Back to school: when should my child get an assessment?

We are again at the time of the year when long, lazy summer days become a distant memory and children head back to the routine of the school term. Hopefully everyone had a lovely summer break and is ready for the new school year.

Starting a new grade can pose many challenges for children, like making new friends, learning a new classroom routine, and getting to know a new teacher, as well as higher expectations and a more demanding curriculum.

I previously wrote about the benefits of getting an educational assessment for your child here. It can be very useful to have a comprehensive profile of your child’s abilities and academic skills so that teaching and learning activities can be personalised and targeted to best suit your child’s needs and strengths. This way your child is given the most opportunity to develop and learn successfully.

But when is the best time to get an assessment? Sometimes parents tell me that when they have expressed concerns about their child’s progress, people have told them “don’t worry, your child will catch up”. Sometimes this is the case, and it is prudent to work with the teacher to figure out if your child’s difficulties are just in settling in or something that requires more investigation. Teachers like to wait and get to know their students at the start of each year so they can assess the levels of ability in their classrooms.

However, if your child has persistently experienced difficulties with learning, higher expectations of a new grade level can highlight these problems, and the gap can appear wider between children with learning difficulties and their peers. It is beneficial to get an assessment earlier rather than later, so that your child has the chance to get the support they need. If they are left to struggle, they may miss out on important learning that sets the foundations for what comes later – and the harder it is to catch up.

I sometimes hear parents tell me that they are disappointed that they waited so long to get an assessment and wished they had acted on their instincts that something was amiss with their child’s learning. Early identification and early intervention are the most effective ways to get your child’s learning on track. We also don’t want children to lose confidence in their abilities as a learner. All children can learn and have the potential to succeed – we just need to give them the right tools to do so.

For more information on the process of an educational assessment, please read my other blogs or contact us on 8361 7008.

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