A young child is having difficulties in handling her academics. She is a bright student and has good memory powers. She can easily remember what her teachers have taught her in the class. She seems to be an auditory learner. She also has good observation powers.
This child was asked how she was faring in her examinations. She told me she would definitely get 40% in all her papers. I was surprised. Why 40%? when I asked her, she said it was the pass marks. So why was she limiting herself to 40% when she is intelligent, she had no answer. Why was she aiming for only 40%, was she under stress and couldn’t do better academically?
I wondered if she had any scholastic problems, or did she have problems writing down her answers. I have suggested an assessment for the child. I am not sure her parents have taken it in the right spirit.
Actually any evaluation or testing is more stressful for a parent than for the child. Mostly children take it on as a game and they enjoy the testing. They are getting individual attention, so they love doing it. And testing is not medical testing, only pen and paper ones, and most professionals make the test interesting for the child.
A scholastic assessment will help the child, his/her parents and the teachers understand in which area there is problem and what can be done to alleviate the problem. The more information that is gathered the better to understand the difficulties and proper guidance can be given. Sometimes the problem will be minor. It could be more sensory perception disorder. And this may require some occupational therapy.
With occupational therapy, the child will be able to write better. After this when the child attends remedial for writing, the child will see the improvement and will be motivated to perform better. It is like tweaking a little to bring on optimum performance.
An assessment is not done to belittle the child or the parent. It is done to help the professionals to understand which area the child needs help. After all it is the child’s welfare that is important, so in the process if the parents get worked up, they will have to learn to handle their emotions. The professional here is working to bring the child relief from some inadequacy. The parents have to understand this and co-operate with the professional.
When the child has been evaluated, the parent must make sure to understand the results. The parent can ask as many questions as he/she wants. It is the duty of the professional to educate the parent and get him/her to understand what the results mean. And the professional who does the assessment has to be a certified one. This must be ensured.
When a parent knows his/her child is intelligent, but not doing well academically, then the parent has to explore the reasons. Maybe a talk with the class teacher will help the parent understand the problems the child has in class. Is he/she performing well, is he/she having any difficulty in reading, writing or comprehension? How is the child’s handwriting? That is an indication the child is not too fond of writing.
If only the handwriting is a problem, the child can be enrolled in a handwriting class. There he/she will learn to improve the handwriting. It all depends on arriving at the problem area, then the guidance becomes easy.
As long as parents understand and accept that counseling professionals are only trying to help the child, things become easier. The child too enjoys the whole thing, and does not imbibe the stress of the parent.