Having a very young child who is experiencing difficulty at school is distressing for parents as well as for the child. It can affect the whole family, including siblings. Parents bring their young child to Junior Kindergarten with tremendous feelings of optimism and rarely suspect that their child may experience difficulty learning. When a teacher calls a parent to discuss concern about their child’s slower than anticipated academic skill development, feelings of anxiety and stress quickly follow. This article discusses such concern and how to address it.
Early signs of a problem
Children who have a history of delays with early development are more likely to struggle with learning when they are school aged. Did your child exhibited early language delays, such as developing speech after the age of 3 years; or had fine motor delays, such as reluctant to colour, difficulty with using scissors, tying shoe laces or doing up buttons; or was always on the go or seemed to have difficulty paying attention even for short periods of time.
In Junior and Senior Kindergarten, did you notice that your child struggled to learn letter names and/or letter sounds? Did your child struggle to learn the numbers? Was printing numbers and letters difficult? Were there difficulties in learning the names of shapes or colours? Comments from the Kindergarten teacher may have included that your child is not meeting and/or needs more time to meet the curriculum expectations. Teachers may have noted that your child needed one to one assistance to complete work. During carpet time did teachers mention that they were not paying attention when the lesson was taught or that they blurted out answers or were restless/fidgety and needed more space around them so not to disturb their neighbours. You may want to consider an Educational Assessment, also known as a Psychoeducational Assessment, to determine your child’s learning strengths and needs once they are 6-years old because early intervention is the best way to support your child’s academic skill development.
Education Assessments in Ontario schools
In Ontario, a child who is struggling in Grade-1 may have to wait until Grade-3, to be put on a waiting list for an Education Assessment (Psychoeducational Assessment). Even if they are put on the list prior to Grade-3, it is possible that they will be seen later, after Grade-3. Wait lists for an educational assessment in Ontario schools are generally long and a child may remain on the list for 2–3 years, if not longer. The time that your child’s name comes forward for an assessment will depend on the needs of your child, the needs of other children on the list and the needs of school at that time.
While waiting for an Educational Assessment your child may continue to struggle academically and possibly continue to fall further and further behind. Your child may become frustrated if they find the work too difficult for them. Children with learning problems are well aware that other children in the class can do the work but they are unable to. They may complain that they do not like school or that it is too hard. Doing homework at home may become a battleground as your child refuses to do assigned work because it is too hard. This may result in episodes of crying or frustration turned to anger.
As time progresses, without an Psychoeducational Assessment, your child may lose confidence in their capabilities as a student. It is only natural that a person’s self-esteem may be compromised if they begin to have doubts about their ability to succeed. This could affect their motivation to attempt to learn new things at school. They may even lose interest in learning. Unfortunately, these students often become disinterested in school or learning. For many children with learning challenges school is not a place that is friendly or fun. Behavioural issues may emerge.
A Private Educational Assessment at Toronto Psychological Services
At Toronto Psychological Services, I can complete a comprehensive Educational Assessment in 2-4 weeks NOT 2-4 years.
Related article: How many hours does it take to complete an Educational Assessment
I routinely assess young children aged 6+ years of age. I help parents and school personnel understand the factors that impact a child’s learning. Some factors include intellectual and memory abilities, fine motor abilities, language abilities, phonological processing abilities, and academic skills. When I assess your child, I may also evaluate their self-esteem and attention. I can help a young child feel comfortable and relaxed so an accurate measure of their abilities can be attained.
When I complete an educational assessment, I share the results with parents during a feedback session at our west Toronto clinic. Parents will receive a detailed written report that they can take to their child’s school and/or pediatrician. The report will contain recommendations that are specific to the needs of your child. I encourage parents to share the report findings with the school in order facilitate school-based academic support for their child.
I have had more than 10 years experience working in schools completing Psychoeducational Assessments. Now, I am enjoying the opportunity to provide private psychological services directly to the GTA community. The recommendations I make will be tailored to the needs of your child based on the results of my assessment. I have an in-depth understanding of the type of recommendations that are needed to support identification through an Individual Review and Placement Committee (IPRC) and that help teachers write a focused Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child.
Psychological services are covered by your workplace benefits. To consult with an Educational Consultant please contact Toronto Psychological Services.