More About Assessments
What is a Psychoeducational Evaluation?
A psychoeducational evaluation is a formal assessment that looks at a child’s cognitive abilities and their skills across a variety of areas such as memory, attention, academic skills, and executive functioning. It differs from a simple “interview” in that it requires many hours of testing, using standardized measures for IQ and academics, as well as parent and teacher checklists. Some of the most common concerns that result in a parent’s request for testing relate to academic struggles with reading, math or inattention. Parents decide to have their children tested in a variety of ways. In some cases, the school counselor or a teacher has suggested it. In other cases, the parents themselves suspect that their child needs to be evaluated. Parents often report that they just “know” that their child is brighter than their schoolwork demonstrates, or that something just “doesn’t add up.” Oftentimes, parents and/or teachers perceive that something is affecting a child’s ability to perform in school, rather than disinterest or laziness. Similarly, there may be a suspicion that “acting out” behavior stems from academic frustration that the student is experiencing.
While there is no hard and fast rule, typically, learning issues do not appear suddenly and they do not impact just one class. Learning issues can often be traced back several years. If you suspect that your child may have learning issues, it is important to document the problems you see in order to help determine whether there is a pattern of difficulty. It is important to recognize that not all students who are struggling academically need to be tested. Prior to having a child undergo a formal evaluation, parents should work with their child’s teacher to try alternative learning strategies. The child’s response to these interventions can provide clues about whether further assessment needs to be done. Most frequently, students who are having a hard time in a subject are able to work through the issue with extra help, academic tutoring or with some non-traditional strategies. When a child continues to struggle, despite the additional help, this can be an indication that there is a neurologically-based Learning Disability or an attentional issue that requires a formal evaluation.
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