We conduct assessments to:

1. Identify the child’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses

2. Identify if a child has a Specific Learning Disability (SLD)

3. Make recommendations on the best way to teach and support the child

Our Method:

– We assess clients using the model the Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses. This is researched as the most efficient way of providing information for remediation. In our assessment, we assess for basic processes as well as academic areas.

– An older model of diagnosis based on the discrepancy between ‘potential’ and ‘achievement’ has been largely discredited, due to difficulties separating and measuring these constructs. While the Discrepancy model can indicate if a child is under performing academically, it is unable to tell us why.

Types of Assessments

A Full Learning Assessment consists of 2 parts - an intellectual assessment and a battery for Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD):

1. Intellectual Assessment
We use the Wechsler Series of Intelligence testing (depending on age) or the Woodcock-Johnson IV test of cognitive abilities. These tests identify the client’s strengths and weaknesses in different areas. Most clients enjoy this session as its activities are varied and does not involve reading and writing.

2. SLD Battery 
The battery, originally compiled by Dr Jean Seabrook, covers many areas that have been identified by research as involved in an SLD. The test administered may vary somewhat according to the student’s age, presenting problems and abilities. Areas covered include: coordination, sequencing, visual perception, memory, phonological awareness, naming speed and graphophonic integration; handwriting, reading, spelling and/or maths as necessary.

Special Assessment Conditions for High School NCEA
For high school students seeking Special Assessment Conditions (SAC), the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT-III) and other relevant tests will be used to look at academic achievement scores.

Assessments for Adults 
Adults may be referred for assessments by tertiary institutions, workplaces, or other agencies.  A full or partial assessment can be completed dependent on individual requirements. Self-referrals are also welcomed.

Additional Assessments
When relevant, we may include other questionnaires/ psychometrics that screen for attention difficulties (Conners 3), adaptive functioning (ABAS), and language difficulties (CELF-5)

What happens during the assessment?

A full assessment consists of two sessions (IQ and SLD).

Many children enjoy the first session of the assessment (IQ) as it does not involve reading or writing. Activities are varied. 

The second session (SLD battery) involves academic-related skills that are fundamental to literacy and numeracy. The tests administered will vary somewhat according to the age of your child, presenting problems and performance on earlier items.

Each session may last between 1 to 2 hours depending on the individual. If the two sessions are booked on the same day, a short break between sessions will be provided. Break times may vary from 15-30 min depending on the individual.

At the end of the last assessment, a feedback session is offered to parents/individuals (if adults) to provide a summary of initial findings and discuss any concerns. Additional screening tools will also be offered if deemed necessary to further investigate potential difficulties. 

Clients are welcome to visit the Centre beforehand if your child may be anxious in new situations. You may also be able to meet the assesor prior to the assessment. While the assessor will explain to both you and your child what will be done during the actual assessment, they will work with your child alone.

What happens after the assessment?

You will be sent a written report of the assessment. 

The report contains:

  • detailed results of the testing
  • recommendations for teachers trained in the teaching of students with SLD (e.g. specialist tutoring)
  • recommendations for the student’s school to accommodate their learning disability

If you have any questions after you receive the report, please email these to the Centre at no additional cost. However, if you require a meeting (phone or in-person) there will be a charge (please see Our Fees list).

Teachers with training in the teaching of students with SLDs will be able to use the information in the report to design an individualised programme for the student.

School age students may find their school can offer some specialised tuition at school. Please share the report with the school’s Learning Support Co-ordinator or Special Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and ask for advice.

The Seabrook McKenzie Centre has a number of specialised tutors affiliated with it. If you have a formal report from us, we may be able to refer you to a tutor in your locality. 

Other follow-up options:

Costs of our services can be found here.