Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, but don’t hesitate to get in touch for more information. – Alexandra

Do I need a referral?

A referral is not required for your child to see a registered psychologist. However, some extended health plans may ask you for a referral before reimbursing you.

How long is your waitlist?

Current wait time is approximately 3 months. You can ask to be added to the cancellation list when you book, as appointments do open up sooner from time to time.

What are your office hours?

Client’s are typically seen Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8:30 to 4:30.

What is the cost of assessments?

50 minute consultation: $225
Psycho-educational assessment (preschool aged) $2000
Psycho-educational assessment (school aged) $2500+
Autism assessment under 30 months $1800
Autism assessment 31 months to 6 years old $2200
Autism assessment over 6 years old $2400
Combined psycho-educational and autism assessment – starts at $3000

Partial payment is due at the first meeting. Please note that payment can be made by cash, cheque or e-transfer. Credit cards can be accepted and there is a small transaction fee.

Who pays for these services?

Psychological services are not covered under the provincial Medical Services Plan (MSP). Clients pay out of pocket and seek reimbursement through their extended health insurance (billed under session with a registered psychologist). It’s important to note that because psychological services are a healthcare cost, they are tax-deductible. In some cases, we may be able to directly bill a government agency, learning program or institution (if applicable and pre-approved).

Do you directly bill to extended health providers?

At this time we do not directly bill to your extended health provider or contact your provider on your behalf to determine your plan’s benefits

How do I get reimbursed from my extended health service provider?

It’s important to clarify the amount and percentages of services covered by your extended health provider before the assessment or consultation. That way, we can provide you with any specialized receipts required.

Questions you can ask your extended healthcare provider:

  • Do I need a referral from a medical doctor to claim?
  • What is the dollar amount of my coverage?
  • Is the coverage per family member or is there a total for all family members?
  • What percentage of services is covered? (80% per session, for example)

*For assessments, some receipts can be put in parents names to maximize your coverage.

Do you have a speech pathologist in your office?

We work with several speech pathologists, and can provide a referral if needed.

How do I know if my child needs an assessment?

An assessment is helpful if your child is struggling in school with learning, behaviour, emotional regulation, socialization or attention. This might mean that your child is

  • Behind academically (in reading, writing, or mathematics)
  • Having difficulty following instructions and completing assigned work
  • Having difficulties sustaining attention, being restless or easily distracted
  • Not making friends or having difficulties socially
  • Presenting with mental health concerns that impact functioning at home and/or school, such as anxiety or excessive sadness
  • Presenting with behaviors that are puzzling or concerning to you, and/or others involved with your child (doctors, teachers, childcare providers, for example)
  • Advanced in many areas and may be gifted, requiring special programming

Can my child’s school diagnose autism, ADHD, anxiety, or depression?

Typically, this is beyond the scope of a practitioner working in a school. A certified school psychologist may also be a registered psychologist and qualified to complete these assessments, however usually schools do not assess autism or ADHD evaluations. Please check with your child’s school for more information.

What is involved when my child has a psycho-educational assessment?

The purpose of an assessment is to provide recommendations that will support the educational needs and learning style of your child. An assessment typically takes four to six weeks, starting from the initial parent meeting to the final meeting to review results and walk through the written report.

We start with a parent intake interview to review your child’s developmental history, areas of strength and challenges. Prior to the session, parents complete a developmental questionnaire (online) for review during the first session. Additional questionnaires may be provided for parents or teachers.

A psycho-educational assessment is 2-3 hours with parents and 4-6 hours of testing with your child. Depending on your child’s age and attention span, this is scheduled in one day with breaks provided, or in two sessions, held one week apart.

Following these sessions, I score and review your child’s information. With your consent, I may contact your child’s school or other providers for information that could aid the assessment process.

My written report summarizes assessment results and outlines recommendations regardless of whether your child receives a diagnosis. Within two to three weeks of your child’s session, we meet to review the report. Parents are welcome to invite other people to this meeting, such as other family members or a school support worker.

What can be evaluated in an assessment?

Assessments are tailored to your child’s individual needs, and can include:

  • Verbal and nonverbal cognitive abilities (knowledge, problem solving, visual spatial skills)
  • Memory
  • Processing
  • Academics (reading, writing, mathematics)
  • Attention / impulsivity
  • Listening comprehension
  • Oral expression
  • Vocabulary
  • Mental health (anxiety, depression)
  • Social skills
  • Visual-motor skills (screened)
  • Behavioural difficulties

When is the right time to have my child assessed?

Most children are assessed when their parents, educators or doctors have concerns with their development. Typically, there has already been some intervention but your child continues to struggle.

If you are unsure whether your child needs an assessment, it’s best to come in for a consultation. At this time, I may be able to provide some recommendations for strategies to try at home, although these recommendations are limited without meeting your child. If you choose to proceed with an assessment, the cost of the initial consultation will be covered by the overall cost of the assessment.

My child is struggling socially. Should I have my child assessment for autism spectrum disorder?

If you are unsure if your child needs an autism assessment or any other evaluation, you can come in for a consultation to discuss your child’s development. You can also speak with your child’s school/daycare to ask how they engage with other children and if there are behavioural concerns. Seeking a referral from your GP to a paediatrician is advised.

Screening forms are available online:

How do we prepare for the first session?

I will provide a developmental history for completion online prior to our meeting. Bring the completed questionnaire to your first session, along with copies of your child’s report cards (if applicable), Individual Education Plan (if applicable) and any previous assessment reports (psychological, speech and language or paediatric consult note, for example).

Can you attend a school meeting?

Yes. I am available to attend a school-based team meeting via phone or conference call, or in person. There is an additional cost for attending school meetings.

Will the assessment mean that my child will receive extra funding or support?

Depending on whether your child receives a diagnosis and what the diagnosis is, your child may be eligible for a B.C. Ministry of Education designation at school. This may qualify your child for an Individual Education Plan and some additional support.

With my experience working in schools, I am familiar with the designation categories and the types of support available and can provide direction at the feedback meeting. It’s important to note that the school makes decisions about designation and student support. Some diagnoses can qualify your child for funding outside of school, such as autism spectrum disorder. These options will be reviewed during the feedback meeting.

What specialized training do you have to provide assessments?

I have a doctorate with a specialization in school psychology, and I am a registered psychologist in B.C. I was previously a certified school psychologist and worked in the school system, providing assessment and consultation services to schools around the province. More on Dr. Carter.

I have been completing psycho-educational assessments for over 10 years, and a specialization in learning disorders was part of my core training as a school psychologist.

I have been classified as a Qualified Specialist (QS) in autism assessment for the BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN). I have extensive training in the assessment of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. Updated (refresher) training for autism assessment is completed regularly, as well as ongoing professional development in my areas of specialization.

Does my child need to see a speech pathologist and pediatrician if they are being assessed for autism?

Children under the age of 6 who are assessed privately are required to be evaluated by a speech pathologist and pediatrician, as well as an assessment. Your child should be evaluated by the pediatrician and speech pathologist prior to having the psychological assessment. You will be asked to provide a copy of both reports before your first session. Children over 6 years old only need to be evaluated by a psychologist for a private autism assessment.

I am separated from my child’s other parent/ legal guardian, do I need to get their consent?

If parents/guardians are separated consent from both parents is required by the College of Psychologists before a psychologist see’s your child. If a parent has sole custody and the right to make medical decisions for their child, only consent from this parent is required. You will be asked to provide a legal document stating that you have sole custody before the first session.

If you have any questions, please contact me to discuss next steps.