Assessments & Testing for Learning Difficulties

Filed Under (UnLearning Difficulties With NLP) on 12-11-2010

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If you’re reading this perhaps because you’re in a similar situation to that described below and searching for solutions, and if you apply what’s written here, it may give you just the solution you need, yet one you’d never have thought of.

A woman I worked with raised a fantastic issue that inspired me to share an important point, so here’s what she said followed by the point.

She said:

I have a daughter who is 8 and in second grade.  She displays many symptoms of dyslexia and I also have a major family history of dyslexia.  I want to get her tested, however the school has told me she is too young.  I have contacted a local psychologist and found that an assessment is (USD)$2,000+ which I can’t afford.  Is there something I can do to get the school to test my daughter for dyslexia?  And if they do test, I know that they offer extra time for tests, but do they offer other benefits such as tutoring?  What are the steps I need to go through with the school in order to get her evaluated?   Also, is there any material such as books or other sources that you could refer me to as I would really like to learn more about dyslexia?

And here’s what’s important about this:

The first problem is that there’re millions of books and sources out there that I could refer this woman to.   But I didn’t do that for the reason that the more of these books and sources one reads, the more confused one will get, especially if the reader hasn’t yet established a school of thought that s/he comfortably adopts to believe in.  Each source of information is someone’s opinion and each of those someones who write these opinions has their own knowledgebase and working background.  And it is this background which will put a different tinge on each of these opinions.  And it will be these different tinges that will confuse one in the long run.  Too much choice is as bad as not enough choice.  I totally acknowledge that this frustrated parent’s  positive intention was to learn more in order to help her daughter.  But how do you choose the RIGHT stuff?  According to how well whatever you read matches with your beliefs about the issue you’re reading about.  And this is another important factor to consider.  That’s why I didn’t refer her to any materials.

The second problem is that this approach concentrates your precious time, money, and energy on the wrong things.  You’re concentrating on testing.  Again I understand every parent’s positive intention behind doing this: you think the testing will tell you exactly what’s wrong and how to fix it.  But it won’t.  As the psychologist whom this woman contacted said, testing and assesments cost $2,000+ or whatever the figure in whatever the currency, so someone is making money out of assessing people.  But remember that assessment will NOT FIX your child’s problems!  Plus if you focus on testing and whether, where, how, and for how much to obtain it, you’re taking the focus away from how you could take your child out of dyslexia or whatever the learning difficulty.  After all,  that is your ultimate goal, but yes, I admit, it is very tempting to seek out assessments for everything in today’s society oversaturated with messages from the media, advertising, and those around you who know no better but to recommend the same [= word of mouth].

So what are you to do now? Change your focus from finding the affordable / best of assessments to GETTING YOUR CHILD OUT OF THE CONDITION ALTOGETHER.   YOU can help your child at home by yourself!  This may sound too good to be true, but is doable.  How?  By concentrating solely on your child.

  • How well do you know what’s going on in your child’s head?
  • When you say “my child displays many symptoms of dyslexia“, do you know WHAT EXACTLY those symptoms are?
  • Have you ever asked your child yourself rather than wait for an expensive assessment to tell you?
  • Do you know exactly how many symptoms s/he displays?
  • Do these symptoms pertain to any particular contexts?

These are the questions I advise that you start with.  Once you know the answers to them, you can start working with them.  Dyslexia is a set of learnt behaviors.  And if you now scroll up and read the woman’s words, you’ll see proof of this statement when you notice her saying that she had major family history of dyslexia.  So no wonder – her daughter has simply copied some of these symptomatic behaviors from her family members because, as the school says in the quote above, she’s too young.  Because children at a young age don’t yet have reasoning developed to the extent to which adults do, children simply copy things from their family members and friends.  Family members are especially important role models for children of a young age because they pose authority in the child’s life.  The child’s thinking is: “if mommy, daddy, auntie, and uncle do x, then that must be the way it’s done in the world = that must be the norm, so I’m gonna do it too“. This woman’s daughter had learnt all these symptomatic behaviours and is now doing them because she is too young to know any other and question those symptoms.

Every discerning parent has the potential to help his/her child at home without involving the school, and at no cost.  I’ve helped people of various ages and stages and don’t see why any other human being couldn’t do the same for their children instead of supporting the expensive practices of testing for dyslexia and other learning difficulties which lead to no better than filling one set of pockets and emptying another – yours!.

Contact me for more NLP help with dealing with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

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