Alberta Community and Social Services (ACSS)
Psychological Assessments address issues such as nature and history of the presenting problem/disability, personal history, general level of intellectual functioning, psychological and emotional functioning (including determination of psychiatric [DSM-IV] diagnoses, if relevant), psychometric assessment of perceived disability, coping skills, personality functioning, and treatment recommendations. Issues to be assessed will include life stress, coping skills, and suitable resources.
Vocational Assessments are specifically directed at identifying the client’s potential for competitive employment, and identification of appropriate employment possibilities. In addition to a review of the client’s vocational and academic history, vocational assessments consist of objective determination of overall intellectual functioning, academic potential, aptitudes, motivation, and vocational interests. Identification of specific barriers to competitive employment, both as perceived by the client and as determined by a review of medical and/or other available information, will be factored into computer-based and clinical job matching. Consideration will be given to various levels of employment-related rehabilitation and retraining, as appropriate for each client, and recommendations for overcoming barriers to employment will be provided.
Neuropsychological Assessments include present and premorbid intellectual ability, attention and working memory, verbal memory, memory for visual material, prospective remembering, problem solving/executive functioning, visual/spatial/perceptual skills, expressive and receptive language abilities, as well as somatosensory and motor function. A formal assessment of personality and emotional factors is routinely included. Reports will address the nature and extent of any neuropsychological problems, descriptions of impairments and disabilities, and recommendations addressing academic upgrading, vocational retraining, vocational choice, and treatment needs as relevant to the individual.
Psychoeducational Assessments are designed to detect the possible presence of a learning disability (LD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or other barriers to learning (e.g., mental health problem). When appropriate, a psychoeducational assessment will provide a specific diagnosis which is related to learning difficulty and will provide recommendations for treatment and/or accommodations and strategies that are necessary to help compensate for the learning difficulties. These assessments are mostly relevant in the context of academic upgrading, post-secondary education, or apprenticeship training. They are also useful when it is suspected that a learning issue or ADHD is affecting a client’s functioning within the work force. Psychoeducational assessments generally include a clinical interview and history with information from collateral sources when possible; measures of intellectual ability, attention, and academic achievement, evaluation of social and emotional functioning, and symptom-specific rating scales may also be incorporated.
Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE)
Functional Capacity Evaluations will be conducted according to a standardized protocol by qualified physical therapists. FCEs include a history and manual examination addressing issues such as muscle strength and range of motion; physiological testing including energy system capacities, strength, range of motion, organization of movement, and joint stability; and a functional assessment which addresses issues such as sitting/standing/walking tolerances, ability to assume various work-related postures (e.g., squatting, kneeling, reaching), and overall strength capabilities. Standardized ratings from the National Occupational Classification (NOC) are used in reporting. The FCEs provide objective information about clients’ physical capability for work, and where appropriate, recommendations for improving functional abilities.
Assistive Technology Assessment
Assistive Technology Assessments are designed to determine the appropriateness of assistive technology devices as means of accommodating disabilities. Based upon their documented disabilities, clients will be given trials with a variety of assistive devices most likely to enhance their abilities (usually at least three trials will be provided). Once the most appropriate device has been determined, a report will be provided which contains recommendations and conclusions. The assessments will be conducted by Mr. Neil Hehr. Mr. Hehr has four years experience at the Developmental Disability Resource Centre, some of which was spent performing assistive technology assessments. He has expertise in computer technology and a strong interest in assistive technology. Assistive Technology assessments will include detailed interviews with the client, task analyses, technical research and trials, and provision of a written report which includes recommendations for technical devices, costs (as available), and implementation strategies.
Work Site Assessment
Work Site Assessments provide a detailed evaluation of task requirements of a particular job or activity based on ergonomic principles, in relation to the work environment and worker capacity. They will be performed by a physical therapist or kinesiologist. These assessments typically include discussion with the client and/or company representative, work site visit and observation of worker tasks and equipment set up, measurements of relevant data (e.g., weights, forces, heights, distances, joint angles), evaluation of the client’s physical abilities and weaknesses, specific identification of occupational health issues, and identification of practical and realistic solutions for the issues identified. The report will provide a summary of findings as well as recommendations regarding equipment and adjustments.