Children’s Assessment at The Catalyst Center

By Erin Jacklin, PsyD

Did you know that Collaborative Therapeutic Assessment can be a brief, intensive way to make powerful positive changes in your child’s life? The impact of a well done assessment is that you have a deeper understanding of your child’s strengths and needs so you can have a clear game plan for what needs to happen for things to improve. The collaborative therapeutic approach to assessment is a little different from what most people think of when they think of “Psychological Assessment.” We focus on maximizing the positive, therapeutic impact of assessment by taking the time to get to know each client as a real and complex person. We work WITH you collaboratively and respectfully to understand what is working and what is not working in your family, how your child has gotten stuck in some spots, and most importantly, what we can do to get your family unstuck and moving in a healthier direction. Knowing what is getting in your child’s way is the first step to helping them succeed.

What types of assessment are available? 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Learning Disability Evaluations

Children are complex, and deserve to be understood. For example, part of any good ADHD evaluation includes ruling out the other issues your child may be facing that can masquerade as ADHD. For example, a child who is anxious, depressed, or struggling to manage stress may appear distracted at school, but may not actually have ADHD. We believe every child is unique and deserves to be listened to and feel understood. Sometimes a child is struggling at home, at school, or with friendships and it isn’t clear why. It isn’t uncommon for kids like this to be labeled as “lazy” or “ADHD” or “undisciplined.” In our experience, when a child is struggling, there is always a reason why. Understanding the “why” is the key to discovering how to help your child find his or her path towards a healthy and successful life. Children’s assessment is one way to get to the bottom of what is going on with your child, and find options for how to help. 

Giftedness Assessment 

Identifying giftedness during childhood is key to helping gifted children reach their potential. Gifted children need different educational and emotional support, and without that support they may struggle in school, at home, or with their peers. Understanding your child’s unique intellectual aptitude can help you to advocate for them in the school system and ensure they receive the services they deserve. Understanding the unique emotional needs of gifted children can help you feel more confident parenting your gifted child. 

Identifying “Twice Exceptional” Children 

People who are both gifted intellectually and have a learning disability are often called “twice exceptional.” People who are highly intelligent are not immune to learning disabilities and ADHD. Often gifted students with a learning disability or ADHD are missed because their high intelligence allows them to cope well in academics despite their learning challenges. It is vital to accurately identify children who may fall into this unique category. 

Collaborative Therapeutic Assessment 

By using a comprehensive, collaborative approach to assessment that focuses on identifying your child’s strengths and challenges we are able to offer research-based recommendations for home and school to help them achieve their potential and get the help they deserve. Our assessment will give you a clear and accurate picture of your child. We look at their emotional, social and academic functioning to demystify why they have been struggling despite your best efforts to help. With the assessment results we craft a personalized plan with recommendations for interventions and accommodations for both home and school. We speak and write in a clear and easy-to-understand manner that takes out all the confusing jargon of a typical psychological report and translates it into regular language that everyone can understand. We go deeper than simply putting a diagnosis or label on your child. Instead, we work collaboratively with you and your child to understand your child’s life and most importantly, what we can do to get your child the help they need. 

We are passionate about accurately identifying and treating emotional, learning, and attentional conditions, using assessment as a tool to improve outcomes for people of all ages. We are happy to talk with you about what type of assessment or service might be the most beneficial for you and your family. Feel free to go to our website at or call 720-675-7123 for a free consultation appointment.

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