requiring completion are passed through the parents. Reports written on any child are only made available to parents who it is hoped will provide the school with a copy. Copies of reports are not made available to anyone else except with written permission from the parents.

      In court, appeals and tribunal situations the report is again made available to the parent who’s child is being assessed, and they are requested to forward a copy to the appropriate body. If permission is given by the parents, then the report can be sent directly to whomever they wish to receive it.

      FULL ASSESSMENTS
      Full Assessments take up to three hours with the child. Further time is made available to the parents for discussion. A detailed family history is obtained and a form for schools to complete is also provided. The assessment content and time varies depending upon the age and ability of the child and the nature of questions parents seek answers for. A detailed written report is provided. Where requested, we liaise with schools and other professionals related to the child''s needs, refer the child to other educational, medical or professional specialist, and indicate where resources and other facilities can be obtained.

      EDUCATIONAL SCREENING ASSESSMENTS
      These assessments take approximately half the time of the full assessments and in fact constitute the activities of the latter half of a full assessment. The screening assessment can be used in one of two ways. If parents are in doubt about whether their child has any difficulties, then the screening assessment can be used as a preliminary analysis. Or alternately, if a child has been previously assessed and requires documentation of their specific learning difficulties (see below) to present to examination boards, then this screening identifies their level of educational attainment, which needs to be assessed at the time the documentation is required. A discussion with the parents is included, and either a brief written report or documentation is provided for the parents to submit to the school''s examining board.

      ABILITY SCREENING ASSESSMENT
      If a description of the child’s learning potential is required the ability screening assessment will provide an I.Q. and an indication of the child’s intellectual profile. This assessment also takes approximately half the time of the full assessment and constitutes the activities of the first half of that assessment. A discussion with the parents and child and a brief report is included. If it is identified through screening that further assessment is required, then the screening assessment fee is deducted from the full assessment fee.

      SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL ASSESSMENTS
      These assessments involve some structured and some unstructured activities over a full morning, and are of value where other factors than learning difficulties may be the source of distress for the child, behavioral problems or a general failure to thrive or achieve. They require building strong and effective rapport with the child and may take more than one consultation, depending upon the reason for the referral. A written report and discussion is provided.

      EXAMINATION BOARD DOCUMENTATION
      A full assessment is required if a child has not previously been assessed, and either the individual, school or parents believe the child has learning difficulties that would warrant their having documentation of their Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD) to submit to their examination board. Such documentation requests the board take account of the individuals learning difficulties, and depending upon the nature of the difficulties, extra time can be requested for them in the exam. If an individual has already been diagnosed as having specific learning difficulties (Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, Non-verbal Learning Difficulties NvLD, Autistic Spectrum Disorder ASD) then only the educational screening assessment is required. Such documentation can be submitted to colleges, universities and institutions of higher education.

      REPRESENTATION AT TRIBUNAL
      This involves evaluation of the documentation related to the tribunal. Discussion with the client, solicitor and any other professionals involved, and physical representation at the tribunal if requested.

      CONSULTATIONS
      These are usually made available on an hourly basis to provide an opportunity for the parents, and other professionals the parents wish to involve, to discuss and explore issues. Additional consultations following assessments of an individual are available and are pro rated at an hourly rate. These can be either by phone or by appointment at our consultation rooms.

      Medical insurance companies have accepted claims for fees when a medical consultant has made a referral to a psychologist, but not all do so. Please check with your insurance company.
    • What sort of tests are used in psychological and educational assessments for children?
      The following is technical information about the tests we use at Learning Insights.

      If you think you are interested in knowing more about an assessment for a child after you have read through this information and some of the other Facts + Questions click on CONTACT US.

      The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Third Edition UK (WISC-IIIUK) has been has been superseded and replaced by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fourth Edition UK (WISC-IVUK).

      Both are standardised, reliable and valid measures of intellectual ability that have been normed on a large population and thus allow comparison of a child's performance against those of similar age. They can be given to children between 6 and 16 years.  The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Fourth Edition UK (WISC-IVUK) now being used, has 15 subtests (described below).  Three of these are used to assess and calculate a verbal intellectual ability (1) Verbal Comprehension Index, measuring verbal skills, knowledge and comprehension and thus reflecting knowledge gained through formal education and three are used to assess and calculate visual processing ability - (2) Perceptual Reasoning Index - non verbal skills involving perceptual discrimination, analysis, and evaluation performed on timed tasks.  A further three subtests are used in combination to give a measure of (3) Processing Speed Index - the speed with which visual detail can be identified and documented, and the final three give (4) a Working Memory Index - the ability to retain information in short-term memory and act on it at the same time resisting distraction (i.e. to attend or concentrate).

      The Verbal Comprehension, Perceptual Reasoning, Speed Processing and Working Memory subscales can be combined to give a Full Scale Cognitive Intellectual Ability score or Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.). However, where there is a statistically significant difference in scores between the Indexes, a full scale I.Q. is not reported as to do so would mask the difference between the two I.Q.s.  The phrase Not Appropriate to Report is used.  Such discrepancies are common in individuals with specific learning difficulties such as Dyslexia.  A further method of describing ability, also provided by the Wechsler scale, is in terms of Discrepancy scores between various subtests.

      The Verbal Comprehension Subscale consists of three subtests that require the use of language without the use of aids or materials, they include:

      Vocabulary - requires defining words presented auditorily and thus involves a conceptual grasp of word meanings and an ability to express oneself through language and access domain knowledge.

      Comprehension - requires verbal, social judgement formation, the use of practical knowledge, common sense and knowledge of conventional standards of behaviour.

      Similarities – requires verbal ability to use abstract reasoning, and use verbal categories and concepts, verbal analogies and verbal analysis and synthesis.

      Information – this is an optional extra taskrequiring recall of long term memory recall of a wide range of factual knowledge. 

      Word Reasoning – this is an optional additional task that requires the child to identify a common concept being described in a series of verbal clues, to use domain knowledge and verbal categories.

      The Perceptual Reasoning Subscale consists of three visual processing tasks completed against time limits and not requiring the use of language; they include;

      Block Design - requires analysis and synthesis of abstract two-dimensional designs using blocks involving visual perception, organisation, figure-ground separation, hand-eye co-ordination, and simultaneous processing.The Perceptual Reasoning Subscale consists of three visual processing tasks completed against time limits and not requiring the use of language; they include;

      Picture Concepts - requires the child to identify a common concept being described in a series of visually presented clues in the form of familiar object, and to use abstract and domain knowledge.

      Matrix Reasoning – a relatively culture-fair and language-free measure of abstract visual information processing, discrete pattern completion, analogical and serial reasoning and classification.

      Picture Completion - requires identifying essential from non essential detail in pictures of familiar objects. This is an optional additional task that may be used in place of, additional to, the other measures described above.  It involves attention to visual detail, visual scanning and perception, long term visual memory and concentration.


      Working Memory Index:

      Digit Span - this subtest requires the use of auditory memory and attention to a sequence of numbers presented auditorily forwards and backwards.

      Letter-Number Sequencing - involving mental manipulation, attention, short-term memory, visuo-spatial imaging, sequencing and processing speed.

      Mental Arithmetic - requires attention and concentration to reason numerically and carry out mental calculations reliant upon auditory short-term working memory.

      Processing Speed Index:

      Coding - requires the hand-eye co-ordination of copying symbols at speed and motor output with a pencil.  It involves learning ability, visual perception, short-term memory, visual scanning, cognitive flexibility, motivation and attention and visual-motor co-ordination.

      Symbol Search - this subtest requires an ability to identify a symbol among a number of distracter symbols.  It involves short-term visual memory, cognitive flexibility, visual discrimination, visual motor co-ordination and concentration.

