A child's school experience makes up a significant part of their personal history as well as influencing their future career and employment opportunities. Therefore, school is often the foundation on which our child?s future is built.
For most children and adolescents, schools operate to meet the demands expected of them in terms of our children's development of appropriate academic, social, and emotional skills that will contribute to their experience of a successful future. However, for a small proportion of children, the school is seen to be the cause of their abject misery. Learning for these children becomes a very difficult and frustrating experience, where they are often acutely aware of the differences between their abilities and those of their aged peers. Frequently these children may demonstrate:
- acting-out and distracting behaviour- an outcome which can lead to the development of other difficulties such as being "labelled" as a difficult child
- psychologically withdrawing from the class and its activities
- anxious and depressed feelings due to an inability to cope and being seen as "not good enough" and different to their peers.
- avoidance from school, such as truanting from school, high rate of unexplainable 'sickness', or avoiding specific classes which are particularly difficult
By rectifying the cause of the child's learning difficulties, these types of problems can be avoided and, consequently, go on to experience positive and successful school and personal outcomes. The ability to identify and rectify these learning difficulties can be achieved via the process of a Psycho Educational Assessment.
A Psycho Educational Assessment involves following:
- Interviews with parent/s and child
- Reports and/or comments from class teachers
- Completion of standardised behaviour questionnaires
- Completion of standardised cognitive, language, reading, and achievement tests. Other testing measure in addition to these may be required depending on the child's situation.
- Collation of all sources of data into a report- including recommendations for remediation of identified difficulty/ies.
It is important to note that in order to gain the most credible and valid information as is possible on which to make and assessment of the child's learning difficulties, all attempts are made to establish a positive and respectful relationship with the child and their family.
Learning Difficulties Signs and Behaviours
Learning difficulties can be difficult to identify as they may manifest through a number of different behaviours, which may seem unrelated to the actual difficulty. However, there are a number of typical behavioural indicators which may suggest the need for investigation in order to make sense of the behaviour.
- Comprehension difficulties: verbal/written
- Reading and spelling difficulties
- Weak oral language including difficulties understanding the social use of language, e.g. getting jokes, eye contact, respecting personal space, turn-taking in conversations
- Written Expression, sequencing a narrative
- Handwriting difficulties
- Mathematics/Arithmetic Difficulties
- Speech difficulties and reluctance for oral expression
- Requires frequent repetitions of instructions
- Poor organisation skills
- Poor attention and concentration ability
- Low self- esteem and lacks confidence
- Anxious and unhappy/ depressed
- Slow in processing information and completing activities
- Difficulties with peer relationships