SPELD NSW offers psycho-educational assessment for children and adults.

An assessment is generally requested to identify a person’s learning strengths and weaknesses, and to ascertain whether an identifiable learning disorder exists.


Individuals attending SPELD NSW for a psycho-educational assessment have usually struggled with one or more of the core academic skill areas (e.g. reading, writing, spelling, mathematics) for an extended period of time. The degree to which they struggle is often unexpected given their apparent capabilities in other areas and the educational opportunities they have been provided with. It is also generally the case that attempts to remediate the difficulty have not been successful (or at least have been less successful than would have been expected).

All assessments are conducted by a registered psychologist, with clinical experience in the field of educational psychology. All psychologists working with SPELD NSW have extensive knowledge in literacy learning and development. All information gathered remains confidential and is handled in accordance with SPELD NSW’s privacy policy and only appropriate and approved professional assessment tools and methods are used. Most people (including children) find the various assessments tasks quite interesting and generally quite enjoyable.

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Functional Assessment of Literacy (FAL) and Functional Assessment of Numeracy (FAN)

The Functional Assessment of Literacy examines an individual’s reading, spelling and writing skills, in addition to their phonological processing skills, working memory ability and processing speed.

The Functional Assessment of Numeracy examines an individual’s underlying mathematical skills including number sense, computational skills, mathematical thinking and recall of number facts.

A short measure of intellectual ability is also undertaken in both the FAL and the FAN.

The Functional Assessment of Literacy and the Functional Assessment of Numeracy are conducted by a registered psychologist. Generally, a FAL or FAN is completed in one, 2.5 to 3 hour session. A Functional Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy is completed in one 3 – 3.5 hour session.

In most cases, the FAL or FAN will provide enough evidence to determine whether a specific learning disability (such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia or Dyscalculia) is evident and this assessment can also provide valuable information regarding an individual’s response to intervention or areas in need of further development. (In some situations, further assessment by the psychologist or a speech pathologist may be recommended.)


Full Assessment

The full psycho-educational assessment examines the factors affecting an individual’s performance at school, or in the workplace, in greater depth than in the FAL or FAN. It is useful for children or adults where more intensive investigation into the individual’s unique abilities and specific difficulties may be required.

Additional testing may include (where appropriate) the assessment of attention, executive function, memory, visual perception, behaviour and adaptive functioning. A more comprehensive assessment of intellectual ability will also be undertaken.

This assessment is most suitable when there are additional factors that may be affecting the individual’s academic performance. A full assessment is typically completed over two, 2 to 3 hour sessions, or one 5 to 6 hour session and a more comprehensive report is provided.


Diagnostic Review Assessment

In some situations, a diagnosis of a specific learning disorder cannot be determined at the time of assessment. In cases where a child or adult has previously completed an assessment at SPELD NSW and a diagnosis was not made due to the need for more intensive intervention or where further assessment or information has been requested (such as speech pathology or occupational therapy), SPELD NSW offers a diagnostic review assessment.

This is a shortened assessment of approximately 1 hour in length and it is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention and to review whether an individual’s profile appears to be consistent with a specific learning disorder.

Bookings and Further Questions

If you would like to make a booking for yourself or your child/ward for a psycho-educational assessment with SPELD NSW please call us or email No referral is required.

If you would like to discuss your questions about the assessment process please ring our Information and Referral Phone Line.

For more information please download the SPELD NSW Assessments Information Sheet.

Psycho-Educational Assessments Information Sheet (PDF)