Assessment Services

Assessment Services

Our Clinical Team assess children, young people, parents and family members for a number of reasons. Reports are completed for the following professionals: medical practitioners, solicitors, barristers and health services. We also provide reports for services including educational settings, Universities, the Juvenile Justice System, Court services and the Health Service Executive Child and Welfare Services.

Clinical, Educational, Forensic Psychology
Assessments conducted by Clinical Psychologists working with Fresh Start Children and Adolescents.

Cognitive and Educational:

  • Assessment of general cognitive functioning (IQ)
  • Assessment of executive function and IQ (reasoning, problem-solving, impulse control, initiative, abstract reasoning)
  • Assessment of acquired brain injuries and pre-morbid functioning (long and short term memory, executive functioning, processing speed)
  • Assessment of educational attainment and abilities
  • Assessment and differential diagnosis of specific intellectual disabilities: Global developmental delay, Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  • Assessment of specific learning difficulties, e.g. Dyslexia
  • Consulting with education providers regarding specific needs and care plans in relation to educational attainment.
  • Differential diagnosis of specific / general learning difficulties
  • Assessment of need
  • Programme planning
  • Court requirements
  • Application for considerations in school setting
  • Eligibility for supports
  • Eligibility for school resources
  • Eligibility of school placement
  • Eligibility for training resources
  • Eligibility for financial payments
  • Standard comparative evaluation
  • Measurement of progress
  • Pre-School placement
  • Eligibility for financial supports
  • Standard comparative evaluation
  • Differential diagnosis of specific learning difficulties
  • Programme / IEP planning
  • School placement
  • Application for considerations and reasonable accommodations

Mental Health:
Assessment, formulation and intervention with mental health disorders, including care planning:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders (GAD, panic disorder, OCD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Addictions
  • Bereavement
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Sleep disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Paranoia
  • Trauma Behaviour management
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Intervention planning
  • Eligibility for supports
  • Therapeutic intervention evaluation
  • Advice re need for medical intervention

Adaptive Behaviour

  • Best practice
  • Programme planning
  • Behaviour intervention
  • Analysis of strengths and needs
  • Review and evaluation

Behavioural e.g. ADD / ADHD

  • Analysis of presentation in various settings from different perspectives
  • Programme planning and intervention
  • Review purposes
  • Analysis of effectiveness of intervention
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Advice regarding need for medical intervention

Career Guidance

  • Career advice and planning
  • Analysis of aptitudes and abilities
  • Analysis of strengths and needs
  • Training and intervention planning


  • Differential diagnosis
  • Specific areas of evaluation e.g. Memory testing
  • Assessment of acquired head injury
  • Assessment of NAI

Pervasive Developmental Disorder e.g. ASD

  • Differential diagnosis
  • Programme / educational and training planning
  • Link in to resources

Forensic/Law/Court Assessment:

  • Sentencing
  • Parental Capacity
  • Psychopathology
  • Personality
  • Risk
  • Victim Impact
  • Perpetrators / Sexual offenders
  • Expert and professional testimony

Occupational Therapy Assessments

Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS)
The AMPS is an observational based assessment that is used to measure the quality of a person’s activities of daily living (ADL) performance. The quality of the person’s ADL performance is assessed by rating the effort, efficiency, safety, and independence of 16 ADL motor and 20 ADL process skill items, while the person is doing at least two chosen, familiar, and life-relevant ADL tasks.

Adult/Adolescent Sensory Profile Questionnaire
The Sensory Profile is a standardised assessment used for evaluating a person’s sensory processing abilities and the affect these have on their daily life and functional performance. Poor sensory processing integration can result in delayed acquisition of movement skills, poor coordination and particular ability to engage.

Beery Buktenica Developmental Test of Visual Perception (Beery VMI)
This is the standard test for assessing the respondent’s level of visual-motor integration. Visual motor integration is the degree to which visual perception and finger and hand movements are coordinated. It consists of a sequence of geometric forms of increasing difficulty that are copied on paper with a pencil by the respondent. Supplementary to the VMI are the tests of Visual Perception and Motor Coordination which are used if deficits are identified in the VMI.  All the assessment results are compared and represented in relation to age specific norms.

Developmental Test of Visual Perception for Adults/Adolescents (DTVP-A)
The DTVP-A is a battery of six subtests that measure different but interrelated visual-perceptual and visual-motor abilities. The battery, which is designed for use with individuals ages 11-0 through 74-11, has empirically established reliability and validity.

