Formal assessments are expensive, so how do you know if this is something you should look into?
I recently tried out a screening tool called PsychProfiler.
In 15 minutes and for $5 you can screen for 14 of the most common neurodevelopmental and mental health conditions found in children and adolescents.
PsychProfiler can be used by parents, GPs, school psychologists, therapists and teachers.
The biggest benefits I see as a parent is that it helps you:
Validate your concerns and gut feeling (or give you reassurance)
Narrow your focus to conditions that you return a positive screen for
Consider a range of commonly co-occurring conditions so you can investigate and get support for all of these early on
To work out where to go and who to see if further investigation with a professional is warranted.
It’s also a really great option for families living in rural and regional WA who can’t easily pop to Perth to complete a psychoeducational assessment.
One of the things I really liked about the PsychProfiler is screens for many co-occurring conditions.
Many screeners consider one condition at a time, which assumes that you have some idea of the condition that you are screening against. But what if you don’t?
As Professor Amanda Kirby writes, “When considering screening for any of these conditions, it’s crucial to recognise that individuals may present with multiple conditions simultaneously.”
Many families have told me the frustration of being screened or diagnosed for one condition only to have more conditions added over the years.
Imagine if you could have some idea up front of conditions that you should be considering, how they might interact and the different accommodations that might help.
I think it’s also helpful in helping focus your thoughts and concerns as a parent in preparation for sharing these with your teacher or GP.
Often as parents we know something is going on, but it could be X, Y or Z.
And typically, these have different pathways for assessment and support.
It’s like you need to know what condition your child is likely to be diagnosed with before you start off on a referral pathway. Which is a little crazy right?
Hopefully you have an awesome GP who can guide you on what is most likely and where to go.
But I know how hard it is even to get into a GP at the minute. Let alone one that’s great with kids and parents – we are forever grateful for our wonderful GP!
The Child & Adolescent PsychProfiler screens for the following conditions in children aged 2-18 years:
🧠 Generalised Anxiety Disorder
🧠 Separation Anxiety Disorder
🧠 ADHD Hyperpactive-Impulsive Presentation
🧠 ADHD Predominantly Inattentive Presentation
🧠ADHD Combined Presentation
🧠 Autism Spectrum Disorder
🧠 Anorexia Nervosa
🧠 Bulimia Nervosa
🧠 Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
🧠 Language Disorder
🧠 Speech Sound Disorder
🧠 Persistent Depressive Disorder
🧠 Conduct Disorder
🧠 Oppositional Defiant Disorder
🧠 Specific Learning Disorder with Impairment in Reading
🧠 Specific Learning Disorder with Impairment in Written Expression
🧠 Specific Learning Disorder with Impairment in Mathematics
🧠 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
It’s important to note that the PsychProfiler do not cover ALL common co-occurring conditions.
For example 1 in 3 people with ADHD will also have Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). DCD is not included in the PsychProfiler screener.
You fill in an online questionnaire and it returns a report immediately that tells you if you have met the positive screen cut off for any of the conditions.
You complete the online questionnaire based on your observations.
You can also purchase extra questionnaires at $5 each and ask your child’s teacher to complete one based on their observations in the classroom.
If your child is aged over 10 years, they can complete their own questionnaire.
It is important to note that a positive screen for any of the disorders does NOT indicate a formal diagnosis.
It only indicates that the child has met sufficient criteria for a disorder to warrant further investigation by an appropriate professional.
Having tried out the screener myself my gut feel is that it may not be sensitive enough to pick up some of the more subtle presentations of conditions.
The questions asked are tied very closely to DSM criteria and do not have the ability to investigate in the same what that a comprehensive formal assessment would.
I think this would be especially the case for autism in girls.
So, if your gut is telling you something and you don’t reach a positive screen cut off, then I would say follow your gut and investigate further.
When I completed the screener there was one condition that returned a positive screen that I thought, nah … that can’t be right.
The good thing is that the report you receive tells you which questions you answered that returned that score.
Once I went back to them, I realised I had read a question wrong which had impacted the result and I could rule that out.
While I tried out the Child & Adolescent Profiler, there is also an adult version called the Adult PsychProfiler.
I am sure there are many parents who will be interested in trying this out for themselves.
The Adult PsychProfiler has two screening forms: self and observer. Both take 25 minutes to complete and this screens for 17 of the “most prevalent psychiatric, psychological and educational disorders among those 18 years of age and over”.
Remember, this is a screener and not a diagnostic tool.
It can’t replace consultation with a professional, but it could help you work out whether targeted intervention or further assessment is required.
You can read more about the PsychProfiler here and view example reports, more information about the reliability and validity of the tool: https://www.psychprofiler.com/
Other free or low cost screening tools to check out are:
Auspeld Next Steps Screening Tool
This screening tool can help parents make decisions about appropriate ways to support their chld with possible learning difficulties. Although online screening tools cannot provide a formal diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder such as Dyslexia, this tool can provide advice on what to do next.
Dyslexia Pre-Screener for Ages 5-7 years
This free screener by UK-based Nessy Learning can be used for early identification of dyslexia as this is when help is most effective.
Hearing test app for children aged 4 years and older
Sound Scouts is an online hearing test app suitable for children aged 4 years and older that delivers an immediate report, including next steps if a hearing loss is detected. It was free but now has moved to a paid model, but for $32 and the convenience of doing at home with a fun game it’s a win in my books.
Additude has a wide range of simple and free screening tools to help identify if your child has ADHD or one of the common co-occurring conditions.
All thoughts above are my own and this post has not been viewed, edited or approved by anyone but me.
I am sharing this tool as I think screening tools can be very helpful for parents feeling very overwhelmed and unsure about how to get the best help for their child.
Trial use of the screener was gifted ($5) to the writer to enable me to try the screener myself.
PsychProfiler is a product sold by Dr Shane Langford who owns Perth Psychological & Educational Consultancy Services.
PECS has a small business listing on the Perth Kids Hub directory; however this listing does not include positive promotion on social media of products.