For many families, distance learning has made parents more aware of how their kids are struggling in school or it has magnified issues that already existed. Even as most schools return to in-person learning and normal activities resume, there are still so many things we have little to no control over, but getting our children the educational help they need does not have to be one of them.
The first step to helping your child who is struggling with learning is finding out what their specific needs are. In this blog, I will first talk to families who are hoping to get an assessment through their child’s public school. After, I will explain some solutions that are available to families regardless of their learning environment, whether that be public school, private school, or homeschool.
Evaluations for Kids Struggling in Public School
Families who are holding out for an educational assessment through their child’s public school are having to wait indefinitely or do not qualify for testing. There are a few reasons for this:
1. Schools do not have the time or resources to catch up on the backlog of evaluation requests.
2. Public schools will not test a student until they are significantly behind their peers in one or more academic subjects. This is because schools are testing to find out if a student needs special education services.
3. Generally, teachers will use educational interventions to help students who appear to be struggling with certain subjects. Younger kids who have not had the opportunity to participate in interventions due to distance learning will likely not be considered for testing until they have experienced interventions first.
Discovering Why Your Child Is Struggling with Learning
There are so many reasons why your student may be struggling to learn, especially following distance learning. An assessment can help determine specific issues. While the barriers that stand between students getting educational assessments may look different for families that are in public school versus private school versus homeschool, some great solutions remain available to all three.
A private evaluation, a test done by a certified professional through a private practice, offers benefits that can positively impact a child for the rest of their life. An assessment will not always reveal a need for special needs services. However, it will show the areas that your child is strongest and weakest. This is one of the biggest advantages of doing a private evaluation rather than an assessment through a public school.
When I meet with a student, we gather insight into why a student may be struggling as well as why they may be thriving in other areas. This gives us a more complete picture of where the student needs help.
Educational Assessment Results
The results of an assessment may point to the need to write up a formal plan, such as an Individualized Learning Plan (IEP) or 504. An IEP lays out goals and objectives to meet student needs through special education. A 504 plan removes barriers for students with disabilities. This could come in the form of specialized technology, an allergen-free class, and more. A 504 plan does not include objectives and goals.
If the results of an assessment do not qualify your child for an IEP or 504 plan, public schools will likely say your child does not need further assistance from the school. With a private assessment, however, I am looking for more than qualification for special education services. I am looking for insight and ways to help your child individually. Here are a few of the many benefits that can come from doing a private educational evaluation: insight into strengths and weaknesses, personalized learning and studying strategies, effective tutoring, a boost in learning confidence, and more.
The prospect of having your child evaluated may feel daunting. You may have lots of questions. I am always happy to discuss any concerns and give parents an idea of how testing works and what they can expect. Please contact me if you would like to talk about how we can help your child who is struggling with learning get on the right track.