When a child begins to struggle with academics or self-regulation at school, the first question that comes to mind is whether my child needs an assessment. Among the many questions we get asked as educators is if we can teach a child who obviously struggles, but doesn’t have a formal assessment or diagnosis. The short answer is yes, we can. Below we offer some insight to the questions we hear very often.
- What does a psycho-educational assessment do?
- Assessments measure cognitive functioning, learning and memory, ability to self-regulate, executive functioning, among just a few.
- When is it administered?
- The school might bring it up when they see that a child struggles and certain measures have been taken to remediate the gap. A general suggestion is to wait till the child is eight years old because it allows to administer a broader variety of tests and as a result, to reach better conclusions.
- Which tests are involved?
- The two very typical tests are the ones that measure cognitive (WISC) and academic (WIAT) ability and find out if a child is performing at their best cognitive ability at school. Other tests analyze socio-emotional, behavioral adjustments. In the end, the results are compared.
- Is the assessment worth it? Could we do without it?
- Having a psycho-educational assessment is an invaluable investment into your child’s learning if you feel there are struggles and exceptionalities. It could undoubtedly help your child to navigate the rough seas of the school system and provide the support
- Do you need us to have an assessment? Can you teach a struggling student who is not planning to have an assessment?
- We can successfully teach a student who does not have a formal assessment. During the intake, we assess a child’s current level of reading, writing and math in comparison to the school expectations. After that, we do a placement test to determine the entry into our own programs. We make sure that we work at the baseline level to achieve the goals. In small steps, a student is on his way to achievement. We see the academic process as small building stepping blocks rather than sprints.
We never worry if we have to place a student a few grades behind their current school level. We would like to make sure that we build a strong solid foundation rather than a tall shaky house. Placing a student at their level also ensures they are feeling successful about their gains and perceive the process of learning as enjoyable.
- What about self-regulation, sensory and social skills?
- We observe the student closely and offer opportunities for slowing down or sensory stimulation. We have ways to address self-regulation through academic work. We advise the parents how to proceed at home using similar techniques as in class.