Behavioural assessments are used to examine whether a child exhibits challenging behaviour which falls outside the range of expected age-appropriate behaviour. Such behavioural concerns may include difficulties around hyperactivity, impulsivity, aggression, sustaining attention and/or disruptions to peer relations or learning.
Behavioural assessments involve a detailed process. To help formulate an accurate diagnosis they typically require parent interviews to attain a developmental history, coupled with diagnostic questionnaires, teacher interviews and/or school observations and a clinical session with the child. With this knowledge, children and parents can start to better understand the underlying causes of challenging behaviour and formulate treatment plans to modify both the behaviour itself and its impact on everyday life.
Our behavioural assessments are useful in the following areas:
- Identifying and diagnosing behavioural disorders:
Three main behavioural disorders in children include:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Children experiencing symptoms of ADHD can experience some or all of the following behaviours organised under three broad categories. Inattention: making careless errors, difficulties concentrating, challenges organising tasks, often losing things, easily distracted. Hyperactivity and Impulsivity: often fidgeting or restless, talks to excess, noisy and loud, blurts out answers, impatient in turn-taking, interrupting others. Combined: this is the most common type of ADHD. Children fit the criteria for this type if they have symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive types.
- Oppositional Defiance Disorder: Children living with ODD exhibit challenging behaviour, particularly towards adults and those in authority. Such behaviour may include becoming easily annoyed, having frequent angry outbursts, being argumentative with adults, refusal to follow rules or a low tolerance for frustration.
- Conduct Disorder: Children who exhibit signs of a conduct disorder may be bullying frequently or using threatening behaviour, physically hurting others, cruelty to animals or stealing from others.
- Develop individualised treatment plans – we also provide individualised recommendations to assist parents and teachers to manage a child’s challenging behaviour at home and in the school setting.
- Evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention – behavioural assessments can be re-administered over time to assess the effectiveness of a treatment program in improving the severity and impact of a child’s challenging behaviour.
- Process of differential diagnosis – behavioural assessments can also be administered in conjunction with cognitive assessments to determine if challenging behaviours can be explained by the presence of an intellectual disability, learning disorder or giftedness.
We commonly use the following behavioural assessment tools for a variety of purposes and age groups:
- Connors Rating Scale (CRS) – Third Edition for children aged 6 to 18 years.
- Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA) includes the Child Behaviour Checklist and Caregiver- Teacher Report, which is for children aged 1½ to 5 years.
- Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System – Second Edition (ABAS-3) provides an assessment of adaptive skills functioning for individuals from birth to 89 years.
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