      Cancellation subtest – an optional additional subtest that requires the ability to visually scan at speed, visual selective intelligence, visual neglect, and vigilance.

      OTHER PSYCHOMETRIC ABILITY TESTS ADMINISTERED

      The British Ability Scale (BAS), the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence – Third U.K. Edition (WPPSI 111UK), the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Third UK Edition (WAIS 111UK), Wide Ranging Intelligence Test (WRIT) and the Ravens Progressive Matrices are all other measures of intelligence used according to the age of the individual and their particular assessment needs.

       

      From the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children - Third Edition UK

      Picture Arrangement - requires sequencing a series of pictures to tell a story that reflects non verbal social reasoning, sequencing and planning skills, cognitive flexibility and verbal reasoning

      Object Assembly - requires visual spatial planning and visual motor organisation and co-ordination to complete familiar objects presented in pieces.  This subtest relies on attention to visual detail, planning, organisation, visual-motor co-ordination, visual memory, visual synthesis and persistence.

       

      OTHER INFORMATION PROCESSING SKILLS TESTS ADMINISTERED*

      Some, or all of the following tests can be used; selection depends on age, ability and where, from administration of the Wechsler Scale or other ability measures, there is indication that further assessment may be of value.

      MEMORY AND EXECUTIVE PROCESSING SKILLS

      NEPSY-11 Neuropsychological battery for children 3 – 16 years of age.  Subtest include measures for: Attention and Executive Functioning: looks at cognitive flexibility – the ability to find multiple solutions to problems and self-monitoring, also the ability to formulate and implement concepts, give selective and sustained attention, inhibit responses, multitask in working memory, plan and organise.

      Language subtests: identify language delay, word finding difficulties, naming, encoding and decoding phonological information, semantic fluency and knowledge, initial letter fluency and processing speed.

      Memory and Learning: involves rote memory, verbal labelling, expression and comprehension, short term recall, verbal working memory, visuo-spatial memory, recognition memory, delayed or long term recall.

      Sensorimotor: fine motor control and programming, coordination and speed.

      Social Perception: poor facial affect recognition, reading emotional expression in others, exploring belief, intention, deception, emotion, imagination and pretending – issues underlying Theory of Mind.

      Visuo-spatial Processing: visuo-spatial judgement, visuo-constructional skills, mental rotation, perception, orientation, attention to detail, organization, planning and scanning

      Denman Neuropsychology Memory Test - Visual Memory involves Copying a complex abstract design with a pencil, recalling immediately from Short Term Recall and reproducing the same design previously copied after a delay i.e. from Long Term Recall,

      Sentence Repetition - requires repeating exactly sentences of increasing difficulty after a single hearing.

      Visual-Aural Digit Span Test (VADS) - requires recall of numbers presented either aurally or visually, requiring accurate written documentation of what was seen or heard.

       

      HAND-EYE/VISUAL-SPATIAL SKILLS

      Beery –Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration requires copying a series of two-dimensional line drawn designs of increasing complexity, presented on pre-printed sheets and requiring visual motor integration and co-ordination.

      Motor Free Visual Perception Test (MVPT) - requires identifying and selecting through pointing, visual items that require visual discrimination, visual orientation and visual memory.

      Finger Tapping Test – requires finger tapping for a set period of time to establish the level of fine motor skill required to repeat a pattern of action with the fingers.

       

      ATTAINMENT TESTS *

      Wide Range Achievement Test - Revised (WRAT4) Age range from 5 - 75 years

                  Reading Single Words - requires identifying letters and reading single words.

      Reading Comprehension Sentence Completion – requires selecting a word to

       complete a sentence or idea.

                  Spelling - requires writing auditorily presented single words heard as single words (timed).

                  Mathematics – requires completing a range of mathematical problems (timed)

      Holborn or Salford Sentence Reading Tests - require reading sentences out-loud

      One Minute Reading Test evaluates the child's accuracy and speed in reading on a list of graded words.

      Vernon Warden Reading Comprehension Test - requires silently reading a sentence and selecting by underlining one word from a list of five words to complete the sentence.

      Test of Word Reading Efficiency 2nd Edition (TOWRE2) Age range 6 years to Adult

                  Sight Word Efficiency – the ability to read words of increasing difficulty (Timed)

                  Phonemic Decoding Efficiency – the ability to read non-meaningful, phonic words (timed)

      Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – (WIAT II) Ages 4 – 84 years.

                  Word Reading – single word reading

      Reading Comprehension – the ability to read passages and answer questions verbally

      posed (timed).

                  Spelling - requires writing auditorily presented single words heard as single words (timed).

                  Pseudoword Decoding - the ability to read non meaningful, phonic words (timed)

                  Numerical Operations – carrying out tasks involving basic facts related to numerical operations.

                  Numerical Reasoning - carrying out tasks involving basic facts related to geometry, graphs,

                  patterns, algebra, numerical problem solving, standard and non standard measurements,

                  geometrical and spatial reasoning, and theoretical and experimental probability.

                  Word Fluency, Written Expression, Oral Expression and Listening Comprehension are also

                  sub measures of this battery.

      Wechsler Objective Reading Dimensions - (Word) Ages 6 – 16.11 years

                  Basic Reading - requires recognising beginning and ending sounds and reading single words.

                  Reading Comprehension - requires reading passages of increasing difficulty and answering an

                   orally presented, single question on each passage.

                  Spelling - requires writing single words presented orally as single words and also in a sentence

      Phonological Assessment Battery - (PhAB) consists of five measures of phonological processing (the use sounds of words, rather than their meaning or grammatical category) used to identify an individual's level of phonological processing skills.

      Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing 2nd Edition (CTOPP2) consists of six Core measures of phonological processing (the use sounds of words, rather than their meaning or grammatical category) used to identify an individual's level of phonological processing skills, and six Supplemental measures further assessing phonological Processing.

      Included are: Speed of Word, Colour, Number and Object NamingBlending Words, Nonword Repetition, Phoneme Reversals, Blending Nonwords, Segmenting Words and Nonwords are part of the sub skill set.

      Gray Oral Reading Test Fifth Edition – (GORT 5) consists of five measures of Reading Comprehension, Reading Rate, Fluency and Accuracy.  Reading Comprehension requires short-term recall of the story read.

      British Ability Scale (BAS)

                  Basic Number Skills - requires completion of mathematics problems presented in various formats,            but of numerical content only - no reading is required.

      One Minute Addition Test and One Minute Subtraction Test - evaluate the child's accuracy and speed in one minute on simple addition and subtraction.

      Writing Speed – is assessed using various approaches, including the DASH, depending upon the age of the individual.

       *Some but not all of the following may be administered to your child depending upon their age and needs and also used for observation and not necessarily scored.

       



      *Other reading, writing and spelling measures are used according to the age of the individual, and the needs and purpose of the assessment. This is essential where reports are to be provided for courts, tribunals and appeals.
    • If I bring my child for a social-emotional assessment what will happen?
      There is value in doing an assessment with each individual him or herself be they adult or child as well as having a parent, friend or colleague complete some questionnaires. For information about an assessment for an adult go to Organisations + Individuals.

      A psychologist from Learning Insights will work with your child for a couple of hours. On arrival, the initial 10-15 minutes is spent collecting information and ensuring the assessment is going to meet your needs. Thereafter parents/guardians may leave and your child will work with the psychologist for the remainder of the time, taking a refreshment break when needed. Parents/guardians are requested to return at the agreed time when they will be given some verbal feedback on the findings and an indication of what will be contained in the report which follows in approximately two weeks.

