Why Should a Child Be Tested?
A thorough school neuropsychological evaluation is the only way to truly understand the challenges to learning, managing emotions, and/or succeeding socially in a manner that can drive prescriptive interventions. All evaluations are not alike. Being trained to give tests and record numbers in a document is not rocket science. However, it does take trained individuals to know what tests to give, why to give selected tests, how to corroborate developing hypotheses of what is happening, and how to analyze the impact of identified cognitive weaknesses on attention, emotional regulation, and social functioning. Most importantly, and what can be considered “rocket science,” is the know how to develop a plan to assist in all areas.
To “do it right” and secure a comprehensive school neuropsychological evaluation, significant investments in time and money are required.
When areas of weakness are clearly identified and brain systems do not develop as expected, there are things that can be done in any case. Beyond what can be done to enhance underdeveloped areas, the information secured is of incredible value in creating an understanding for parents and teachers, as well as driving accommodations that can assist the child in attaining success.
An investment in understanding how a child’s brain works will, in fact, be the best venture a parent can make in their child’s lifetime. With the information secured through a thorough evaluation, we can instruct the “village” (parents, teachers, tutors, etc.) on what can be done to minimize obstacles to success. This will assist in creating a happier and more self-confident child, save a significant amount of money, and reduce possible future heartache.
I will propose what can be done to assist with each area of weakness (see conceptual model presented earlier), consistent with the personal budgets of each family. While there are some things that can be done at a minimal cost, there are other very costly interventions. Each child’s plan to reach a higher level of success must be driven by the severity of the issues, impact of the challenges on the child’s self-esteem, availability of time, and most critically, the availability to afford services at a level which can be maintained long enough to yield a robust response.