Parents hope that their child’s school experience will promote intellectual growth, self-confidence, and curiosity. For some children, however, their school days are filled with frustration. While some level of frustration can help students develop problem solving skills, excessive frustration can lead to behavior problems, lack of interest in school, poor concentration, and of course – underachievement.
A comprehensive psychoeducational assessment helps to identify a child’s areas of strength and weakness to determine what types of intervention will help the student feel more comfortable in the classroom and function at higher levels. The process focuses not only on identifying learning difficulties and intervention strategies, but also on helping a student better understand her own learning style. This helps the student better advocate for himself or herself and often leads him or her to re-engage in the learning process.
There are many types of learning problems. Observation of signs of some common learning problems may prompt a parent to pursue this kind of assessment.
Assessment of Students who are Intellectually Gifted
Dr. Anderer has a particular expertise in working with children who are intellectually gifted. Identification of gifted intellectual skills can be essential for appropriate academic planning and placement. Signs of advanced intellectual thinking may prompt a parent to seek this kind of assessment to help provide appropriate services for and to further develop the gifts of these students.
These are general characteristics of various learning problems. If your child seems to have many of the characteristics of any of these exceptionalities, it may be helpful to consult with Dr. Anderer about the benefits of a psychoeducational assessment.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Has difficulty remaining in seat or sitting still
- Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Has difficulty awaiting turn in games or group situations
- Has difficulty following through on directions
- Has difficulty sustaining attention
- Often shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
- Often talks excessively - Often interrupts or intrudes on others
- Often loses things
- Trouble being organized or planning for long term projects
Language Processing Disorders
- seems spacey
- has trouble paying attention to information presented in an auditory format and seems to do better with hands
- on activities
- asks many questions to clarify directions
- has trouble following a string of auditory directions
- repeats material after you say it
- has trouble remembering things
- is unusually quiet during group discussions
- seems to take things literally
- does not seem to understand riddles or jokes
- often says “what?”
General Learning Problems
- complains about school
- has behavioral problems in the classroom
- acts like the class clown, is boisterous, wanders around the room.
- seems spacey - has trouble paying attention in class
- seems to study for exams but his efforts are never reflected on actual exams
- has trouble clearly expressing his ideas in clas
- spelling is not phonetically accurate
- has trouble grasping new concepts
- often fails to hand in homework - seems disorganized and has trouble keeping track of materials
- has trouble memorizing new information
- seems to have poor judgement.
- is constantly questioning
- easily acquires academic skills
- has an advanced vocabulary
- has a high level of knowledge about a particular topic
- easily grasps new concepts
- likes to have things done perfectly and has high expectations
- is a creative thinker who has innovative ways of solving problems
- has a sophisticated sense of humor
At times, even the brightest students can have trouble learning. It can be harder to identify difficulties in these students because their talents mask their underlying difficulties. These students may underachieve or may disengage from the learning process in an effort to protect their sense of themselves as a competent learner. Signs that these gifted students may have underlying leaning problems may indicate that psychoeducational assessment is necessary to re-engage them in the learning process.
- sensitive to criticism by others
- may use humor to clown in class and divert attention from low achievement
- may be regarded as disrespectful because of a tendency to question teacher’s facts and conclusions
- lots of interests at home, but seems uninterested in school
- avoids certain homework tasks -high level of background knowledge but does poorly on exams
The assessment process is geared toward gaining a comprehensive picture of the child. This includes obtaining information from a variety of sources to help to understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses. While each assessment is constructed to meet the unique needs of a specific student. In general, an assessment includes:
– An initial meeting with parents to learn about the student and to understand how he or she have functioned in the developmental process. This meeting also aims to formulate specific questions to be addressed by the assessment.
– With parental permission, Dr. Anderer may contact other professionals working with the sudent who could provide insight into their functioning. This may include teachers, tutors, physicians, therapists or others who have significant contact with the student. Noone is contacted without written consent from the parents as the assessment process is confidential.
– As part of the assessment process, Dr. Anderer may observe the student in the classroom or may ask teachers to complete questionnaires to gain a better understanding of how the student functions in the classroom.
– Two sessions are scheduled with the student, generally approximately three hours in length, at which point Dr. Anderer administers various measures to assess:
- Expressive language
- Receptive language
- Visual perception
- Visual-perceptual/motor skills
- Abstract reasoning
- Attention and concentration
- Organization and planning
- Learning style
- Sight vocabulary
- Reading comprehension
- Math fact mastery
- Calculation skills
- Mathematical reasoning
- Written language
- Emotional functioning
- Student’s view of himself as a learner
- Level of anxiety and how it impacts learning
- Ability to manage frustration
- Level of engagement in the learning process
- Other emotional issues that may interfere with learning.
– Following the assessment, a meeting is scheduled with the parents and the student to go over the results and recommendations. It is important for both student and parent to understand how the student learns and what strategies will help him or her to feel better and to be more successful in the classroom.
– A thorough written report is part of every assessment.
– After the feedback session, it is often helpful for Dr. Anderer to consult with schools or professionals who have been engaged to support the student. Again, this is only done with the written consent of the parents as the results of the evaluation are confidential to the parents.