      You may wish to have some idea of what your child will be doing during the morning read What sort of tests are used in psychological and educational assessments for children?

      Your child will: do some drawing, answer a couple of questionnaires which they can read for themselves or have read for them, and generally talk about things they like to do, find interesting or perhaps things they are less keen on doing. Children need to be reassured, if necessary that they are not being tested, rather that the psychologist is interested in finding out what they like to do and perhaps not do, what their interests are and how they feel about things such as friends, family, the choices they can make, school, important people, issues and events in their life and so on. It is knowing how they perceive themselves and how they feel about things that will help them better understand themselves and can also help you and those who work with them to understand them better.

      You will be asked to complete some questionnaires which are important documents as they provide essential information about your child. You will also be sent a school questionnaire we request you take to the school to complete if you would like us to have their perspective.

      You will also be asked to bring a copy of any relevant reports (previous assessments if diagnosed with and Language/Physical/Learning Difficulties) you may have. If you have concerns that these may influence the psychologist unduly and you would like a completely independent perspective this can be accommodated.

      Medical insurance companies have accepted claims for fees when a medical consultant has made a referral to a psychologist, but not all do so. Please check with your insurance company.
    • What headings might I find in an assessment report and what is written about under each heading?
      f you think you are interested in knowing more about assessments or learning difficulties/needs (after you have read through this information and some of the other Facts + Questions) click on Parents, Children + Schools or CONTACT US.

      SAMPLE REPORT FROM ASSESSMENT MATTERS :

      Page 1
      EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST''S REPORT
      STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL*
      Name: Your name as an adult or your child’s name
      Date of Birth: 05/05/90
      Address: Chronological Age: 13 yrs 1 mo
      Date of Tests: 05/06/03
      Date of Report: 07/06/03


      SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
      Abilities – a summary description of the individual’s ability
      Pattern of relative strengths and weaknesses – key strengths and vulnerabilities are identified
      Attainments – scores on ability measures including reading, writing, spelling, maths etc.
      Diagnosis – a clear statement of any diagnostic category and implications for intervention/treatment


      Page 2
      BACKGROUND INFORMATION
      This includes information from various sources. For children it includes parents, schools, and the child. Information is sought from schools and other professionals or organizations only with the explicit permission of the individual adult or parent involved.
      For adults, information is taken from them, their organization/manager or anyone else they would like, and can include 360 degree feedback

      OBSERVATIONS
      Clinical observations and descriptions of how the individual applied themselves in the context of the assessment.

      Pages 3 – 6
      RESULTS OF INTELLECTUAL ABILITY SCALES AND OTHER PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS
      A description of the individual’s performance in the following areas is given. Usually each section includes a half to a whole page of text, giving details of how the individual performed and their results.
      Visual Thinking Skills
      Verbal Thinking Skills
      Memory Skills
      Auditory Memory
      Visual Memory
      Memory Summary


      RESULTS OF EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENTS
      A description of the individual’s performance in the following areas is given which includes scores and other relevant information
      Reading
      Writing and Spelling
      Mathematics


      Pages 7 - 8
      SUMMARY
      Other Information
      Overall assessment, evaluations, diagnosis and conclusions are given here, with clear statements for the individual in terms of intervention, recommendations, implications and career guidance for adolescents, adults, schools and workplaces/organisations. Where appropriate information is provided for local authorities for Statements of Special Educational Needs, examination boards and courts, appeals and tribunals.

      Pages - 9 - 14
      APPENDIX A
      RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOUR CHILD''S/YOUR PRESENT LEARNING PROFILE
      Specific items, reading material, web site addresses, contacts, other specialists, and information relating to the individual are further described in a list of bullet points

      APPENDIX B
      OTHER SUBTESTS ADMINISTERED
      Technical results in the form of actual test scores and interpretations are given here and can be detached to permit an independent review (by another psychologist) of an individual’s performance.

      APPENDIX C
      WECHSLER INTELLIGENCE SCALE FOR CHILDREN - THIRD EDITION UK
      Information about the tests used in the assessment and how to interpret the scores is given here.

      APPENDIX D PATTERNS AND CONSEQUENCES OF SOME MORE COMMON PERFORMANCE VULNERABILITIES IN INDIVIDUALS WITH SPECIFIC LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
      As the title indicates, this appendix describes some of the more common consequences of learning difficulties. Once a diagnosis has been given, then this information becomes more helpful.

      *Please note ALL REPORTS ARE TREATED IN STRICTEST CONFIDENCE.

      Reports are only made available to the individual, or parent if a child has been assessed.

      Reports are only made available to other parties with the explicit permission of the individual.

      Similarly no information about the assessment is provided to any other person(s) without explicit permission from the adult or the parent.
    • What does Dyslexia look like?
      Dyslexia, Specific Reading Disability, Developmental Phonological Disorder, Acquired Dyslexia, Poor Reader, Slow Reader, Backward reader, Bad Word Reading are all terms that can refer to a individual, child or adult, who has difficulty with reading and, it may surprise you, with writing, spelling or maths too.

      The more we learn about Dyslexia the more we are beginning to appreciate from the research that dyslexics can find other aspects of learning more difficult because some very core skills are involved.

      At Learning Insights we work on the basis that virtually everyone can read and write, but the key for the dyslexic they cannot read or write to the level of their ability, and as a consequence they are often frustrated in their efforts, find literacy skills hard at school or at work when reading and writing reports, and don’t make the progress in school or pass exams at a level that is often expected of them. At work material is often returned as unsatisfactory or the individual has to take it home and work on it for what seems like hours longer than their colleagues. This is often also true for the child doing homework.

      The reasons for dyslexia are very varied. Some individuals may inherit a gene that causes dyslexia, others have dyslexia and there is no obvious reason why, and others can acquire dyslexia as a result of illness, a head injury and so on.

      If you or your child struggle with reading, writing, spelling or maths, you may have a learning difficulty and it may be dyslexia, dyspraxia or some other diagnosable form of learning difficulty. Also, have a look at some of the other Facts + Questions in this section.

      Below are a list of features that may suggest a learning difficulty like Dyslexia:

      1. Slow generally in reading for understanding
      2. Avoiding reading if you can, even novels
      3. Slower than the peer group learning to read
      4. Needing extra help with English or with reading, writing, spelling or maths
      5. Needing to re-read things to understand the meaning
      6. Find spelling hard
      7. Muddle up the letters in words
      8. Write down numbers in the wrong order, 63 for 36
      9. Find it difficult to write essays or project reports
      10. Can’t express your ideas on paper, but sound good when speaking
      11. Feel muddled and confused when planning a report or essay
      12. Find it hard to follow some conversations, meetings or lectures
      13. Find it difficult to listen to people who talk fast or say too much
      14. Find it hard to say what you actually mean
      15. Find it hard to concentrate and give attention sometimes
      16. Seem to forget where things are, or what you are required to do
      17. Can lose or misplace things
      18. Find it hard to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment.
      19. Find following directions hard
      20. Turn left when you should have turned right
      21. Feel tired and prone to headaches
      22. Feel your eyes get tired
      23. The print jumps about
      24. Generally you don’t feel confident or good about yourself
      25. Lack confidence and avoid certain situations
      26. Find it hard to explain some things about yourself
    • What does Dyspraxia look like?
      Dyspraxia, Developmental Dyspraxia, Developmental Coóordination Disorder, Perceptual-Motor Difficulties, are all ways of referring to Dyspraxia. Dyspraxia is also very like Non-verbal Learning Difficulties (NvLD) and shares many features in common with NvLD, however there are some differentiating features too (see the question in this section; What are Non-verbal Learning Difficulties?).

      Dyspraxia manifests like many other disorders and is a considerable array of different symptoms. No child will have all the symptoms, some may have more than others, and some may be more noticeable/severe than others. Dyspraxics (just as Dyslexics) can be intellectually very able. They do have one major, identifying feature in common, whether their dyspraxic features are more or less evident, all dyspraxics have poor co-ordination. This is due to some problems with the brain transmitting information to various parts of the body. This may be more evident in some children than others. Those with less difficulty with their gross motor skills (walking, running and jumping etc.) are often not diagnosed until later in life. Where fine motor skills are the most troubling and affecting writing, organization and co-ordination, this is often wrongly blamed on poor effort, lack of attention and clumsiness.

      The following list covers the range of symptoms and problems Dyspraxia can cause. Remember an individual may have more or less of these problems, and no individual child will have them all!

      1. Clumsiness
      2. Poor posture
      3. Walk awkwardly
      4. Have difficulty catching a ball
      5. Forget instructions easily
      6. Limited concentration
      7. Handwriting difficulties
      8. Comprehension difficulties
      9. Vulnerable reasoning
      10. Poor organization and planning
      11. Difficulty drawing
      12. Avoids construction toys and puzzles
      13. Limited creative/imaginative play
      14. Sensitive to touch
      15. Poor body awareness
      16. Difficulty holding a pen or pencil
      17. Confusion about which had to use
      18. Poor sense of direction
      19. Difficulty with hopping, skipping, jumping
      20. Difficulty dressing due to balance problems
      21. Phobias or obsessive behaviours
      22. Speech difficulties
      23. Impatience
      24. Sensitive to touch or some materials
      25. Social isolation/peer rejection
      26. Temper tantrums
      27. Low self esteem


      Many children diagnosed with dyspraxia (which can be done by a qualified occupational or physiotherapist) have varied and unpredictable ability and attainment skills. It is difficult to know what their profiles are like and the implications for their learning, unless fully diagnosed by a psychological and educational assessment.
    • What does an Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tourettes, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD), Conduct Disorder (CD) look like?
      We have put these disorders together as they share some behaviours and consequences. However, they are very specific and different disorders, and need careful diagnosis. At Learning Insights we invariably suggest a second opinion if we feel your child’s behaviours look like they fit a pattern consistent with one of the above.

      A major and key element to all these disorders is that a child who has one of them seems unable to stop doing certain things. It is rather like they have a motor driving certain behaviours and no matter how much you ask, nag, plead, demand or even punish….they do not seem able to stop. The following may give you an idea of what this might mean:

      Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD); the child is unable to attend to anything for long, they are like butterflies, moving on to other things but rarely settling to anything. They even find it hard to listen to something important you have to say. They don’t seem to settle to play, to read, to listen, to think or to even talk with people.

      Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); These children are very like the ADD child described above, but they are physically restless. They rarely sit still, they rock in their chairs, roll on the floor, rove around until they are upside down, back to front and invariably in the wrong place at the wrong time. They are very fidgety! They also appear to find it hard to listen, to concentrate or to get their work done. They can also be tetchy, over-reactive, find it hard to work alone or get on with others.

      Tourettes; the most noticeable feature of these children is the emergence of ‘tics’. These are involuntary movements that can occur any where in the body but are more commonly observed on the upper body and particularly the face (eyes and mouth), neck and shoulders. As they grow up, children with Tourettes show patterns of restlessness and over-activity and may use words uncontrollably and unacceptably They can also show patterns of behaviour rather like the ADHD child.

      Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD); children with this condition start to have rituals or sets of behaviours they must complete over and over again. They can become very rigid in the way they do certain things and react strongly if anyone interferes with their routines and patterns of activity. This may show as hand washing (a very common behaviour repeated 20 times a day sometimes) a highly organised routine where certain things must be done a certain way, every night (bathing routines) or morning (bag packing, breakfast eating) before the next activity can be done.

      Conduct Disorder; these children probably fit the diagnosis of having behaviour problems the most completely. These children are often very non-compliant, may refuse to do anything they don’t want to do, are rude, moody, argumentative and even abusive and physically hurtful to parents and siblings. They may shout a lot, break things, react very strongly to only minor incidence and can appear reckless, unthinking and selfish. They can also be ritualistic like the child with OCD described above or have ADHD.

      These children may also have learning difficulties as a consequence of their other disorder. If you have a child who seems not to respond to behaviour management techniques that you have been suggested to try, it may because the way they learn is preventing them from doing what you ask of (teach) them.
    • What are the main components of Non-verbal Learning Difficulties (NvLD)?
      This is a complex and relatively new diagnostic category in England. If you are at all unsure of your child’s current diagnosis, call Learning Insights or go the CONTACT PAGE.

      At Learning Insights Nonverbal Learning Difficulties (NvLD) can be associated with behaviour problems or ‘emotional problems’, where individuals respond with unexpected or inappropriate conduct. NvLD reveals itself in impaired abilities to organise the visual spatial field, adapt to new or novel situations, and/or accurately read non-verbal signs and cues. Students particularly have problems ‘producing’ in situations where speed and adaptability are concerned. NvLD is known to be neurological rather than genetic, deliberate or emotional in origin. Some of the areas of difficulty include Motor - lack of co-ordination, severe balance problems and/or difficulties with fine graphomotor skills; Visual-spatial organization - lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, and /or difficulties with spatial relations, and; Social - lack of ability to comprehend non-verbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions, novel situations and significant deficits in social judgment and social interactions.

      Non-verbal Learning Difficulties (NvLD) can show as difficulties with:

      1. Tactile and visual perception
      2. Psychomotor coordination
      3. Tactile and visual attention
      4. Nonverbal memory
      5. Aspects of reasoning
      6. Decision making
      7. Specific aspects of speech and language


      Attainment wise deficits occur in;

      1. Math calculations
      2. Mathematical reasoning
      3. Reading comprehension
      4. Specific aspects of written language
      5. Handwriting


      Social deficits include;

      1. Problems with social perception and social interaction
      2. Increased risk for internalising anxiety
      3. Low self esteem and low self worth
      4. Social interaction/communication
      5. pragmatics of speech can be effected
      6. pitch
      7. volume


      intonation contour
      other prosodic features
      Rourke, Byron P. (Ed.), (1995), Syndrome of Nonverbal Learning Disabilities: Neurodevelopmental Manifestations, NY: The Guilford Press.
      Tanguay P. (2001) Nonverbal learning difficulties at home: a parents guide
      Stewart K. (2002) Helping a child with Nonverbal learning disorder or Asperger’s syndrome. JKP
    • The Signs and Symptoms of, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Social Communication Disorder
      The diagnosis and differentiation of these sub-categories of disorders that can manifest in the classroom, requires professional diagnosis and at Learning Insights we often recommend a second opinion. Scan down this list of behaviours that may or may not be evident in your child’s behaviour. Remember no child can possibly show all these symptoms!

      If you find you are ticking a fair number of these it may well be worth a conversation.. click CONTACT US.

      Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism spectrum disorders can show as difficulties with:
      1. Restricted repetitive behaviour
      2. Low eye contact
      3. Social anxiety
      4. Lack of common sense
      5. Simultaneous processing of two pieces of information overloads and causes child to ‘shut down’
      6. Poor sense of direction/disorientation
      7. Poor coordination
      8. Poor self/body awareness
      9. Lack of awareness of danger
      10. Required supervision
      11. Social motivation poor
      12. Poor awareness of social cues
      13. Stereotypic/repetitive play patterns and themes
      14. Narrow interest patterns
      15. Resistance to change
      16. Imposition of routines and rituals
      17. Regression or withdrawal
      18. Volatile/quickly-changing emotions
      19. Inability to know when to stop
      20. Over-excitability
      21. History of selective mutism
      22. Egocentrism/egocentricity
      23. Speech and language – delayed
      24. pseudo adult style of language
      25. monotonous/stilted
      26. poor comprehension
      27. poor idiomatic
      28. Attention-seeking
      29. Obsessed with foods/other aspects
      30. Problems can include sleeplessness or problems with sleeping, over-activity, aggressiveness, and a level of regression
      Rita Jordan’ article “Identifying and meeting the special educational needs of pupils with autistic spectrum disorders” reports that children with Aspergers syndrome “may have to be told to memorise or listen in a direct way, may have to have homework specified much more clearly than for others since they may not realise or remember its connection with a lesson, may have a particular difficulty in accepting (and therefore reading) different handwriting, may have particular difficulty accepting certain punishments (e.g. writing lines or detention) when there is no (or less) awareness of having done something “wrong” nor little/any social understanding of the purpose of such activities. There are many more problems that will need consideration, but the real teaching issue is understanding and a willingness to try to take the pupil’s point of view”

      Frith U 1989 Autism: Explaining the Enigma, Oxford, Blackwell
      Howlin P 1998 Psychological and Educational Treatments for Autism Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 39, (3) p307 -322
    • What are the implications of being a Gifted or Talented Child?
      Gifted and talented children do not need to have any difficulties at all. For some children it can unfortunately feel something of a burden. These children are ‘different’ and they are often perceived as different. Differences are often the cause of bullying or teasing. They can simply be the basis for the peer group avoiding a child, or not letting them join in. This is not deliberate, the peer group simply do not ‘understand’ the ways and thinking of the gifted child.

      The consequences for the child can be very varied. They can become very quiet and withdrawn, having learned that when they come forward this is when their differences show, so they learn to hide their talents and abilities and under-perform.

      For some very able children, they can be unaware of their abilities and so say things that again make them different from their peer group. They may ‘talk like an adult’ which means they can appear sarcastic, cheeky or even rude. They do not mean to do this, they are just capable of understanding and using words in advance of their years. What sounds appropriate when spoken by a 17 year old, can sound very inappropriate when said by a 10 year old. This can get them into trouble with their teachers, parents and peers.

      It is very important to remember that whilst a child may be talented and able, they will very likely be emotionally developed only to their actual age. So the eight year old can do 14 year old maths, but he or she gets upset about regular things that all eight year olds get upset about. This can be confusing to parents and teachers especially if the actual nature of the child’s abilities is not fully understood. Sometimes an assessment can be very helpful in this respect, as some guidelines and recommendations can made to manage the child more effectively.

      At Learning Insights we believe assessment can also be useful if a child is seeming to be put off school, doesn’t want to go, complains of being ‘bored’ and you as a parent or teacher feel the child is capable of more, but for some reason you are not seeing this in their performance. Sometimes a learning difficulty can underlie the child’s distress, even in the most able of children which is often a surprise to parents and teachers.

      If any of this rings a bell and is making sense for you, check out Parents, Children + Schools, follow this up with a call to Learning Insights or click on CONTACT US.

      A national network of such locally-based organisations can be contacted at the following address:
      The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), Elder House, Milton Keynes, MK9 1LR; phone 01908
      673677l; helpline 0870 770 3217; website www.nagcbritain.org.uk
      A counselling service is available.
  • Adults
    • Why use psychometrics?
      People make business work. Today’s business is constantly changing so work requires taking more risks. Some find risk a threat; others find it an opportunity. Nurturing and supporting your staff is a prerequisite to business success in the long term. But how are individuals to be understood when they are so complex? And how can they be developed unless they are understood? Learning Insights is the place for making sense for you.

      How can we help you understand the needs of your staff and their impact on the organisation more broadly? By giving you insight into the commonalities, the differences, the strengths and the development needs of the people who make up your workforce. Using objective assessment procedures with individuals and groups is our starting point for a sound diagnosis. Psychometric tests and questionnaires have a place in helping your staff to gain insight and understanding of their preferences, motives, capabilities, competencies and interests: why they behave and respond as they do. Using these techniques, we can help you identify the brightest and the best and develop the potential of both people and the organisation. Psychometric tools can be useful in the service of selection decisions, the assessment of training needs, career development, succession planning and a host of other contexts.

      Contrary to popular belief, there is no magic in psychometric testing. It is merely the application of concentrated and systematic question-asking, analysis and interpretation that would take many hours longer if it were done another way. Used appropriately by qualified practitioners, they can result in a significant improvement to decision making and planning at a much-reduced cost, while enhancing the self-perception and insight of the person being assessed.

      Good advice on psychometric assessment is essential. The British Psychological Society has set standards of competence for practitioners which require them to be able to provide clients with impartial advice about best practice standards of testing and feedback, for a variety of different purposes. A good consultant should be able to advise you about the right tests and questionnaires to measure the qualities you consider important, without being limited to a single supplier or publisher. They should also be licensed to purchase, administer and interpret the tests that they recommend. Finally they should be skilled in adding value to a client’s decision-making about how to apply method and discipline to the art of good human resource management.

      Learning Insights is comprised of highly qualified consultant psychologists with more than 10 years of experience working with blue-chip clients on three continents. We are recognised authorities in assessment for selection and development in the public transport, aviation, rail, financial services, health services, education and the service sector generally, manufacturing, utilities, and other sectors. We work as partners with our clients, helping them to establish in-house competence where required and providing ongoing support and evaluation, as well as developing our own bespoke psychometric tools for the assessment of special qualities.

      Tests and personality measures are objective
      Well-designed tests and personality measures are accurate and reliable. They let you compare individuals against norms and so can guide your selection and training decisions. Whether psychometrics are being used for selection or development programmes, candidates are treated in a standardised manner. This ensures fairness. Guiding you in your choice of appropriate measures further ensures fairness and equality.

      Tests and personality measures are valid
      Research indicates that relevant tests are good predictors of job success, better than interviews and many other alternative methods. Tests and personality questionnaires together with well-structured interviews can result in reliable process, satisfying to both selectors and candidates. Psychometric tools used appropriately can provide powerful, constructive feedback against which personal growth and development can be tracked.

      Tests and personality measures improve efficiency and profitability
      The costs of selection errors are hard to calculate. Often time, effort and resources are invested in an individual or individuals before it becomes evident that a poor selection has been made. The casualties of such a process are both the organisation and the individuals. By reducing selection errors, the organisation can reduce staff turnover, training costs, lost opportunities and stress to individuals. A well-designed selection assessment can minimise the high cost of poor selection, at the same time identifying development and training needs. Sound assessment procedures help take the gamble out of selection, allowing the candidate to better evaluate their appropriateness for the role, at the same time allowing the organisation to identify the resources it will need to maximise the potential of those candidates it selects. Identifying job holders’ learning needs through the use of psychometrics allows an organisation to be proactive in removing hurdles to its development, and more cost-effective through target-specific training.

      Test and personality measures promote and improve opportunities
      Research shows that interviewers are prone to stereotypic judgements thus reducing the accuracy of their assessment of candidates. The use of tests and questionnaires gives the selectors a more objective analysis of the candidates and thus can challenge stereotypic judgements. These same stereotypes influence behaviour at work. Training programmes incorporating feedback from psychometrics can be powerful tools for providing insight into group dynamics, leadership, team-building, customer care, learning styles and personal effectiveness. Equal opportunity and diversity programmes are also well supported by the use of rigorous job analysis and relevant psychometrics.

