Getting your child evaluated for learning or attention issues can be an important step to help her get extra support to succeed in school. But your grade-schooler may not understand the evaluation process or why she needs to do it. Here are some situations that might come up during the evaluation process, and ways you can respond.
Situation: Your child needs to be pulled out of class for an evaluation.
The evaluation process might be confusing for your child. Be prepared to talk about the process in an open, positive way. It’s helpful to be upfront about what will happen. Explain to your child why she’ll be pulled out of class by a school psychologist or another professional. Holding off on explaining what’s happening until the professional’s reports come back may just cause your child to feel lost.
What you can say: “A man named Mr. Lamont will fetch you from class on Tuesday to give you a quiz. Don’t worry! It won’t impact your grades at school. We just want to understand more about the way you learn.”
Situation: Your child asks why she’s being evaluated when the other kids aren’t going through this.
Explain to your child why she’s being assessed. If you tell your child that she’ll be evaluated but don’t explain why, she might get anxious or upset. This is a good opportunity to start talking about learning and attention issues in a positive way.
What you can say: “Your teacher notices how smart you are, and she thinks that you don’t do as well on homework and quizzes as you could. A lot of smart kids struggle with school. Sometimes they need extra help or a different kind of teaching to help them do well in school. So, we’re going to do some testing to find out more about how you learn and what might help you do the best you can at school.”
Situation: Your child is worried the other kids will make fun of her because she’s being pulled out of the classroom for testing.
Make sure your child knows there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. With all the activity going on in today’s elementary classrooms, your child’s classmates may not even notice that she’s leaving for a short period. Let her know that her true friends would never judge her—because everyone has differences and not all kids learn in the same way.
What you can say: “Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about being pulled out of class. A lot of kids get taken out of class for different reasons. I bet the other kids won’t even notice. And if you do choose to tell other kids why you’re leaving class, I bet your friends will support you.”
Situation: Your child is evaluated and it’s determined that she needs special education services. She’s worried that this means she’s not smart.
Set a positive tone for your child. No matter what the results of the evaluation, teach her never to be embarrassed because she learns differently.
What you can say: “We know you’re so smart, and this will help you learn in ways that make more sense to you. You may learn differently from other kids, but that in no way means that you aren’t as smart as your friends. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”
Find out more about what to expect during the evaluation process.