Established in 2000, The Burwood Centre offers specialist, independent, multidisciplinary assessments to children and young people who are deaf (0-25 years of age). We offer assessments regardless of whether the child/young person communicates using spoken or sign language. We do assess some children who have other needs in addition to their deafness, for example, those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, language disorder, physical and medical difficulty, learning difficulty or visual impairment. If we feel that we cannot meet your child’s specific needs, then we will make recommendations with regards to where they might be better assessed. Our professionals include Educational Psychologists, a Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, and an Advisory Teacher of the Deaf, all of whom are very experiences at working with children who are deaf. Please see Who We Are for more details about our professionals.
Following your child’s assessment, there will be time to discuss our findings in person and this is then followed up with a comprehensive written report which outline your child’s level of functioning in different areas and the implications of this to their current situation. We try very hard to make sure we address your specific questions.
Types of Assessments on Offer
At the Burwood Centre we can provide assessments by an Educational Psychologist, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist and/or Advisory Teacher of the Deaf. The exact team that works with any particular child will depend upon the questions that the child’s family wish to be answered and is determined when we read your referral information and in consultation with you.
The Educational Psychologist will use formal assessments, informal observations and discussion to discover how your child is functioning in terms of his/her thinking skills. This may include assessing your child’s:
– non-verbal thinking skills
– verbal skills
– social communication and interaction skills
– reading, speaking and mathematical skills
You may wish to discuss other aspects of your child’s school life such as bullying and whether you feel there are any additional needs that you think your child may have. Our Educational Psychologist will be happy to discuss these with you.
Speech & Language
During the assessment, the Speech and Language Therapist will use informal and formal activities to assess your child’s communication skills.
The areas being assessed will include his/her:
- understanding of language
- use of language
- clarity of speech
- social interaction skills.
We can assess your child’s abilities in terms of spoken English, sign supported English and/or British Sign Language. If appropriate we may even assess your child’s ability to understand and use written English to communicate as part of the whole multidisciplinary assessment.
Our Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist will be able to discuss the results of the assessment with you. Sometimes issues parents wish to discuss include:
- What type of communication mode best suits my child?
- What are my child’s current speech and language levels?
- Does my child have speech and/or language difficulties that are over and above those caused by his/her deafness?
- What level and type of support does my child need to develop his/her communication skills?
This includes both general and specific support within the school environment; support from the speech and language therapy service and any support that can be given at home.
Teacher of the Deaf
The Teacher of the Deaf can provide valuable insights and advice on the type and level of support needed educationally. The Teacher of the Deaf can also discuss the next steps for your child and how these might best be achieved.
The Teacher of the Deaf might work with your child by talking about your child’s current provision and support and access to the curriculum by:
- assessing listening skills, both in quiet and in different levels of background noise
- assessing language skills
- assessing literacy skills.
These areas do overlap with those that may be assessed by other members of the assessment team. A decision will be made either prior to the assessment or at the beginning of the assessment day with regard to which team members assess which skills. It may even be that the Teacher of the Deaf is there just for discussion and to provide advice and recommendations based on other results.
Why do families seek assessments from the Burwood Centre?
Some families simply come to us to gain a better understanding of their child, others wish to gain advice and independent reports, to help them with decisions regarding their child’s education and to help secure the placement that they believe is best for their child. If you are served well locally, you may not need an independent assessment. However, some parents or professionals decide to seek independent advice to address questions such as: –
• What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
• Does my deaf child have additional difficulties?
• How should my child’s needs be met in the school setting?
• What type of educational placement would best suit my child?
• Is my child receiving the appropriate level of speech and language therapy?
• What are the next steps for my child’s development?
We usually end assessment days by giving feedback to parents. This is a discussion where you can ask questions and try to gain an understanding of the issues that you were hoping to find out more about. When the results of the various assessments are considered together, it may be possible to address issues, including:
- Are your child’s difficulties all explained by his/her hearing loss or are there any other additional problem areas, e.g. a specific learning difficulty?
- What support does your child currently need?
The team of professionals cannot recommend particular schools, but they are on hand to listen to parents’ concerns, and they will describe the types of support and input that a child needs in school.
Your visit will be followed up with a detailed, comprehensive report which includes all our findings and recommendations. You will usually receive reports from each of the professionals that worked with your child as well as a joint introduction. How you use these reports is up to you. Some parents use their reports to help provide their local professionals with more information. Some families choose to submit their reports as part of their evidence when lodging an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal.
These are available upon request. Please either telephone the Centre or send us an e-mail.