Now that you've learned what an evaluation is, you may be wondering if you should get your child tested for learning and attention issues.
It’s a big step. And for some parents, it can be a tough decision. They may wonder if their child will end up being labeled if she’s found eligible for special education services. They may also question if their child really needs to be tested.
The more answers you have, the easier it will be to make an informed decision. This guide offers information and advice that can help you as you consider whether to seek either a school or private evaluation for your child.
What Happens in an Evaluation
You may have questions about the process, or concerns about what your child will experience. The evaluation process can vary. It depends on who’s doing it and what your child is struggling with. But even if the process is somewhat different, the testing itself is largely the same. Know what to expect in a school evaluation.
The Benefits of an Evaluation
Having your child evaluated is the first step toward getting him supports and services at school. But testing shows strengths as well as weaknesses. Having both of those pieces of information can help the school—and you—find strategies that work.
When to Seek an Evaluation
As a parent, it can be hard to know when it’s time to have your child evaluated. You may wonder if she’ll outgrow her difficulties, or if they’re serious enough for you to take action. But just being concerned she has learning and attention issues may be reason enough to look into it.
Worries About Stigma and Labeling
As parents consider getting their child evaluated for special education, academics may not be the only concern. Some may worry about a possible social impact. Will their child be labeled? Will other kids bully him or treat him differently? Will stigma and myths about learning and attention issues limit his options for future success?
Considering a Private Evaluation
If you’re thinking about a private evaluation for learning and attention issues, you may have a different set of questions or concerns. Private evaluations are done by a professional outside of school, and they can be expensive. This professional may use many of the tests a school would use. But private evaluations are often more in-depth.
If you’re considering a private evaluation and are concerned about the price, explore resources for finding free or low-cost private evaluations.
Considering an ADHD Assessment
If you suspect your child has ADHD, there’s only one way to know for sure. You’ll need to get your child properly assessed by a professional who works with kids with ADHD. For some parents, this can be a difficult step. There are many myths and misconceptions about ADHD.
Considering an Early Intervention Evaluation
If you have a very young child, getting an early intervention evaluation can lead to supports even before your child starts school. Learn what to expect in an early intervention evaluation.
Preparing for What’s Next
An important part of the process of deciding on an evaluation is getting information and insight from people who work with your child. That includes her teacher and her doctor. And if you decide to seek an evaluation for your child, there are other ways to prepare before you take that step.
Get tips for talking to doctors about diagnosing learning and attention issues. And discover steps to take before you request an evaluation.
Here are the next steps in your evaluation journey: