Our assessment team is contracted by the Department of Education to provide cognitive and language assessments for students in Victorian government schools. These assessments assist schools and families to understand the educational support needs of students with an intellectual disability or severe language disorder with high functional needs.
These assessments provide information to support:
Further support and information about whether an assessment is appropriate can be obtained from your Regional Disability Coordinator and Regional Implementation Team.
Referrals are accepted from Victorian government schools. If parents, kindergartens or early intervention services think a child might be eligible for an assessment through our service they should contact the school that child is attending or will be attending.
Referrals can be made by calling our team on (03) 9678 5100. Please ensure you have verbal consent from the parent/carer to share information about the student with us. As well as the student’s personal details, we will ask some questions about the student’s history, current needs and presentation. If there is enough information to show that the student may have an intellectual disability or severe language disorder with high functional needs, we will email you a referral pack. Further details about the referral process can be found on our main web-page.
Yes. To make the referral you must have obtained verbal consent from the parent/carer to share details about the student with us.
We will provide a formal written consent form with the referral pack. This must be signed and returned before we can look at all the referral documents you send to us. Informed consent is essential – the parent/carer must be clear why you are referring to us, for example, you think their child might have an intellectual disability. This consent form is a legal document and must be signed by a person who is authorised to make decisions about the child. If this is not the parent, we need documentation to show the person signing can make school-based decisions for the child.
No. Our assessment team can only conduct cognitive and/or language assessments where there is sufficient evidence provided to us that the student is likely to have an intellectual disability or severe language disorder with high functional needs.
Where a paediatrician or other professional has recommended a cognitive assessment, the reasons for the request should be discussed with the child’s family to determine whether a referral to this assessment service is appropriate . The school may contact our team on (03) 9678 5100 if they are unsure of the most appropriate referral pathway.
Our assessors can only conduct assessment where there is information to support the student being likely to have an intellectual disability or severe language disorder with high functional needs. Your Regional Disability Coordinator may be able to suggest other service options where this is not the case.
Once our assessment team has received all the referral documents, we will review the information provided to determine if an assessment through our service is appropriate.
When a referral proceeds to assessment, it is allocated to one of our psychologists and/or speech pathologists. They will contact you by phone or email to set up an assessment date and time that is mutually agreeable. The assessment usually happens within three weeks of us receiving all the completed referral documents.
You will usually receive a written report within three weeks of the assessment date.
If a referral does not have enough information to show that the student may have an intellectual disability or a severe language disorder with high functional needs, then our assessors cannot complete an assessment.
If there is not enough information to progress to assessment through our service, we will email you with the reasons why we have decided this and what steps you can take next. You can also call us on (03) 9678 5100 to discuss this with our clinical team.
It is important that tests are carried out consistently and as recommended by the test designers. Best practice indicates the student should be assessed with the assessor being the only other person in the room. This is what the test guidelines say to do and is the best way to make sure the scores are valid.
Sometimes exceptions may be made to this if the assessor decides the student may benefit from having another adult present. This decision can only be made by the assessor, and they will discuss why they did this and any impact of this on the assessment in their report.
Yes, we can still accept referrals if there is evidence to suggest that the main reason for the student’s difficulties is because of an intellectual disability or severe language disorder rather than because of the other issues. There is a question on our referral forms asking you to think about these things and explain why you believe they are not the main reason for the student needing support.
Sometimes an interpreter might need to be used, or our psychologists might decide that an assessment that does not rely on having consistent schooling or good language skills is a fairer way to understand the student’s cognitive abilities. More information about when an alternative or ‘non-verbal’ assessment might be needed can be found here.
Yes. The school and parents/carers will be given verbal feedback by the assessor after the assessment, and you will receive a written report approximately three weeks after the assessment date.
When you know the assessment date and time, the school should invite the parent/carer to come up around an hour after the start time so that the assessor can talk to them. The school contact and/or classroom teacher should also make themselves available at the same time.
Feedback can also be given over the phone if the parent/carer is not able to attend. The assessment report/s will usually be emailed to the school contact within three weeks of the assessment date. The school should then forward a copy of the narrative report to the parent/carer.