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Today's Family Magazine

Why educational testing might be right for your child

By Rebecca A. Boyle, Ph.D., IMFT-S, PCC-S

Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to their education.  It's natural to be concerned about your child's learning skills and their ability to keep up with their peers.  In today's competitive world, academic success is often seen as a key determinant of future opportunities and achievements.  If you're experiencing doubts about your child's progress or suspect they may be facing learning challenges, educational testing could be the right step to take.

Educational testing is a comprehensive process designed to assess a child's cognitive abilities, academic skills, and overall learning potential. This process is typically conducted by trained professionals, such as educational psychologists or special education experts.  It involves a range of assessments, including standardized tests, interviews, observations, and sometimes even medical evaluations, depending on the concerns raised.

One of the primary reasons why educational testing might be right for your child is to identify any learning disabilities or developmental delays. Learning disabilities, dyslexia, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), can significantly hinder a child's academic progress.  Without proper identification and intervention, these conditions can persist into adulthood and affect various aspects of life, from school performance to self-esteem.

Additionally, educational testing can pinpoint your child's strengths and weaknesses.  It's not just about identifying problems but also recognizing areas where your child excels. This information can help you and your child's educators tailor their educational experience to maximize their potential.  For example, if the testing reveals that your child has advanced math skills, they can be provided with more challenging coursework to keep them engaged and motivated.

Moreover, educational testing can be a valuable tool in advocating for your child's needs.  If the testing results indicate that your child requires specialized support or accommodations, you can work with their school to develop an individualized education program (IEP) or a 504 plan.  These plans can provide your child with the necessary resources and adjustments to succeed academically, regardless of their learning challenges.

Furthermore, educational testing can alleviate the stress and uncertainty that both you and your child might be experiencing.  If your child is struggling in school, it can lead to frustration and a decline in their self-esteem.  By understanding the root causes of their difficulties through testing, you can take proactive steps to address these issues and provide the necessary support.  

In conclusion, if you have concerns about your child's learning skills and their ability to keep up with their peers, educational testing can be a crucial step in helping them reach their full potential.  The first step is always to meet with your child’s teacher and voice your concerns.  School systems are equipped to conduct educational testing.  At times, your school system may not agree to test your child.  In that case, you may need to contact professionals outside the school.  Dr. Rebecca Boyle from Senders Pediatrics in South Euclid conducts educational testing.  She has an M.Ed. in School Counseling and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy.  She is a licensed professional counselor, a licensed school counselor, and a marriage and family therapist.  She has over 30 years experience in the public school system both as a special education teacher and as a school counselor.  She has a similar amount of experience with educational testing.  Her life’s work has been in helping children achieve success in school.  Please contact her at [email protected].