Learning is not a simple process. We all hope that our children fly through academic milestones, and we can relate when one or two particular subjects prove troublesome. But what do you do when test scores don’t seem to mirror your child’s abilities, your child struggles with learning issues that seem baffling, and the school psychologist can only offer limited assistance? That’s when a professional psycho-educational evaluation can help.
What Is A Psycho-Educational Evaluation?
The title sounds intimidating, but this kind of evaluation is just a series of tests and empirical observations by a specially-trained psychologist meant to analyze your child’s mental processes and behavior patterns.
By identifying your child’s learning style, processing patterns, and memory abilities, the professional evaluator gets a good look at your child’s fundamental strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, he or she can begin to identify any learning disabilities or behavioral issues that may be hindering your child’s full potential.
Fundamentals Of A Psycho-Educational Evaluation
The evaluation itself usually begins by measuring a child’s cognitive skills using a test like the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC). This test, done on a computer or with a pencil and paper, measures four aspects of your child’s cognitive abilities:
- Verbal Skills
- Perceptual Reasoning
- Memory Skills
- Mental Processing Speed
This analysis may be followed by an academic achievement test to measure skills in reading, math, and other subjects. Discrepancies between this test and the former can help identify certain learning disabilities.
Depending on the particular challenges your child faces, a third test or set of tests may be administered to evaluate other cognitive and behavioral issues, such as:
- Attention issues
- Executive function abilities such as organizing and seeing a project through to completion
- An overall psychological assessment
The evaluation process can take several hours in one sitting, or shorter periods over a span of a few days.
After all the testing is done, evaluators offer the test scores and as well as a written explanation of what they mean in terms of your child’s situation. The evaluator offers solid advice and recommendations on how to enhance your child’s educational experience based on their individual profile. If the data they collected warrants it, they may also diagnose learning disabilities and recommend accommodations in the classroom so your child can charge forward in sync with his or her peers.