Assessment Information

Thank you for your interest in assessment services with Riverlands Therapy Services. Please see our information below, to assist in your decision making about what you may need, or to let you know what to expect if you have something booked with us.

If you have further questions after reading this information, please do not hesitate to contact us via the Riverlands office on 02 4731 8111 or via our contact page.

My child or young person needs an assessment for school, where do I start?

There are many different types of assessment. It is important to know what you, or your school are looking for. Most commonly, the request will be for a Cognitive assessment (reviewing cognitive function / IQ) or a form of Behavioural assessment (investigating a developmental diagnosis such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) but there are other possibilities as well, so it is important to find a clear picture of what the expectations the school have for this process.

Would it be better to see a Psychiatrist for the assessment + prescribing of medication?

If medication is your primary objective, then going directly to the Psychiatrist for diagnosis and prescription would likely be more efficient. If diagnosis and/or therapy is the primary objective, it is more likely that a psychologist is the more efficient testing option. Either party will benefit from receiving the report produced by the other professional, as part of their assessment process.

Can a GP prescribe for medication for ADHD based on an assessment?

No. Only Psychiatrists and Paediatricians prescribe medication for ADHD in NSW.

What would the benefits of getting an assessment be over going to a psychiatrist first?

It depends on the reason for referral. An ADHD diagnosis can be taken into consideration in academic settings (Uni, TAFE or school and can be used to justify receiving special adjustments or adaptations in exams or assessments). If the individual is struggling academically then we’d usually recommend we do a cognitive assessment as well as assess for ADHD to identify if there are any cognitive weaknesses that are contributing to this issue. Specific learning disabilities (also known as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Dyscalculia) are sometimes misdiagnosed as ADHD, but the underlying reason for the difficulty is different and needs to be treated differently.

Also, if you have a less “typical” presentation of ADHD (e.g. not a hyperactive male child) a psychiatrist may be less likely to identify this in a brief appointment with you. A formal ADHD assessment gathers information from multiple sources and uses standardised measures to assess your experience relative to the broader population. Whilst the Psychiatrist will still make their own determination, it can be helpful to go in with documentation to help articulate your experience.

How much will my assessment cost?

The cost of assessments vary depending on what is being assessed, and which tests are used.
Unfortunately, cognitive assessments are not covered by Medicare referrals and no government rebate applies. Some private health providers offer a partial rebate for assessments depending on your individual cover, and it is best to speak directly with your provider if you would like to utilise this option.

A partial Medicare rebate applies for ASD assessments for clients under 25 years of age who are referred by a Paediatrician or Psychiatrist. For more information please click here.

NDIS participants may be eligible to claim the full cost of cognitive and/or ASD assessments from their NDIS plan if the assessment aligns with their identified NDIS goals. This option is available only to self-managed or plan-managed NDIS participants as Riverlands Therapy Services is not a NDIS registered provider.

I need an adult assessment.

This requires no referral from a GP or any other professional, simply a clear picture of what the presenting concern is so we can perform the most appropriate test items to the presenting concern.

Pre-assessment appointment required

We like to book a one-hour initial appointment prior to booking the actual assessment, to meet with your therapist and discuss assessment needs. A brief developmental history will be taken, you can discuss the presenting issue and referral questions. You will be advised what tools would be most appropriate, how much time it should take, and provide a quote for the assessment. If this proposal is agreed to, an appointment is made for the assessment. If the assessment is for a child, this initial appointment is solely with the parent/adult.

If I have an assessment booking, what do I do beforehand?

For children/teens:
You may receive an online questionnaire to complete in preparation for your/your child’s assessment providing background information about yourself/your child. At this stage of the assessment, we also ask permission to contact either a teacher (child assessments) or someone close to you (adult assessments) for their input and observations. Depending on your reason for referral you may also receive additional online questionnaires (e.g. to assess symptoms of ADHD, independent functioning skills, emotional and behavioural presentation, and/or symptoms of ASD).

For adults, depending on the assessment purpose, you may need to provide a third party (such as a parent, partner or family member) who is also available to complete some assessment items, usually electronically. You may also receive some questionnaires to complete before the assessment date.

If you have previous reports from other professionals or a referral letter, please either email a copy to the office before your appointment or bring them along on the day.

What happens on the day of the assessment?

IQ and academic assessments involve working one on one with your therapist to complete a series of standardised activities. They may use the Wechsler assessment tools (WISC-V, WIAT-IV or WAIS-IV). IQ assessments typically take around 90 minutes to complete and academic assessments take around 60 minutes to complete, although the time taken varies depending on individual factors. There are plenty of opportunities for rest breaks along the way as needed. If you/your child are doing an IQ and an academic assessment these will be conducted on two separate days (2x 2-hour sessions). Children are generally happy to complete the assessments without a parent in the room, knowing the parent is close by in the reception area. However, children’s needs are assessed on a case-by-case basis and if needed we can accommodate a parent remaining in the assessment room.

ASD assessments involve the use of the ADOS or MIGDAS 2.0, a sensory based interview with the child/adult and completion of the ADI-R standardised interview with a parent or someone close to the individual being assessed. The MIGDAS typically takes 60 minutes to complete and the ADI-R between 90 and 120 minutes. The face-to-face assessments are completed over two sessions (2×2 hours).

What happens after the assessment appointments?

Once all relevant information (including questionnaires) has been gathered by your therapist, they will compile the information into a report. The report will provide an interpretation of the information gathered, recommendations for how to support the individual moving forward and, if appropriate, make any appropriate diagnoses. We aim to have reports available within four weeks of the completion of the assessment and receipt of all relevant questionnaires. Once your report has been completed you will also be offered a one-hour appointment to go through the results and discuss any questions you may have.