Assessment

I can provide a detailed assessment of the psychological needs of children and also their potential carers. Assessments can include a review of the case history; clinical interviews with carers or parents; observations and interview with school; completion of standardised questionnaires and cognitive assessments.

Story Stem Assessment

 

I am also an accredited Story Stem Assessor. The story stem assessment consists of a structured series of 13 narrative stems (the beginnings of stories). These stems present children with a range of different family scenarios. The child is then invited to complete the stories in whatever way they like using doll and animal figures as well as language. This allows for a detailed assessment of the child’s expectations and perceptions of family life, their attachments and relationships, without asking the child direct questions about their family which might cause them conflict or anxiety. It also has the advantage for younger children of allowing both verbal and non-verbal means of representation. The latter is important as it allows children to display memories and expectations which are not part of verbally based memory, or alternatively which the child is anxious about putting into words. Thus the child can reveal underlying expectations of interactions around their relationships which have been established pre-verbally (Jill Hodges, Great Ormond Street, 2009).
A story stem assessment provides a detailed picture of how a child’s experience of abuse and neglect has impacted on their understanding of relationships with parental figures; and how this understanding is likely to influence their ability to make relationships in a new setting.

 

Outcome

 

Information gathered from an assessment will allow the child’s behaviour to be considered within a comprehensive psychological framework and recommendations can be helpful in a number of different areas. For example, providing assistance in the development of a child’s placement plan; identifying particular difficulties a child might exhibit on moving to a new placement; helping with the ‘matching’ process; helping prospective adopters / foster carers better understand a child’s behaviour and adapt their parenting to meet the needs of the child; and identifying therapeutic needs to support a placement.