What is a child psychologist and what does a child psychologist do at the Listen And Learn Centre in Melbourne?
A child psychologist is a person who has specialised training and experience in Educational and Developmental Psychology, and works with children through to teenagers, evaluating, diagnosing and helping resolve issues that are associated with the physical, cognitive, emotional, psychological, academic and social development of an individual.
Some parents are unsure whether to be concerned about their child’s difficulties or whether to view them as part of the range of typical development. Child psychology can shed light on this issue by focussing on the developmental stages of individuals from pre-birth through to adolescence, while at the same time recognising their unique qualities and the context within which they live and learn.
At the Listen And Learn Centre, the child psychologist undertakes evaluations for a variety of difficulties and disorders, including attention difficulties, learning problems, memory difficulties, poor listening, social and interpersonal concerns, stress, anxiety, fear, lack of self-esteem, bullying, withdrawn behaviours, low motivation and study skills.
The evaluation process may take many forms, including the use of the most recent and golden standard normed tests that evaluate the child or teenagerâ€™s cognitive (intelligence) and academic abilities (e.g. reading, writing and maths)as well as attention, both short term and working memory skills, auditory processing abilities, speech and language skills, neurophysiological functioning and movement. In addition, the individualâ€™s emotional, social and psychological wellbeing may be explored, through questionnaires, play based skills, reflective conversations, informal discussions and observations. A thorough history is obtained from parents or carers and teachers, and may, where needed, include childcare, kinder or school visits.
At the Listen And Learn Centre, the child psychologist also has the capacity to evaluate the individual for a particular disorder, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Specific Learning Disorders (such as dyslexia), Developmental Delays, signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder, Anxiety and other disorders or difficulties, that can affect the psychological, emotional, social and educational progress and development of the individual.
When needed, the centre also uses QEEG assessments or EEG brain map (a quantitative electroencephalogram assessment) to enhance the diagnostic evaluation. As we enter a new era of psychiatry, neurology and psychology, this investigation of how an individualâ€™s brain systems works when compared to a normed database (for example, using The Human Brain Institute – HBI, Reference Database), provides a new method of analysis in a clinical setting.
The assessment process is co-clinician (with another psychologist or speech and language pathologist) and following this, a profile of the child or teenagerâ€™s abilities and difficulties is obtained, and a proposed plan of intervention is drawn up and discussed with parents during the written report feedback meeting.
From this comprehensive evaluation process, a written report based on the findings of the assessment (including both formal and informal testing) is provided. The report includes recommendations, intervention programs, and a plan of action that is specific to the child or teenager. Recommended interventions may encompass a range of programs such as technology based interventions to address and improve literacy, memory, attention skills, motor planning and other, and assistance may also include individual counselling, or social skills training, parenting and behaviour management, as well as family, childcare, kinder and school support providing assistance with individual learning plans, transitioning, behaviour management and school readiness.
Recommendations are intended to assist in the creation of a plan of action with specific goals, timeframes, and re-testing and reviews, to monitor the individualâ€™s progress.
Counselling techniques are selected according to a childâ€™s developmental age and presenting difficulties, and may include the use of play, art or music. Counselling with older children and teenagers may also encompass role-playing and talk therapy targeted to their individual needs.
The Listen And Learn Centre strives to help young people with their educational, social-emotional, behavioural difficulties and overall development, by being up to date with research, assessment tools, diagnosis and evidence-based interventions, and our principal objective is to provide a high quality service that aims to understand, evaluate and assist our young client population, their families and their support systems.
The psychologists at the Listen And Learn Centre are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and are members of the Australian Psychological Society. Rebates are available through Medicare under the Better Outcomes in Mental Health Initiative and/or through private health funds as part of Extras Cover (Psychology). A referral through a General Practitioner or Paediatrician is needed for rebates claimed under Medicare. The Listen And Learn Psychology services are registered with the Department of Social Services (DSS), Helping Children with Autism Package and Better Start for Children with a Disability.
Psychologists working within schools providing cognitive assessments and counselling, often refer to the Listen And Learn Centre for specialised assessments due to our broad expertise.