How an independent educational assessment might be useful for your child
In a situation where a parent or school feels that a child’s learning isn’t progressing in the way they would want it to, and the child is becoming stuck with learning, or frustrated, an educational psychologist can be consulted, to produce an educational psychologist’s (EP’s) assessment.
How does an educational psychologist support a child?
Children’s development varies and not all children achieve at the same rate. However some children have difficulties in specific areas which other children seem to find easy.
Often parents are concerned about literacy or numeracy skills that are below the child’s apparent ability. Handwriting, spelling, writing speed or reading comprehension may just not reflect what the child is really capable of.
A child may be experiencing general difficulties with learning in school, poor examination results in comparison to class work, or showing avoidance of homework and reading at home. Learning styles vary and some children really struggle with attention, concentration and motivation in class. There may be difficulties with the processing of information either visually or verbally, or both. Memory, organisation and planning may be poor.
Some children find it difficult to make and maintain friendships. They may lack confidence and self esteem, or find social situations challenging. Some may experience bullying or develop a dislike of school.
Very bright children are sometimes overlooked at school, and an assessment can highlight ways to extend and support these pupils as well as ensuring their specific learning styles and strengths are maximised. Children approaching examinations and school transitions and transfers can really benefit from an educational assessment, and often parents just want to be sure that their child is in the right school for them.
Sometimes there is just a feeling that something is ‘not quite right’, and a detailed assessment of strengths, weaknesses and learning styles is sought to shed light on what might be going on.
Uses for an Educational Psychology report
The assessment and the report will play a key role in obtaining an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) which can prompt a local authority to provide the required support, and it will be crucial should you need to mount a legal challenge regarding a school place or the provision being made in your school.
For older children, the assessment will enable them to receive extra time/help in examinations if appropriate. It is an important document and you should ensure you keep a copy. You should also give a copy to a new school or college as your child moves through the education system.
How A Parent Can Help
Children develop at different rates and you should pace any learning at home. It is also important to have good open communication with teachers. Schools should have an open door policy where you can go in and observe your child and discuss your child’s needs with teaching staff.
It is part of the teacher’s role to keep an eye on the levels of social skills in children, so you can ask about your child’s friends. Then you will be ready to talk about learning more formally. You have to decide as a parent what bits are important to you.
Ask if there are any problems – if your child’s learning is not progressing in the way that the teacher expected at this stage. Take notes when you talk to the teacher, it may raise further questions.
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