Several factors contribute to a child’s refusal to perform in school or college. The child or youngster may have a specific learning difficulty, have a very short attention span, or may quickly forget concepts learned in school. Difficulty with academic learning is typically reflected in behaviors such as school avoidance, low motivation, distractibility, poor self-esteem, and emotional outbursts. Stress and anxiety impact learning in many ways. Psychological assessments are fine tuned to determine factors responsible for learning difficulty. My expertise with children, adolescents and young adults ensures that they do not feel anxious about being assessed. Every family leaves feeling their concerns have been addressed, and that they have a path forward. Reports are in line with best practices; each report has a detailed educational program and recommendations for school and home. The report also enables the individual to receive accommodations and exemptions (for example, exemption from a second or third language; or waiver from a course requirement) for high school and college.
Every meeting and report is strictly confidential. Reports are always released only to the parents and the highest ethical standards for communication are maintained.
Parents often ask, “What should I tell my child before I bring him or her in for an assessment?” Its best to provide your child with age-appropriate information. For example, you might want to say, "The person might ask you to play with puzzles, write some letters, or remember what you heard." Or - " The people are trying to find ways to help you learn better in school. You are not getting a grade for this, but you should do your best."
A battery of assessments is used to evaluate children from two years of age through young adulthood. Assessment is considered when you or your child’s teacher may have concerns that a child is not learning in quite the way that is usually expected in their age group but it is not clear why this is so.
The assessment involves gathering information from many sources. You, as parents, know your child better than anyone and you will be asked to share some of that information during an interview and by completing some relevant questionnaires. The teacher/teachers of your child will also be asked to share their concerns about the child and their impressions of the child’s areas of strength. Classroom observation may be carried out to gain a clearer picture of how your child is in the classroom. The children being assessed are not usually aware that they are the ones being observed.
The assessment itself involves a testing session with the child in a quiet room. It can take up to several hours (spread over 1-3 days) with breaks provided to encourage optimal performance. The tests used depend on the type of concerns. However there is almost always a core assessment of intellectual functioning or IQ, and of classroom ‘attainments’, that is, reading, spelling and numeracy. Depending on the results of these, further testing may look more closely at other skill areas, such as language, attention, memory and so on. The IQ test is composed of a number of subtests, which look at ability across a wide range of areas. The tests reveal a pattern, which allows us to explain how the child learns best and what factors are influencing their learning style at the moment. We are then in a position to say what changes in the environment, both at school and at home, will help to support your child’s learning and can also help everyone to have a good understanding of how he/she learns.
Report findings are discussed with parents and recommendations shared with all stakeholders.