Dec 27, 2022
I feel very strongly that if we put in place certain practices, more children with undetected learning disabilities would be identified early and receive appropriate treatment. There’s a lot of education that needs to be done about the different learning challenges that students face. And that’s why I started this podcast.
In this re-aired episode of the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast, I discuss the first step in uncovering why a child is struggling - assessment. Why does a child need an assessment? What does an assessment involve? What does an evaluation tell parents and educators? Let’s dive into what an assessment looks like and why it is more than just testing.
[1:29] - The reasons you seek an assessment will vary per child, but you see their difficulties are hindering their success.
[2:38] - It is never too late to evaluate a child when you see that they are struggling and need some support. An assessment helps you get to the root of the difficulties.
[3:35] - Some struggles can be overcome by implementing appropriate intervention.
[4:12] - The assessment is so much more than testing.
[6:13] - A child’s early developmental milestones will also be discussed to find if the challenges the child is having now may have been observed early on as well.
[7:23] - Dr. Wilson also explains that the assessment involves gathering information from other sources, especially from teachers.
[8:38] - Observations will begin when they first enter the office.
[10:04] - An assessment should also involve the child’s perspective. It's not only about getting information from parents and teachers.
[12:01] - There are several domains that are being assessed during the testing session. Domains may vary depending on the test, but Dr. Wilson breaks down the domains you will find in a comprehensive evaluation designed for determining the root of the problem.
[12:27] - One such domain is Intellectual Functioning. This typically asks the child to complete tasks that they have never been asked to complete before.
[14:09] - Another domain that is typically assessed is Academic Achievement in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Math.
[15:35] - When assessing academics, Dr. Wilson explains that some tasks will be timed and others will be untimed which helps determine an appropriate intervention or accommodation.
[16:21] - Another domain that’s assessed is Attention and Concentration which can greatly interfere with learning processes.
[17:15] - Can the child pull information from memory? Does the child have a stronger visual memory than verbal memory?
[18:39] - Another process that is looked at is Executive Functioning which is an umbrella term that includes organization, planning, and an individual’s ability to work towards a goal.
[19:19] - Language Functioning includes expressive language and receptive language. How do they express themselves? How do they understand others?
[20:14] - The evaluation also looks at Visual Spatial and Visual Motor Functioning which helps us understand how the child perceives information that he or she sees.
[21:23] - Something important to keep in mind is that children and adolescents are social beings. They will often have an emotional response to their struggles.
[23:15] - In parent and teacher questionnaires, there will be questions about stomachaches and headaches to determine if there is a pattern.
[23:50] - Behaviors such as defiance or breaking rules are also looked at as these could co-exist with the learning difficulty or a way for the child to cover up the struggle.
[24:45] - Media use will be asked about which could be affecting sleep, attention, and has a connection with depression.
[26:46] - Exercise is also looked at as it can enhance mental health and brain growth. Is there a connection between the child’s amount of exercise and their challenges?
[27:18] - Once all of this information is gathered, Dr. Wilson can use it to determine if there is a disorder, what the disorder is, and can then develop an appropriate intervention.
[28:51] - The information from this assessment also helps a parent or educator be more patient and gives them guidance on how to help them.
[30:23] - An assessment is only the first step. It determines the reason for the struggle and once we have that information and gives us a roadmap to help the child to overcome their struggles so that they can thrive.
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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.