Welcome to my site. I am an educational psychologist with more than 10 years experience in the field of education. My greatest passion lies in assisting adolescents and young adults negotiate challenges in their lives. I believe strongly in therapy that is client-centered and empowering as well as educational assessments that highlight students’ strengths, are practical & support-driven. I consult in various educational institutes and medical practices throughout the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town.
Click on the links below to find out more information on the services we offer
Therapeutic counselling is offered to adolescents and young adults dealing with a wide range of emotional difficulties.
Assessments with a view to creating meaningful and purpose-driven interventions in order to support learners.
Career assessments tailored for high-school students, young adults and older individuals interested in career guidance
A full psycho-educational assessment will differ from student to student as it is tailored to address the unique concerns raised by you and your child. However it will always include a detailed examination of your child’s cognitive functioning, academic abilities pertaining to reading, writing and mathematics as well as emotional functioning, psycho-motor abilities and attention (particularly when ADHD symptoms are noted). Furthermore as an educational psychologist, I always look into a child’s executive functioning abilities as experience has shown me this is often at the root of many learning barriers.
In terms of the actual assessment, this is conducted over one or two full days (if needed), beginning in the morning with one or both parents and your child. We will discuss the concerns together for 30-60min after which your child and I continue on through the various tasks. Generally we finish somewhere between 2 and 3:30pm taking into account breaks for lunch. I then write up a report which takes between 1 and 2 weeks, make an appointment with you to come for the feedback session and we go through the report together.
All children develop and learn differently. Our one-size-fits-all approach to education often means that those not well suited to mainstream schooling get left behind. Sadly this can often be avoided if we are aware of the unique barriers a child faces.
Some of these barriers are more obviously related to academic work such as reading, spelling, writing and Mathematics while other concerns may be harder to identify such as visual perception difficulties, speech and language barriers, social challenges, ADHD or inattentive-like symptoms. Whatever the reason may be, an educational psychologist is trained to assess students in order to identifying strengths and work with challenges.
Parents are often taken aback to hear that assessments can be up anywhere in the range of R3500 to R8500. The reason these assessments cost what they do is because the process is intensive and, including the report writing, can take as much as 18 hours to complete a single assessment. Another factor that may influence the cost is the specific battery of tests that are used. Which tests a psychologist uses is important as it is partially from this data that findings and recommendations are made. Using updated assessments that are valid and trustworthy are key to gaining reliable information about your child.
The first thing to do is to make an appointment to talk to your child’s class teacher and the academic support coordinator about your concerns. Schools are obligated to identify potential barriers and attempt various interventions which are documented. If the school feels that additional support is needed or that the child may benefit from an educational assessment they may suggest a referral to a professional such as a Pediatrician, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, or Educational Psychologist.
You are however welcome to get in touch with me to discuss your concerns and ask any questions you may have about the services I offer and the costs involved. When you decide to go ahead and book an appointment/assessment,
I will send out additional information outlining the process and what you can expect.
Currently, I am operating my educational psychologist practice in the Southern suburbs of Cape town at Knighton Surgery in Kenilworth and Brampton Family practice in Claremont. While therapy can be conducted online, educational assessments need to be done in person and therefore your child would need to come into one of my consulting rooms.
In terms of assessments I work with children and adolescents from Grade 1 right through to Matric. I am also able to assess tertiary students at university.
For therapy I work exclusively with patients between 13 and 24. younger patients require specialized techniques such as play therapy or sand tray therapy which I do not offer.
Extra time is an exam concession otherwise known as an exam accommodation that is applied for through the child’s school and the WCED using the report from your educational assessment and various other bits of evidence the school puts together. As an
educational psychologist I will look at all the information gathered during the assessment and consider various accommodations that may be beneficial given the learners unique learning barriers. Extra-time can be very helpful but a thorough assessment will be able to determine whether it is the best option for the individual or if another accommodation/intervention would be better suited. Ultimately extra time can never be guaranteed prior to an assessment as all accommodations need to be based on the findings detailed in the report.
ADHD is one of the most common learners barriers with research suggesting anywhere between 2 & 16% of the school-going population struggling with either the inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive or a combination of both symptoms. The diagnosis of any psychiatric disorder requires a comprehensive assessment and so parents should be weary of ‘specialists’ who are prepared to make a diagnosis via a short consultation. Rather, assessments should be based on careful observation and data gathering from the child’s parents AND school.
Many aspects need to be taken into account before a diagnosis is considered. Such as:
- Whether the symptoms actually interfere with functioning or development
- The length of time the symptoms have been present for (at least 6 months)
- The age at which symptoms first appeared
- Whether these symptoms occur in both the home and school and lastly
- Whether the symptoms are not better explained by another barrier to learning.
Some of the most common symptoms of ADHD (inattentive presentation – aka ADD) include a difficulty: sustaining attention, paying close attention to detail, following through with instructions, organizing tasks and activities, avoiding tasks such as homework and a tendency to become distracted by external stimuli and/or ones thoughts.
The hyperactive/impulsive presentation tends to see individuals fidgeting, or moving their body (often unaware that they are doing it), needing to move around frequently even when inappropriate to do so, often being in an almost manic state as if ‘driven by a motor’ and/or struggling to moderate behaviours.
ADHD also has a strong genetic component and tends to run in families. Research suggests that parents and siblings of a child with ADHD symptoms are more likely to have ADHD themselves.
These days with google at our fingertips it can be easy to make a self-diagnosis but working with ADHD is far more nuanced than than simply ticking a box of symptoms. It requires an intimate knowledge on the disorder (or gift as I like to call it) and therefore requires that care is taken when assessing. If you feel your child may have ADHD take the time to ensure the medical practitioner has an interest and history of working with ADHD.
We all have occasional challenges with executive functioning (time management, sustained attention, emotional regulation ect.) however it appears that students with ADHD (Both inattentive and hyperactive presentations) “experience much more difficulty in the development and use of these functions than do most other (learners) of the same age and developmental level” (Brown, 2020). It is also worth noting that many learners with ADHD have areas of executive functioning which are optimal or even areas in which intense focus can be sustained, often referred to as hyper-focus. Ultimately it is important that we do not mistake impairments of executive functions with a tendency to label ADHD students as merely being lazy. ADHD, while a challenge can also very much be a gift when recognized and managed well.
Career guidance, commonly referred to as career assessments or aptitude testing is a supportive way to give your child more knowledge about themselves and the world of work. Many high school students have little to no idea what life after school will look like for them. Career guidance helps them understand their interests, aptitudes, values and personality in a way that, when weaved together, provides some direction for them to explore further. For more information regarding career assessments click here.
Educational psychologists are fully registered psychologists that specialize in therapy for children, adolescents and young adults. Like any psychologist there will be specific areas of interest and specialization. As such we are able to treat a wider range of challenges that solely depression and anxiety. I offer therapy for the following areas:
Problematic Screen use (commonly referred to as screen ‘addiction’)