Parents often ask “how do I prepare my child for an evaluation?” “what do I tell my child?” or “What can I say to help them understand?” These thoughtful parents want to encourage their child to comply with this important process.
Best practice is to provide your child with accurate information and expectations in a gentle and positive manner. The following is a list of Do’s and Don’t’s to help you best prepare your child before an evaluation:
- Do tell your child they will meet with a psychologist. Let them know you will be involved in part of the process (at the beginning) and later you will wait in another room while they are working with the psychologist.
- Do tell your child they will participate in a bunch of different activities. Some may feel like school (such as doing some math problems), and some are nothing at all like school (like arranging blocks).
- Do tell your child each activity is relatively short. Some are easy, and some are hard. If your child does their best, they are doing it right.
- Let your child know that the point is to discover how they best learn and how their brains work. With that knowledge, the psychologist can tell parents, teachers, and doctors how to best help your child.
- Do not tell your child they will be playing games with the psychologist. Tests and activities are not games — people only play games when they want to. Use the word “activities” instead of games.
- Do not tell your child it will be fun to be evaluated. This sets a child up for false expectations. Think of it like this: you wouldn’t tell your child that going to the doctor is fun. We go to the doctor, and the doctor is nice, and we can be rewarded for cooperating with the doctor.
As always, if you have questions before an evaluation always feel free to get in touch with the psychologist and ask!