A comprehensive assessment can play a vital role in diagnosing learning, movement, attention and behavioural problems, and can assist with developing action plans to address those problems, and monitoring progress. A thorough assessment will involve gathering information from the parents, teachers and health professionals, and will typically include a full review of the child’s background, formal testing using standardised tests, where appropriate, and observation. It will also include, where appropriate, the views of the child.
The report can help to guide a plan of action at home and at school or at times of transition planning when a move from one school to another may be considered.
The assessment should be an encouraging process seeking out strengths and planning for the future. Some of the time will be spent gathering information from the parent and this is usually done without the child present, so that the parent can freely talk about any concerns they may have. It is useful to have a second parent or carer there while this is happening so your child is not left alone. Bring along a game to play or a book to occupy the child so they are not bored while this is happening. This may take up a quarter of the assessment time.
Preparing your child can reduce anxiety and encourage cooperation. The assessment is not an admission of the child’s failure. It is a positive act, aimed at ensuring that all their hard work and attempts to do well can be turned into even better results. Explain what the assessment will involve- discussion with the parents, testing the child and then some guidance and advice to the parents. Make sure that the identification of the child’s strengths is emphasised.
Try to schedule any assessment during the time of day when your child functions best. If things get tough, acknowledge that your child is doing their best and that you are proud of them. Look always to encourage your child.