      Test and personality measures promote your organization
      Psychologists and their tools can bring fear and dread to many individuals. The expectation of feeling judged when passing or failing tests can create a stressful situation that inhibits good performance. Good selection procedures foster confidence and the opportunity to give of your very best. After a successful selection assessment, both the candidate and assessor feel satisfied. The candidate leaves the process feeling well understood and confident in the knowledge that an accurate and balanced assessment of how they match the post can be made. Expertly delivered psychometrics as part of a rigorous selection procedure, designed to bring out the best in people, creates a powerful impression.

      This same quality of care and coherence is key to maximising the value of psychometrics used internally as part of the training and development activities described above.
    • If I want to develop my mine or my staffs managerial skills what do you have to offer?
      At Learning Insights we have a long tradition of assessment and development, and would suggest you look at the question ‘What is contained in a Career Analysis and Assessment report for an adult?’ if you haven’t already.

      Our approach is highly individual and highly personalised as we know full well that no two people are the same. There are some shorter, cost-effective routes to giving staff feedback as part of a group or team and they can work well as a starting point. However, the more senior staff become, the more complex their roles and the more developed their skills, personality, attitudes and approaches. In order to understand fully the nature of their development, their strengths and their vulnerabilities, their growth points and their stumbling blocks, this takes a more intense and in-depth assessment. If feedback is to be accurate, fair, rounded and effective and address the needs of the future for an individual, then their profile has to be explored and understood very fully. We consider ourselves experts in this area and can guarantee you will not be disappointed with either the process or the outcomes.

      Over the years, we have worked with the full range of professionals, executives and directors as well as with the full range of post-holders from the most junior to the most senior of staff, and in every conceivable role, company and in many locations, here in the U.K. and internationally. Happy as we have been to be so far flung and nomadic, we are tending now to specialise in a particular brand of assessment which combines our particular interests in the occupational and developmental aspect of learning, and where these can follow less common, or perhaps we should say, less well know paths of development.

      It is perhaps as a reflection of this occupational-developmental combination that we are used extensively by organizations, companies and individuals needing to gain insight or understanding about their profile, or their staffs’ profiles because in some way or other they are hampering or thwarting the achievement of performance, standards or goals.
    • What model of Performance Review/Appraisal do you advocate?
      The following is the bare bones of an approach we advocate at Learning Insights. Our most straightforward standpoint on any form of feedback is that it is motivating. If it is not, then it may make its impact on some or other aspect of the individual’s thinking or behaviour, but it will be very unlikely to improve their performance in the desired direction.

      An effective feedback mechanism thus reviews performance (review), allows for the identification of strengths (motivating) and those areas needing development (risk management). From this plans are formed, resources for development needs identified and schedules set (development). Only after time has elapsed, is the actual success in achieving those plans evaluated (assessment). Thus we propose that the purpose of performance review will encapsulate these same key ingredients: review, motivation, risk management, development and assessment. This provides an effective and reliable process for supporting the personal and professional development of individual.

      Our proposed model is a competency based one. We work with you as a company/team to identify performance criteria and how to measure them. We then encourage you to explore the benefits of an approach that is highly supportive and yet inspiring in its offer of new challenges.

      One essential ingredient we value as a key to effective feedback, is the climate/culture in which the process is conducted. For feedback to be valued it needs to be provided in a climate of support, respect and appreciation.

      Whilst we consider motivation to be an essential ingredient, we are very clear that it is motivation of a particular sort. There is considerable evidence to suggest that people are more motivated if they are clear about what is expected, and are given regular and constructive feedback about how well they are measuring up to those expectations and standards. People are motivated to do things that make them feel good about themselves.

      People are motivated by working with people who:

      1. Show respect and express confidence in them
      2. Give supportive feedback
      3. Help them develop and learn from their mistakes
      4. Give praise genuinely
      5. Show some interest in the whole person
      6. Make them see how important their contributions are
      7. Demand and expect the best from people


      The process of review is intended to promote and provide all of these. Brown and Leigh (1996) showed that if all these factors are in place, the psychological climate in the workplace is so positive that it directly affects the amount of involvement, time and effort that people put in to their work - and their performance is boosted as a result.

      Our approach to peer reviews therefore reflects this evidence and is predicated on the notion of making sense for you. This means; making time to listen, ask questions, understand, be clear about what is expected, give feedback which is insightful, constructive, informative, balanced and encouraging and helps people to develop, and provides guidance when problems arise. If the climate and approach is right, performance review will make sense for you.
    • I have been off work/have a health related problem/been injured/have lost my job, can I be assessed by a psychologist for a psychological (and educational assessment)?
      You may need one or more of the following assessments. After you have read through this information check out Organisations + Individuals or click on CONTACT US.

      Services from Learning Insights to adults are strictly confidential. Contacts with organisations and other sources of information are made only with the expressed wishes of the individual wishing an assessment (hereafter referred to as the assessee). Any forms requiring completion are passed through the assessee. Written reports are only made available to the assessee who it is hoped will provide their organization line manager with a copy. Copies of reports are not made available to anyone else except with written permission from the assessee.

      In court, appeals and tribunal situations the report is again made available to the individual who is being assessed, and they are requested to forward a copy to the appropriate body. If permission is given by the individual, then the report can be sent directly to whomever they wish to receive it.

      ABILITY ASSESSMENTS
      Full ability assessments take up to three hours with the assessee. Further time is made available for discussion. A detailed personal history is obtained. The assessment content and time varies depending upon the ability of the individual and the nature of questions the assessee/organisation seek answers for. A detailed written report is provided. Where requested, we liaise with organisations and other professionals related to the assessee''s needs, refer the assessee to other educational, medical or professional specialists, and indicate where resources and other facilities can be obtained. Further copies of written reports are only made available with written permission from the adult assessed.

      ABILITY AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT ASSESSMENTS
      These assessments involve some structured and some unstructured activities over a day, and are of value where factors in addition to learning difficulties may be the source of concern for the individual or the organization. The approach is two-pronged. One to identify any learning needs (as above) and two, to identify values, motivations, attitudes, learning styles, personality, career moves and experiences to date that have formed the individual thus far. From this a full assessment of the implications of any identified learning difficulties and future career development needs can be explored. A written report is provided in two sections. Section one provides information about learning difficulties, while section two describes the career development needs based on the assessment of the individual in the context of their present work and role in the organisation. Both sections, or only section two can be made available to the organisation/line manager for discussion. Time is made available for discussion with the assessee in a second feedback session when they are provided with their report.

      CONSULTATIONS AND SITE VISITS
      Fees are based on an hourly rate. Consultations are usually made available on an hourly basis to provide an opportunity to observe directly, meeting time for discussion and feedback. Additional consultations following assessments of an individual are available and are pro rated at an hourly rate. These can be either by phone or by appointment at our consultation rooms. Travel costs to sites and subsistence are additional.

      Medical insurance companies have accepted claims for fees when a medical consultant has made a referral to a psychologist, but not all do so. Please check with your insurance company.
    • What happens at a psychological-educational assessment if I am an adult?
      There is value in doing an assessment with each individual, be they adult or child as well as having a parent, friend or colleague complete some questionnaires. (For information about an assessment for a child go to the childrens’ folder in this section).

      It is suggested you bring someone with you if it would be helpful. They can go off for a cup of coffee/tea/shop while the psychologist works with you, and then they can return and hear the results with you if you would find this helpful.

      A psychologist will work with you for a couple of hours. The initial 10-15 minutes is spent collecting information and ensuring the assessment is going to meet your needs. Thereafter you will work with the psychologist for the remainder of the time, taking a refreshment break when needed. You may request your friend/colleague return at an agreed time when you will be given some verbal feedback on the findings and an indication of what will be contained in the report which follows in approximately two weeks.

