Despite the potential cost (if a family decides to opt for an Independent Educational Evaluation) and the necessary time commitment, Neuropsychological Evaluations can be immensely helpful in helping you and your child’s teachers and support team understand how your child’s brain works, and how best to support him/her.
The Benefits of Obtaining a Neuropsychological Evaluation
- The evaluation validates your child’s strengths– depending on their age, children with learning disabilities often have low self-confidence, and may not recognize their own strengths. There are activities that you can do with them at home, such as this strength rope idea from Understood.org, but ultimately, your child may not recognize their strengths, and sometimes, they won’t trust their parents and teachers to recognize their strengths without rose-colored glasses (i.e. “You’re just saying that because you’re my mom/dad/teacher”).
- The evaluation can highlight the underlying difficulties your child is experiencing. This can help you recognize patterns in your child’s difficulties. For example, if your child has ADHD that can result in a difficulty with reading, as well as a difficulty with organizational skills. While reading and behavior appear seemingly disparate, attention can impact both behaviors. Managing the ADHD will help your child when he/she receives interventions around reading and organizational skills.
- The recommendations help support your child in and outside of the classroom: chances are, if you are considering obtaining a neuropsychological evaluation for your child, it is because you and/or your child’s teachers have noticed him/her struggling with academic and/or social skills. The evaluation can
- The recommendations section are often specific and will uniquely support your child (vs. taking more of a “crop duster” approach where you may trial several strategies that ultimately do not help your child).
- The evaluation will highlight how your child tests best (try saying that 10 times fast!). Some neuropsychologists purposefully provide your child with multiples tests that assess virtually the same thing, with only subtle differences, to reveal what environments help your child demonstrate their strengths. For example, the Gray Oral Reading Test . This can also lay the foundation for obtaining Testing Accommodations or Strengths-Based Accommodations.
- The list of relative strengths and difficulties can lay the foundation for your child’s self-awareness and, eventually, their self-advocacy.
- The strengths outlined can help you and your child figure out how to compensate for their areas of difficulty. Maybe your child enjoys drawing pictures more than writing words. Great! Then, she/he can take visual notes in lieu of written notes (read more about the potential benefits of sketchnoting from KQED’S Mind/Shift).
- If your child receives a diagnosis, then he/she will be part of a large community of individuals with learning disabilities, which can also become a source of pride. Organizations like Eye to Eye provide mentorship for individuals with Learning Disabilities in order to harness their LD pride, their self-advocacy, and their sense of community.