Diagnostic Assessments

Students with learning difficulties are often unable to express the challenges they face. While appearing normal outwardly, inside however, their brains could be wired very differently such that basic tasks like reading and writing present insurmountable challenges.

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To help students with learning difficulties

These students can’t begin to identify or express the challenges they face because they lack a basis of comparison. For example, a student with dyslexia could be reading this sentence but perceiving some letters as a mirror image. This same student may not even be aware of a problem as she would never have experienced reading and perceiving words normally.

Such students are unable to articulate their learning problems. Consequently, this leads to a lack of confidence and possibly behavioural problems like school refusal and poor motivation in the long-term.

To help students with learning difficulties, diagnosing the underlying problem becomes critical. This is where diagnostic assessments come in.

A comprehensive learning assessment provides a profile of the students’ cognitive, learning, academic, emotional and social skills needs. This helps teachers and parents understand the student better and know how best to support them.

Research has shown that high-quality early intervention can improve learning, communication and social skills, as well as underlying brain development.

The Thomson Kids approach

Nurturing seeds of growth

At Thomson Kids, our approach is based on the research-backed philosophy that early identification and intervention changes neuro-cognitive pathways. This helps students develop the necessary skills and build up confidence and resilience to succeed in school and life.

An accurate diagnosis early in life allows for the right kind of interventions. Each student is first assessed; with the resulting insights, our team develops a plan with involvement from parents. We agree on the areas to focus time and effort, which will most likely nurture the seeds of growth.

This targeted approach results in measurable improvements that can be tracked and reported back to parents. With students’ learning needs changing as they mature, diagnostic assessments can be repeated to track these changes and fine-tune the learning plan as well.

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The Thomson Kids approach

How are diagnostic assessments carried out?

Standardised tests are used by psychologists to assess a student’s competency or skills in specific areas being tested on. Grounded in research, these tests employ standard questions and scoring normed against large population sets. Thereby, it is possible to assess individual students in areas such as intelligence, reading comprehension, phonological skills, writing, math, attention and language.

Such tests are useful tools used by the child psychologist to diagnose the student’s underlying issues. Administering these tests and correctly interpreting the scores is crucial and largely dependent on the skill and experience of the practitioner.

The team at Thomson Kids is led by highly experienced child psychologist, Ms Frances Yeo. Under her supervision, the centre continually invests in upgrading to the latest test editions based on the most up-to-date research.

This allows us to measure a student’s ability and achievement level in an objective manner, and be precise in prescribing suitable interventions to address their different learning needs.

Furthermore, the use of standardised testing is key to securing additional support from mainstream schools. For instance, enlarging the print used in examination test papers and granting students extra time for school examinations.


Types of diagnostic assessments we do

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a medical condition which affects children’s neurodevelopment. It refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication.

ASD affects how a student processes information. Students with ASD may have language disorders, along with attention and executive functioning difficulties. This impacts on their reading, writing, oracy and social communication skills.

Each child with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges, affecting how they learn, think and problem-solve, which can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Many students with ASD have at least average intelligence, meaning they can learn in a mainstream school. We conduct a battery of tests such as autism diagnosis, intelligence, attention and academic (reading, writing, numeracy) tests so interventions can be made and teachers and parents can understand how to help the child meet his/her potential.


An IQ test measures a range of cognitive abilities and provides a score to measure the child’s intellectual abilities and potential. IQ tests are among the most commonly administered psychological tests for assessing giftedness and learning difficulties. It is a foundational first step to understanding why a child may not be doing well in school. For example, a gifted child may be doing poorly in school due to under-stimulation and boredom in a mainstream school environment.

A student’s IQ score can change over time depending on the amount of stimulation they receive. The brain doesn't stop developing, and continues to restructure throughout childhood and into early adult life.


Starting Primary school requires students to have acquired certain skills and abilities. We conduct intelligence and literacy tests to assess if a child is able to commence Primary school, needs to delay school entry, or attend a special school.

Our expert has extensive experience working with students, and can provide advice regarding suitable schools with the right environment for your child.


Dyslexia is a reading disability. Children with dyslexia have normal intelligence and vision, enabling them to learn in mainstream schools. However, they do not process information in the same way as others. They may have difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds. Also, they have problems identifying letters and words (a cognitive process known as decoding) and spelling.

Many dyslexic students also have difficulties with grammar and expressing their thoughts in written form.

Dyslexia is not an illness to be cured, but a condition where early assessment and appropriate interventions can lead to significantly better outcomes. We conduct a battery of standardised tests such as intelligence test, phonological skills, attention, reading, spelling, math and writing tests.


One of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD is commonly diagnosed in childhood and often lasts into adulthood.

As a neuro-behavioural condition, symptoms manifest as undesirable behaviours such as being fidgety, doing work hastily and not paying attention in class. Children with ADHD may have trouble focusing on one thing, act impulsive or be overly active. Students with ADHD often experience academic problems too, such as untidy work or failing to plan before writing compositions.

Consequently, such students are often mislabelled as “lazy”, “naughty” and “unmotivated”. Therefore, a diagnostic assessment is useful to identify students with ADHD and determine how ADHD symptoms affect learning.