The aim of an assessment is not only to help identify a learning difficulty. Undoubtedly it is a relief for most parents to finally know why their child has been struggling, but this is only the first step. Once an in-depth assessment has been done and we have an overall, integrated picture of how the child learns we begin to understand what the child NEEDS in order to achieve to their full potential and knowing what these needs are can guide us in PLANNING how best to help the child achieve this potential.
The insights obtained from the child’s performance during the assessment and the recommendations given in the report ultimately aim to help teachers plan an effective learning environment. And this in turn will help ease the frustration felt by the child’s teachers, parents and the child himself.
Too often I’ve heard teachers say something like: “Well, I guess we’ll have to do it now because it says so in the report”. Well yes, but no! It’s about so much more than simply just following a recommendation because “you have to”. It’s about taking the time to really tune into the child’s way of thinking and learning.
It also needs to be an interactive process. Psychologists, Therapists and Educational Experts all need to be given feedback on their recommendations: What has worked? What hasn’t worked? And why? Not only does it help everyone involved in working with the child understand him better, but it also helps the expert refine their skills.
Maintaining the one sided view of assessments as just a way to “uncover what it going on” will mean that the learning difficulties identified during these assessments will simply become a self-fulfilling prophecy of underachievement as the child gets older. It is important the we all act on the recommendations made in the assessment report in order for the assessment to be truly beneficial.
Anel Annandale is a prominent Educational Psychologist with a passion for early childhood development and a special interest in neuropsychology.
She is experienced in the field and has established herself as an expert, often appearing on television shows such as Exspresso. She is also available as a guest speaker at relevant events and functions.