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How Do I Know If My Child Needs a Learning Evaluation?

School is a challenge. Your student will have ups and downs throughout the school year, but consistent learning challenges and difficulties may be caused by an unidentified learning difference or learning disability.

When a school notices that your child is struggling academically or behaviorally, they may recommend a psychoeducational or neuropsychological assessment. When a learning evaluation is recommended, you often have two primary options:

1.      Request your child’s school district to perform a psychoeducational assessment

2.      Seek an independent and comprehensive independent evaluation

Parallel offers comprehensive learning assessments, also known as comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations or neuropsychological assessments. In this guide, we will help you determine if your child needs a learning evaluation while explaining the ins and outs of comprehensive learning evaluations. If you are ready to take the first step towards getting your child evaluated, book a free consultation with a Parallel Care Coordinator today.

What’s a Comprehensive Learning Assessment?

The comprehensive psychoeducational or neurodevelopmental evaluation – also known as a learning disability test – measures a child’s:

  • Cognitive processing abilities (such as memory, reasoning, attention, and executive functioning
  • The existing level of academic skills in a variety of subject areas
  • Social, emotional, and behavioral functioning

Assessing your child’s learning abilities identifies their strengths and weaknesses. This assists with developing a targeted learning plan that uses their strengths to further develop areas of weakness.  The results of a psychoeducational assessment are compiled into a comprehensive report that will give you and your student’s teachers understanding of their learning profile. Assessments may include the formal diagnosis of a learning disability.

The comprehensive learning assessment report will include a growth plan for your child, which might include exploring a variety of support programs and appropriate interventions. These support programs and interventions are designed to help your child succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Signs Your Child May Need a Psychoeducational Evaluation

It’s common for a child to struggle with reading, writing, or math. A child may also have a tough week or even a difficult month behaviorally or socially. When a student is struggling, families can work with tutors to see if improvements can be made based on traditional approaches to education in the classroom.

However, if your child continues to struggle despite extra support in certain areas, it may be time to look for an independent learning evaluation or request testing through their school.

Here are several indicators that can determine that a student’s difficulties should be addressed by a professional:

  • Problems persist beyond a transition period or time with a particular teacher
  • Disparities between skills and subjects, such as doing very well in math but struggling with reading
  • The student gets frustrated or defeated by schools (saying things like, “I’m not smart” or avoiding school)
  • The teacher is expressing concern about challenges they can’t address in the classroom
  • A complete loss of interest in school as a whole, believing he or she is “bad at school”
  • The student asks for an assessment (make sure to listen to them)

Additional examples of signs that your child may need testing include:

  • Behavioral outbursts, withdrawing from others, or an increase in stress
  • Skipping classes or absenteeism
  • Low grades in school
  • Regular notes home from teachers
  • Anxiety about going to school, performance, or being away from parents
  • Unexpected behavioral reactions to minor problems
  • Becoming increasingly concerned about doing things accurately or perfectly
  • Inability to do homework or concentrate
  • A sudden change in attitude toward friends, school, or their own capabilities
  • Extreme amount of time spent on homework

Other indicators to look out for include:

Language and Speech

  • Appears frustrated when they struggle to communicate or find the right words
  • Finds it difficult to understand idioms or jokes like “I’m all ears” and “It costs an arm and a leg”
  • Voice sounds rough, nasal, squeaky, or scratchy

Motor Skills

  • Finds it particularly difficult to/can’t manage writing their name
  • When they write letters and numbers, it’s illegible
  • Appears to have low stamina or weak muscle tone
  • Has trouble using tools like scissors
  • Struggles to play sports (catching or kicking a ball)

Social Skills

  • Avoids maintaining eye contact with you or others
  • Finds it hard to interact with other children
  • Is prone to misinterpreting or missing what others say
  • Finds it difficult to continue the natural rhythms of play or conversation
  • Demonstrates little social responsiveness to you or others (for example, fails to respond to their name, ignores another child who enters a room)

Learning

  • Experiences organization and memory issues
  • Has difficulties with rhyming, learning letters and their sounds
  • Finds it hard to follow directions or pay attention
  • Gets frustrated doing grade-level work
  • Has inconsistent grades or gaps in abilities
  • Grades and school performance declines
  • Experiences consistent difficulties in getting homework finished
  • Consistently fails to finish tests in time
  • Refuses to go to school or tells you they hate it

There are many professionals around the world and likely in your area that can support you and your child. However, the prime goal of a comprehensive learning assessment is to fully understand your child’s learning profile and to discover solutions to their challenges by recommending the correct types of interventions and help available.

Remember, you’re not alone in this! Many parents and families go through the process of having a child tested for learning differences. Having the right information can empower both you and your child to advocate for their learning and use their strengths to reach their fullest potential. At Parallel Learning, we’re here to help and offer testing, evaluations, tailored plans, school placement consultations, and much more.


Do you suspect your child could benefit from a comprehensive learning assessment?

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