Learning Disability Evaluations
Is Your Child Struggling Academically, Emotionally, Or Behaviorally In School?
Has your child been getting poor grades, procrastinating, and falling behind in their school work? Are they complaining more frequently of headaches or stomach aches, always seeming to look for an excuse to avoid school?
Your child may benefit from a learning disability evaluation.
Perhaps their teacher has expressed concern about your child being unfocused, not paying attention, or even acting out in class. Or you may have noticed that your child is more frustrated lately, lacking confidence and saying things like, “I’m stupid.” But when you try to discuss their issues in school or alleviate their feelings of low self-esteem, it only leads to increased tension between the two of you.
Watching your child struggle is difficult. A private learning disabilities evaluation can reveal the root cause of your child’s difficulties and help you better understand how to help. If you choose to share your child’s evaluation with their school district – and we encourage you to do so – they may qualify for services that will help address their needs. Accommodations such as extended time on tests or being afforded frequent breaks during high-stakes testing (i.e., college entrance exams) can make a world of difference.
Learning Disabilities Are Prevalent In School-Aged Children
School is supposed to present somewhat of a challenge, but it should be manageable. Unfortunately, children today are overwhelmed with the pressure of getting straight A’s, making honor roll, and passing rigorous timed tests, which can cause stress and discomfort beyond what their young minds are equipped to handle.
Some 10 percent of school-aged children struggle with learning disabilities, but most kids don’t admit they need help. Sadly, they’d rather suffer through the stress than ask for assistance.
But when learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dyscalculia are not addressed, children begin falling farther and farther behind in school, which can quickly and severely lower their self-esteem and put them in the middle of a never ending game of academic catch-up.
Many of us have unique ways of learning; we don’t necessarily fit neatly into an academic box. It’s no wonder some students get frustrated and give up on learning.
Psychoeducational Evaluations Help Build Individual Learning Profiles
Psycho-educational assessments yield a wealth of information on a child’s potential for achievement in traditional settings. A learning disabilities assessment can help you understand your child’s intellectual and academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as how they learn best. The statistics that learning disabilities testing yield will not only give you a much richer understanding of the reasons why your child is struggling, but you will walk away with a menu of recommendations for school-based services you can share with your school district, and tips and tricks to make things like studying and completing homework bearable for everyone again.
Dr. Nadine O’Reilly and Dr. Lisa Barrows have conducted countless learning disability tests since beginning our careers as school psychologists in 2003. Your child’s intake will consist of an interview of both you and your child as a way to gain the valuable background information needed to begin to paint this picture of who your child is and how they learn. We will also provide you with forms for yourself, your child, and your child’s teachers to fill out. All this data will allow your evaluator to gain a well-rounded view of your child’s functioning in school and at home and help us formulate a plan for the assessment.
Depending on your child’s age and presenting difficulties, we will use the applicable version of the Wechsler Scales of Intelligence test to evaluate intellect (I.Q.). We will look at your child’s executive functioning skills, such as planning, organization and time management. An achievement battery will be administered to assess your child’s current functioning in common academic areas. We will work directly with your child during this assessment, which typically takes between four and six hours to complete.
Once testing is completed and we have scored and interpreted the data, your clinician will prepare a lengthy, comprehensive report for you. Together, we will review the results and we will answer all of your questions in plain English. We will discuss tailoring a plan to best support your child’s education and future growth. With proper evaluation and diagnosis, your child can understand why they’re struggling and begin experiencing success in school. A new outlook may be all they need to regain the self-esteem they’ve lost.
You may still have some questions…
The cost of the evaluation is too high. Doesn’t the school do it for free?
Yes, at their discretion public school districts will evaluate your child for free. If you are interested in a school-based evaluation, contact your district’s Child Study Team and express your concerns. In many cases, a written letter requesting an evaluation is required, so make sure you are aware of your district’s procedures ahead of time.
What if my child does have a learning disability?
Learning disabilities are more common than most people realize. One in 10 students is diagnosed with a learning disability, and the most common are dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADHD. If you choose to seek a private evaluation, your next step should be to contact your school district’s special education team and request a meeting to discuss the results of the assessment. The district will determine whether your child does indeed qualify for services. If you need assistance understanding your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), seek additional information before signing this legally-binding document.
Will you share these results with anyone?
If your child’s testing reveals that they have a learning disability, it is up to you to decide whether you’d like to share the information with your child’s school district or any colleges your child applies to.