Assessment as a tool to help plan support for a child

Child in Occupational Therpy

It’s about tuning into the child’s way of thinking and learning

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.

Comments ( 12 )

  • author-hexa-bg

    My child has learning disorder he is in grade one can make a speech pliz I need your help

    • author-hexa-bg

      Hi Lindiwe,

      Have you had him assessed him? As assessment will help identify his learning difficulty and then help you plan the way forward in terms of treatment and intervention. I would suggest that you take him to see an Educational Psychologist near you.

  • author-hexa-bg

    I have a daughter with Dyspraxia- it affects her speech, forming of sentences etc. i would like some insight as to how you assess a child with a speech problem using a global IQ test?? I think its actually quite ridiculous that all children need to fit into some box called “normal” and if they dont do well on your so called IQ test they are labelled as being retarded? How does that work?

    • author-hexa-bg

      Hi Verika,

      That sounds crazy! Who did the assessment? And were they aware of the fact that your daughter has Dyspraxia? A comprehensive assessment measures a wide variety of stuff (much more than just IQ) and should have taken her Dyspraxia diagnosis into consideration. There should have been a clear indication in the report that the results are not deemed to be valid / does not give a clear indication of your daughter’s abilities due to the fact that her Dyspraxia would have undoubtedly impacted negatively on her scores. I know that some (in my opinion unethical) psychologists will simply do an IQ test and then base all their recommendations and results on that, sometimes it is because psychologists in other registration categories are not thoroughly trained in the same assessment tools that Educational Psychologists are. Anyway, I think you should address it head-on with the psychologist and if you do not find any joy I would actually report them to the Health Professions Council. Good Luck!

  • author-hexa-bg

    I need to have my son assessed. Im in durban, are there any practices around the durban area?

  • author-hexa-bg

    My Niece who is 8years old shows signs related to ADHD and we have been getting lots of alarming complains from school,although she seems to grasps things well but she is very restless,impatient,destructive,cant seem to follow any orders-and cannot focus on anything long enough. Its really hard for all of us,i would love for her to be assessed so we can know how to deal with her,i have tried going to our local clinic but they don’t seem to understand.Please assist with more info and direction.


  • author-hexa-bg

    I have a 12 year old son who has difficulty in therory learning and following instructions but he loves practical work. He shows no interest in school. Im situated in Sophiatown Johannesburg.

    Kind Regards

  • author-hexa-bg

    Hi. I think my son has lack of memory and learning barriers he forgets numbers when counting he cannot add on his own or subtract he passed his grade 1 but this year he was demoted to grade 1 they said hes not ready for grade 2. I think he also has Attention problems please help. Im from Pretoria

  • author-hexa-bg

    I have suspected for a while that my son has Aspergers. I’d like to get him assessed. We live in Vaalwater in Limpopo.
    Where can I get an assessment done for him?

  • author-hexa-bg

    I would to bring my child for assessment and would like to know the following:

    1. Do you take medical aid?
    2.If not what is your consulting costs?



    • author-hexa-bg

      Hi Kagiso,

      Each one of our psychologists run their practice differently, so you would have to check directly with the psychologist in your area.

      Which area do you live in?

      • author-hexa-bg

        My son has just passed Grade 9 but he is not a achieving his full potential. All of the teacher comments say the same thing that he is battling to focus in lessons. Please forward names of good psychologists on the east rand who can test him and possibly medicate. Thank you

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