By Kim Glenchur
Having a child undergo assessment for learning disabilities is a complex and confusing process for most parents. Parents often wonder where to find clear information about psychoeducational testing - what the tests involve and how to understand and interpret the resulting test scores. In her book, Learning Disabilities from a Parent's Perspective, author and parent Kim Glenchur does an excellent job of "demystifying" the process of psychoeducational testing. Following is an excerpt from her book which clearly explains the testing process and how to prepare your child for testing.
Psychology is the study of mental processes and behavior. Psychoeducational testing refers to the psychological tests used to analyze the mental processes underlying your child's educational performance. As part of the assessment, your child will undergo psychoeducational testing.
Numerous tests exist. Some are better than others. Because these tests will be used to determine the nature and severity of any underlying disorders, you should try to understand what these tests mean.
Preparing your child for psychoeducational testing can reduce anxiety and encourage cooperation through the upcoming battery of tests. One practice is to introduce the discussion by the number of days as the child is old; if the child is eight years old, discuss the evaluation at least eight days in advance of the testing.1 Reassure your child that the reason for testing is to understand why school is a struggle despite hard work and attempts to do well. Explain that the tests will contain a variety of questions, puzzles, drawings, stories, and games; and that the tests are neither painful nor about whether the child is crazy. Most importantly, offer the child hope in that the evaluation should show adults how best to help. Be open and honest as much as possible.
The psychologist doing the testing should have been trained in managing children with a history of academic failure. Test administrators try to make children comfortable. Do not expect your child to be aware of his or her actual test performance; correct answers are not supposed to be given out in order to maintain the professional integrity of the test. What really matters is whether the child is putting his or her best effort into each test administered. Some tips:
Since the test results will affect the child's future, a child should be able to ask about the results and the impact of these results. The assessment period will be an anxious time for you as well.
Reprinted with permission from Kim Glenchur. All rights reserved.
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