      You may wish to have some idea of what you will be doing during the morning. You will: identify missing parts in pictures, define some words, compare some words, answer some questions of a very general nature, copy some designs with blocks, do some drawing, copy some shapes and a little reading, writing and maths. The morning is enjoyable as it is full of variety and you need to be reminded you are not being tested to see if you can be tripped up! Rather the psychologist is interested in finding out what you like to do and find easy, and what is harder for you to do. It is knowing how you do things (not whether you get things right or wrong), that will help them, and you, better understand yourself and your needs now, and possibly in the future.

      You may be asked to complete some other types of questionnaires which relate more to personality and work style approaches and can be helpful if you are experiencing feelings of loss, anxiety or depression.

      You will be sent some questionnaires which are important documents as they provide essential information about you. You are asked to fill out the questionnaires and return them to the office. You will also be sent a questionnaire to give a manager/supervisor if you would like to have their perspective. This is entirely up to you. You complete a matched questionnaire which provides us with the opportunity for seeing how you see yourself and your behaviours, and how others see you.

      If you have been previously assessed, any documentation related to the assessment(s) would be most helpful to better identify your needs at this assessment. If you have concerns that previous results may influence any subsequent assessment, then only the names of any tests administered and when is quite adequate. Also if speech, physiotherapy or vision assessments have been carried out copies of any reports would also be helpful. Also a copy of your job description and/or person specification, and contract of employment would be helpful to let us assess your abilities against company/work/role expectations.

      You are encouraged to write or tell us anything to help describe what your needs are from this assessment.

      We only communicate with your workplace or any other person with your clear permission beforehand.
    • What is contained in a Career Analysis and Assessment report for an adult?
      Page 1
      A list of the psychometric tests, personality measures, and work and managerial style questionnaires that have been used is provided

      Page 2
      Describes how you need to interpret and use the findings in the report that follows.

      Page 3 - 5 –
      Provides a description of the results of the psychometric testing, the questionnaires and the in-depth interview under the following headings.

      Experience
      Where you have worked, what you got out of these work experiences, what you learned about yourself and what you would like to do more of and thereby less of, as a result of these experiences.

      Energy, drive and motivation
      How you use your energy, what motivates you and therefore encourages you to work harder and better, and what you are aiming for. What you are seeking to achieve and how will you know when you have reached your goals.

      Work style and values
      What makes you feel good at work. What you value, how you go about your work, whether you like a more detailed approach or perhaps like to be strategic. What sort of work habits you have.

      Emotional stability and maturity
      How able you are to cope with the peaks and troughs of work, or the people around you. How you respond to stress and demands. How robust and resilient are you and what can get you down.

      Analytical power
      How able you are to reason using language skills and logic, and numerical reasoning and numerical operations. How this might manifest in your particular post or one you seek to hold.
      How good are you at decision making and forming sound judgments. Can you use intuition.

      Interpersonal style
      How you engage and interact with people in conversations and meetings. How easy you find it to be with people and what makes this easier or harder for you.

      Persuasive power
      How you influence and persuade people. Can you delegate and facilitate, negotiate, bargain, collaborate. Can you influence as much up as down, and who do you want to influence more.

      Page 6 -7
      Strengths, limitations and development needs
      Depending on the purpose of the report, these can be done as separate appendices and thus can be separated from the rest of the text, so the body of your report can remain private and confidential.
      Development needs for you in your role in the organisation to address
      Development needs for you personally as an individual.
    • What sort of tests are used in a psychological and educational assessment for adults with learning difficulties?
      If you think you are interested in knowing more about other types of assessments offered by Learning Insights (after you have read through this information and some of the other Facts + Questions), click on CONTACT US.

      The Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – 1V UK (WAIS – 1VUK) is a standardised, reliable and valid measure of intellectual ability, which has been normed on a large population and thus allows comparison of an individual's performance against those of similar age. It can be given to adults between 16 and 74 years.

      It has 15 subtests (described below) of which three or four are used to assess and calculate a verbal intellectual ability - Verbal Comprehension Index, three to calculate memory ability Working Memory Index and five which are used to assess and calculate visual reasoning – Perceptual Reasoning Index. Three subscales are used to assess Processing Speed Index.

      The Verbal and Visual-Performance Subscale can be combined to give a Full Scale Cognitive Intellectual Ability score or Intelligence Quotient (I.Q.). However where there is a significant difference in scores between the verbal and perceptual reasoning I.Q.s, a full scale I.Q. is not reported as to do so would mask the difference between the two I.Q.s. The phrase Not Appropriate to Report is used. Such discrepancies are common in individuals with specific learning difficulties/dyslexia.

      Individual Scale Scores vary from 1 - 19 for these tests. Average scores on the WAIS – 1V range from 7 - 13 and fall within the ranges described as Low Average, Average and High Average. High and Exceptionally describe the ranges above high average and Low and Exceptionally Low describe the ranges below low average.

      The Verbal, Perceptual Reasoning and Full Scale I.Q.s are useful in that they identify the overall potential an individual may have, however the more valuable aspect of the Wechsler scale lies in the various subtests described below that make up the scale.

       VERBAL SUBSCALE

      The Verbal Subscale consists of seven subtests that require the use of language without the use of aids or materials; Information, Similarities, Arithmetic, Vocabulary, Comprehension, Digit Span and Number-Letter Sequencing. Comprehension, Digit Span and Number-Letter Sequencing are not used to calculate the Verbal IQ. The Verbal Comprehension Index is calculated using Vocabulary, Similarities and Information (Comprehension being a supplemental subtest) while the Working Memory Index uses Arithmetic and Digit Span (Number-Letter Sequencing being a supplemental subtest used only on ages 16 -69 years).

      Information Subtest - requires the recall of general facts and figures across a broad range of topics.

      Similarities Subtest - requires verbal logical reasoning or verbal concept formation involving abstract reasoning.

      Vocabulary Subtest - requires defining words presented auditorily and thus involves a conceptual grasp of word meanings and an ability to express oneself through language.

      Comprehension Subtest - requires verbal, social judgement formation, the use of practical knowledge, common sense and knowledge of conventional standards of behaviour.

      Digit Span Subtest - requires the use of auditory memory and attention for a sequence of numbers presented auditorily. Recall is required for numbers both forwards and backwards. The former requires simple recall of a sequence of numbers heard, whereas recalling numbers backwards requires active manipulation of the information for verbal recall.

      Working Memory Index

      Mental Arithmetic - requires attention and concentration to reason numerically and carry out mental calculations reliant upon auditory short-term working memory.

      Letter-Number Sequencing - requires the use of auditory memory and attention for sequences of numbers and letters requiring reordering, again active manipulation for verbal recall.

       PERCEPTUAL REASONING SUBSCALE

      The Perceptual Reasoning Subscale consists of seven hand eye tasks completed against time limits and not requiring the use of language, they include; Picture Completion, Picture Arrangement, Matrix Reasoning, Block Design, Digit Symbol – Coding, Object Assembly and Symbol Search. The Perceptual Reasoning Index is calculated using the first three subtest and not Figure Weights or Picture Completion. The Perceptual Reasoning Index is calculated using, Block Design, Matrix Reasoning and Visual Puzzles. (Picture Completion and Figure Weights being supplemental subtests, Figure Weights being used only on ages 16 -69 years).The Processing Speed Index is calculated using Digit-Symbol – Coding and Symbol Search. (Cancellation being a supplemental subtest, used only on ages 16 -69 years).

      Block Design - requires analysis and synthesis of abstract two-dimensional designs using blocks. This task requires the ability to discriminate line orientation and visual planning and organization. Individuals with reversal problems can have difficulty on this task.