The Detailed Assessment of Speed of Handwriting (DASH)
The DASH is a standardised, norm referenced assessment of speed of handwriting. It is used to identify the speed of handwriting in copying and free writing tasks of an individual. This has implications for performance in academic examinations and other relevant academic work. *Currently there is not a standardised assessment for speed of typing and thus this assessment has been carried out in both hand written format and typed format.

The change scores are given to allow comparison between the two writing forms and thus deduce if the person will benefit from the use of a computer for academic work. This is used as common practice in the U.K and Ireland.

Irish Adaptation of Handwriting Speed Test
This is a test of handwriting speed which is normed on an Irish population. The department has ordered this assessment and is awaiting delivery of same.
Non-standardised assessments used by Fresh Start

Mayers Lifestyle Questionnaire (2)
This questionnaire gives service-users an opportunity to identify their priority needs in relation to their quality of life. It is a client-centred tool consisting of nine sections: looking after yourself, living situation, looking after others, being with others, being in or out of work/education, beliefs and values, finances, choices and activities. The assessment can also be used as an outcome measure.

Modified Interest Checklist
This assessment gathers information on a client’s strength of interest and engagement in a number of activities in the past, present and future. It provides guidance for the therapist and client in choosing activities for therapy and for fulfilment of occupational performance areas in the client’s everyday life. It is a written inventory, requiring approximately 15-30 minutes to administer, and is appropriate to use with adolescent, adult or elderly populations.

Canadian Occupational Performance Model (COPM)
COPM is an individualised, client-centred measure designed to detect change in a client's self-perception of occupational performance over time. It is designed to be used as an outcome measure. The COPM is a standardised instrument, using specific instructions and methods for administering and scoring the test. Change between assessment and reassessment scores are the most meaningful scores derived from this assessment.

Model of Human Occupation-based interview/functional assessment/observation
Non-standardised and observational assessments completed by the Occupational Therapist are completed using the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO) as a conceptual model and framework. This model aims to understand occupation and problems of occupation that occur in terms of its primary concepts of volition, habituation, performance capacity, and environmental context.

Speech and Language Therapy Assessments

A speech and language therapy assessment involves clinical history taking and assessing the young person’s speech, understanding and use of language, fluency, and communication skills.

Assessment of communication includes non-verbal communication, conversation and discourse, relation of language to context, the use of social rules and communication strategies for the young person.

Young people in care presenting for speech and language therapy assessment have complex needs.  Their life stories often involve a disorganised family, adverse environmental circumstances, financial uncertainty, violence, abuse, poor educational history and the young person usually presents with an emotional/ behavioural overlay.  The assessment may take one to three sessions depending on the ability of the young person to engage.

The following assessments are used with this client group but it is not an exhaustive list. 

It includes core assessments and specific speech, language and pragmatic language tests depending on the client’s presentation.


The South Tyneside Assessment of Phonology – Armstrong and Ainley:
This is a quick assessment of speech production at the single word level.


The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals - 4 (UK) – Semel, Wiig and Secord:
It is an individually administered clinical tool for the identification, diagnosis and follow-up evaluation of language and communication disorders in young people aged 5 to 16 years of age.

The Test of Adolescent and Adult Language – Fourth Edition – Hammill, Brown, Larsen and Wiederholt:
It is an efficient, reliable and valid measure of spoken and written language for clients aged from 12 years to 24 years and 11 months.

The Test of Word Knowledge – Wiig and Secord:
This test assesses a young person’s skills in the understanding and use of semantics, an important component of language.  It is for young people aged from 5 to 17 years of age.


The Pragmatic Profile of Everyday communication skills in Adults – Dewart and Summers:
This assessment, which can be used with teenagers and adults, assesses pragmatic language and looks at communication functions, responses to communication, interaction and conversation and contextual variation.

Test of Pragmatic Language – 2nd edition by Terasaki and Phelps-Gunn:
This test assesses 6 core components of pragmatic language; physical setting, audience, topic, purpose, visual – gestural cues and abstraction.  It also looks at the person’s pragmatic evaluation ability.  It is used with clients aged from 6 to 18.

Assessment of social skills using the Student Interview, Student Self-Assessment and Social Skills Rating Assessment from the Alex Kelly programme called ‘Talkabout for Teenagers’: This assessment forms the basis of a social skills programme focussing on self-awareness and self-esteem, nonverbal behaviour, verbal behaviour, friendship skills or assertiveness skills, as appropriate.


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