This year has taught us that “school” is much more than a place kids go to hear a lesson. School is a bustling ecosystem of people, routines, resources, and interventions within which we hope our children can thrive. 

In biology, students study ecosystems like forests and learn that the various parts of an ecosystem are called “factors.” Factors include living things, like the trees and animals, and nonliving things, like the rain, rocks, and air. Students learn how all the pieces are equally important to one another and, when in balance, allow the inhabitants of the ecosystem to thrive and grow. 

The educational ecosystem is just like the forest. There are parts both living and nonliving, between which the delicate interplay allows students to thrive and grow. Only, in the educational ecosystem, the various parts are called “external supports” instead of factors. External supports are anything which assist your kid’s ability to learn or produce schoolwork.  

The educational ecosystem has been disrupted and… it might be a good thing.

During a regular school year, students are in an environment full of external supports. They have the presence of other students, the physical school building, the class schedule, the bells that ring, the milieu associated with the expectation of doing work, recess, the school nurse, and the kid sitting next to your kid who knows how to spell or set up a math problem and whose paper they can glance at. All these external supports influence your child’s sense of what is expected of them and reinforce behaviors conducive to achieving a student’s goal: to learn. 

This year, however, students are tasked to continue to learn absent of the helpful procedures, routines, and personnel they’re used to. Without the external supports — what happens? 

Well, you are given the opportunity to see your child for their natural strengths and weaknesses; the opportunity to see them for who they are when they are flying solo. This topsy turvy new reality has unmasked your child’s most pressing needs and addressing them can have reverberating positive effects for your child’s future. How can you address them? With a psychoeducational assessment.

What is a psychoeducational assessment?

Psychoeducational testing is an important first step in understanding the nature of an academic, behavioral, or emotional concern. Testing utilizes a variety of activities and tasks tailored to your child. Evaluations include tests of memory, attention, visual processing, language comprehension, and social-emotional functioning to clarify persisting problems and develop a roadmap of solutions. 

The process begins with you, the parent, calling in for an intake interview which focuses on your concerns and questions. You’ll schedule your child’s assessment, which typically spans two sessions. With intermittent breaks for rest and snacking, your child will complete tasks focused on uncovering the factors underlying your concerns. Afterwards, the evaluator thoroughly assesses the test results as they relate to the concerns. You will discuss their insights and findings during a follow-up appointment.  

The Myriad Benefits of Assessment.

You will learn what supports your child’s needs. Supports are extra tools individualized to your child to help her best learn and thrive. These supports can take the form of academic accommodations, teaching modifications, mental-health counseling, speech therapy, or self-supporting strategies. You’ll learn how you can help harness your child’s strengths to get her to a better place and support her weaknesses to give her security as she grows. 

With an understanding of your child’s unique cognitive make-up, you can choose the most effective ways to communicate, build routines, or dispel negative emotions.

You’ll have a professional by your side. You won’t be on your own to guess at what is going on with your child or what may be helpful. The psychologist  who administered the assessment will walk you through the results, decipher their meanings, share their insights, invite you to ask questions, and help you understand what you hear. Together, you will discuss the appropriate next steps. 

The evaluator will also speak with tutors, physicians, and other clinicians who work with your child when needed. 

You’ll receive an official report that includes the recommendations, suggestions, and explanations that were outlined during your meeting. If you need to ask for resources for your child, the report is key in helping you secure them. The report documents the reasons for the requested resources, as evidenced by an official psychoeducational assessment.

All involved will have peace of mind. An assessment can cool the frustration of all involved by offering explanations and solutions. The assessment might even teach you that your concerns are nothing to be worried over at all. With a professional’s opinion, you could learn that your child’s behavior and reactions are completely typical for their age group. 

For your child, it is often much better for her to know why she is struggling and that something can be done. Rather than feeling lost and possibly engaging in self criticism, she learns that her struggles are manageable and that she has strengths to be proud of, too. 

Remember — discovery is empowering! Learning a full overview of your child’s abilities allows all involved to understand her more clearly, obtain the support that will help her overcome obstacles so she can flourish, and — possibly most importantly — allow her to know herself better

Schedule an in-person appointment with Georgetown Psychology.

At Georgetown Psychology, our team of professionals provides psychoeducational assessments. Whether your child is a kindergartener or a young adult, it’s never too early or too late to address your — or their — concerns. 

We administer assessments both remotely via a virtual appointment and in-person in our offices. Our in-person arrangement allows testing to be conducted in a manner as close to standard administration as possible while maintaining necessary COVID safety precautions.

For in person evaluations, our testers wear masks in shared space, practice hand hygiene, take temperatures, and use medical-grade air purifiers. COVID tests are required for both testers and students prior to the session. We’ve configured our offices to comfortably host both tester and test-taker in rooms separated by a glass door, which means masks are off when tests are administered. We strictly adhere to infection control recommendations detailed by the CDC and are constantly adjusting our protocol based on the most up to date guidance issued. 

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