At a glance
Many families feel unsure about getting their child evaluated.
An evaluation is the first step to getting your child the right help in school.
It can be a relief to know what’s causing your child’s difficulty.
If you’re hesitant about having your child evaluated, you’re not alone. It can be a hard decision for many families. Some worry their child will be labeled or treated differently. Others wonder if their child’s challenges are “serious enough” for an evaluation.
1. It’s the first step toward getting your child help.
An evaluation can lead to your child getting needed support to thrive at school. The school will use the results to decide if your child is eligible.
Watch a mom (and expert) explain how getting an evaluation can help your child.
2. It helps you and the school understand your child’s challenges.
The testing will show exactly which skills your child is struggling with. That includes academic and cognitive skills, along with social-emotional skills. Testing will also shed light on your child’s strengths. Having that information lets you and the school use your child’s strengths to work on challenges.
Get an inside look at an evaluation.
3. It helps the school provide targeted support.
If your child is eligible, the school will use the evaluation results to create an . This legal plan provides the specific help your child needs to improve. That may include individualized instruction, supports like , and therapies like speech-language or occupational therapy. The IEP will include specific goals for your child and ways to measure progress.
Learn more about the IEP process.
4. It can be a relief for you.
Nobody wants to find out their child has challenges. But not knowing for sure can create stress and uncertainty. When you learn more about why your child is struggling, it’s easier to reach out for support for yourself and your child.
5. It can be a relief for your child.
Many kids feel better knowing there’s a reason for their difficulties. An evaluator can explain to kids why they’re struggling. Just having a name for their challenges can be a relief.
Hear from a school psychologist about the positive way an 8-year-old reacted when she found out she has dyslexia. “YES!” she screamed. “So this means I’m not dumb!”
An evaluator can also explain how different supports and interventions can help. This lets kids know that the school and their family are working together to help them. And it gives them a chance to participate in that process.
6. It sheds light on strategies that can help at home.
When you understand what your child is struggling with, you can find tools and approaches to help outside of school. There might be that makes things easier, like text-to-speech. Or simple tools like calendars, timers, and pencil grips that can ease everyday challenges.
An evaluation can determine if your child is eligible for an IEP.
An IEP would provide targeted support for your child.
Understanding your child’s challenges allows you to find strategies to help at home.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
Preetika Mukherjee, PhD is a neuropsychologist in private practice.