When children experience learning difficulties in school, it can set the stage for life-long problems, affecting self-esteem and expectations for performance, choices in friends, motivation for college, and even choice of career. Significant and severe school challenges that continue year after year can shape a child’s identity and continue throughout the life span. But there are treatment options that can help parents, educators, and other health care providers change the course of a child’s experience in the classroom and beyond. That’s why obtaining the correct diagnosis as early as possible is critical because the earlier treatment starts, the better the long-term outcome.
Do any of the following questions sound familiar?
(Hint: they’re based on common parent statements.)
Does your child have difficulty completing homework and is still up at 10:00 or 12:00 pm—and so are you?
Does your child forget to hand in their homework even though it’s somewhere in the abyss of their backpack—which you are fearful of sticking your hand in because who knows what’s living there?
Does your child procrastinate until the last second, and you find yourself totally frustrated, annoyed, and turning into a parent you don’t like?
Do you find yourself pulling your hair out because all your best efforts to assist your child just aren’t working?
Does your child know more about the subject material than test scores reflect despite saying, “But I studied all night!”
Are projects a source of stress in your family because there are more parts to the task than your child can manage or remembers to tell you, and you were up all night while your child slept soundly?
Does your child constantly lose things or can’t keep track of multiple steps to complete a task, and are you often tripping over their stuff in the hallway even though you have told them to clean it up thousands of times?
Is your child not keeping up with the assigned readings in and out of the classroom?
Do you suspect your child may have Dyslexia?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your child might benefit from a neuropsychological evaluation to determine the culprit causing the learning challenges, such as poor skills in attention, executive function, language, or a reading disorder. The goal of an assessment is to provide a clearer understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to recommend individual treatment that could assist them in acquiring the skills needed to work independently and productively.
What to expect from a neuropsychological evaluation for a learning disability
The evaluation process typically consists of the following steps:
1. Phone Consultation
When a parent calls our office, they are immediately given a time to have a brief phone consultation free of charge to help determine whether NSW is the clinic best suited to meet their needs or those of their child. Following this conversation, an intake appointment can be scheduled.
2. Intake Appointments
We value parent input so two intake appointments are in most cases made – one parent intake and one child intake that are conducted on different days. The parent intake is designed to discuss educational, learning, and/or attentional problems. The child intake is so the child becomes familiar with the office setting, he/she is interviewed about various aspects of their lives both in and outside the classroom, and they are also explained the evaluation process . (These consultation appointments are 45 minutes in length.)
The testing is scheduled over the course of two days, with breaks as needed. During the assessment various instruments are utilized to assist in answering the referral question. We do not use a set battery of tests but pick and choose from a wide variety of instruments that can provide the data needed to answer a variety of questions and to plan the next step in a person’s life. We will then schedule a feedback session within 2-3 weeks of the evaluation.
4. Feedback Sessions
During the feedback session with the parents, we will review test results, diagnostic impressions, and recommendations and weave together a plan to help the parent, child, and school successfully reach their goals. We will integrate the neuropsychological data as well as what the parents observe with their child in the learning environment so that the session with the child is seamless and conducive to what the child is experiencing at school and home. After the feedback session, we will provide a written evaluation report describing treatment and/or management recommendations in greater detail, integrating information gleaned during the session. We are also happy to provide feedback to other providers.