      Matrix Reasoning – requires analysis and synthesis of abstract two-dimensional designs to identify an appropriate option from one of five choices to complete a visual problem.

      Visual Puzzles – requires combining three images to form a completed whole, however this requires mental configuring of the options, as it is presented in 2D.  It measures quantitative (using deductive and inductive logic) and analogical reasoning.

      Figure Weights – the is a supplemental subtest, requiring  a view of a scale with a missing weight(s) thus requiring selection of the option that keeps the scales balanced.  It is a quantitative reasoning task involving reasoning processes that can be expressed mathematically, emphasising deductive or inductive reasoning.

      Picture Completion – another supplemental subtest, requiring identifying essential from non-essential detail in pictures of familiar objects. This task therefore requires attention to detail.

      Digit Symbol - Coding requires the hand eye co-ordination of copying symbols at speed and motor output with a pencil against time limits. It requires skills similar to those required when copying from the blackboard or from overheads i.e. manipulating symbols at speed.

      Symbol Search - this is an additional subtest and requires an ability to identify a symbol among a number of distracter symbols also against a time limit.

      (Picture Arrangement – is retained from the WISC 111UK as it is a useful measure and requires sequencing a series of pictures to tell a story that reflects non- verbal social reasoning. This task therefore requires visual sequencing).

      OTHER PSYCHOMETRIC TESTS ADMINISTERED

      Some or all of the following tests can be used, selection depends on age, ability and where there is indication that further assessment may be of value. All the tests described in this section are normed, and administered using standardized procedures.

      Wechsler Memory Scale Third Edition (WMS111UK)

      Logical Memory involves Short-Term Recall - requires listening to a short story and recalling this same story verbally immediately after hearing it.

      Long-Term Recall - requires recalling the same story verbally as previously heard but after a delay.

      Family Pictures involves recall of visual spatial relations

      Verbal Paired Associations involves recall of paired words in a memory building exercise

      Faces looks at facial recognition and memory skills.

      Denman Neuropsychology Memory Test - Visual Memory

      Copying - this task requires copying a complex abstract design with a pencil.

      Short-Term Recall - requires reproducing immediately the design previously copied.

      Long-Term Recall - requires reproducing after a delay, the same design as previously copied.

      Denman Neuropsychology Memory Test - Auditory Memory

      Short-Term Recall - requires listening to a short story and recalling this same story verbally immediately after hearing it.

      Long-Term Recall - requires recalling the same story verbally as previously heard but after a delay.

      Sentence Repetition - requires repeating exactly sentences of increasing difficulty after a single hearing.

      British Ability Scale – Visual Memory

      Immediate Visual Recall – requires visually scanning an array of line drawn objects for a set period of time and then verbally recalling the items observed with a set time limit

      Delayed Visual Recall- requires verbally recalling after a delay, the same items observed in the immediate recall task described above.

      Beery Buktenica Edition 5; developmental test of visual motor integration (norms for children and adults.

       ATTAINMENT TESTS

      These tests are used to assess the level of literacy and mathematics skills attained. It should be noted when testing for Reading Accuracy attainment that this skill does not continue to reflect chronological age after approximately 13 years 9 months. For spelling a Spelling Age of 12 years 6 months is considered the minimum necessary for GCSE level. Reading Comprehension is assessed up to approximately a chronological age of 19 years. These performance ages should be borne in mind when interpreting the presented results.

      Where Percentiles are given the 50th Percentile is considered average ie. age appropriate. Where percentile scores are very discrepant from the average an age equivalent figure may be given as well.

      Wide Range Achievement Test - Revised (WRAT-4) Age range 5 - 75 years

      Reading- requires identifying letters and reading single words.

      Spelling - requires writing single words presented auditorily as single words but also in a sentence.

      Mathematics – requires completing a series of mathematics problems covering a range of different calculations, in varied question and answer formats including written problems. This is a timed measure.

      Non Word Decoding Test requires reading ‘non-sense’ words that has the reader decode phonic sounds while not distracted or aided by familiarity or meaning.

      Holborn Sentence Reading - require reading out loud sentences.

      TOWRE2 Sight Word Efficiency Test requires reading one, two and three syllable words for 45 seconds to establish reading speed Age range 6 – 24.11 yrs and can be qualitatively for older subjects.

      TOWRE2 Phonemic Decoding Efficiency Test requires reading one, two and three syllable nonsense words for 45 seconds to establish reading speed. Age range 6 – 24.11 yrs and can be qualitatively for older subjects.

      Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – (WIAT II) Ages 4 – 84 years.

      Word Reading – single word reading

      Reading Comprehension – the ability to read passages and answer questions verbally

      posed (timed).

      Spelling - requires writing auditorily presented single words heard as single words (timed).

      Pseudoword Decoding - the ability to read non meaningful, phonic words (timed)

      Numerical Operations – carrying out tasks involving basic facts related to numerical operations.     Numerical Reasoning - carrying out tasks involving basic facts related to geometry, graphs, patterns, algebra, numerical problem solving, standard and non standard measurements, geometrical and spatial reasoning, and theoretical and experimental probability.

      Word Fluency, Written Expression, Oral Expression and Listening Comprehension are also sub measures of this battery.

      Adult Reading Test (ART) A passage reading out loud test with questions.  Age range 16 – 55 yrs

      YORK is a battery of measures to include spoonerisms, passage reading and précis writing of the passage, nonsense passage reading, spelling , free writing, copying writing and proofing to identify features of Dyslexia in adulthood.

      Vernon Warden Reading Comprehension Test - requires silently reading a sentence and selecting by underlining one word from a list of five words to complete the sentence. This measure is timed for ten minutes but the testee may continue beyond this time limit if able to complete further items. The findings are reported as two separate results - Timed and Untimed.

      Phonological Assessment Battery - (PhAB) consists of five measures of phonological processing (the use sounds of words, rather than their meaning or grammatical category) used to identify an individual's level of phonological processing skills. Some or all of the measures may be used. Other phonological tests may also be used for both adults and children.

      Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP2) consists of six Core measures of phonological processing (the use sounds of words, rather than their meaning or grammatical category) used to identify an individual's level of phonological processing skills, and six Supplemental measures further assessing phonological Processing (5 years – 24:11).

      Vernon Graded Arithmetic - Mathematics Test (Junior or Senior Version) -requires completing a series of mathematics problems covering a range of different calculations, in varied question and answer formats including written problems.

    • What should I do if I have concerns that a Colleague has learning difficulties?
      It is important that adults feel they are in control of their lives. Individuals with possibly undiagnosed learning difficulties may well already feel less in control of their lives. The effect of a learning difficulty is that you often cannot predict your own performance, and you become very unsure of your abilities. This can give you high levels of performance anxiety (see the question in this section about performance anxiety) cause you to feel you have to work much harder than your peers, and still make mistakes or feel you achieve less. The consequence is you often feel very anxious that there is something not quite right and that you will be ‘found out’. Such individuals often have low self-esteem and little confidence, can take feedback very poorly and tend to be somewhat reactive and irritable. Someone proposing they have learning difficulties can be the last straw and feel very exposing.

      You can of course make a direct suggestion to your colleague to have a look at a web-site such as this. On the other hand, if they do not seem able to accept they may be struggling or having difficulties in some way, then this may be an issue about performance feedback.

      A conversation with us at Learning Insights may be helpful for you. You will not be asked for any personal information about yourself, your circumstances or the colleague you are thinking about. We can talk confidentially and anonymously if that is more reassuring. We will talk with you in broad and general terms, in a completely de-personalised way, nevertheless hopefully furnish you with enough information to help you decide on what you can and cannot appropriately do as a next step.