If your child is struggling in school, an educator or counselor might recommend a battery of mental health testing. You might be wondering, ‘this seems like a lot for my child to go through, especially if there’s nothing wrong. What are the benefits?’
Yes, this can be a stressful time for you and your child. To help you determine the usefulness of these assessments, we’ll first discuss the history of these tests. Two types of testing, psycho-educational and neuro-mental health have been used for approximately 40 years to determine the needs of learning disabled children. Psycho-educational testing is administered to focus on educational issues, while neuro-mental health assessments focus on a broader range of matters that are attributed to mental and developmental delays, etc.
If your child has had a brain injury or is suspected to have autism or a developmental delay, these tests will be recommended. If your child is partially or wholly deaf or blind, has a speech or language impairment or emotional disturbance, or has specific disabilities, mental health testing will be recommended. The main reason to consider the usefulness of mental health and educational assessment is to provide a path for your child to follow if a learning disability is present.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, was signed into law in 1990 and provides disabled students to free and public education that meets each student’s needs. By consenting to educational and mental health assessment, you are ensuring that your child’s learning disability (if any) is fully documented. If your child does indeed present a learning disability, the documentation will make sure that he or she receives the resources needed. By law, your child is entitled to special needs services if he or she is confirmed to be learning disabled. Interventions and accommodations can be correctly identified and prescribed. If your child needs to be placed into another school to access the needed resources, you will have help along the way. In addition to helping with short-term needs, IDEA provides for long-term monitoring via follow-ups with social workers and other professionals. All of these resources will be available to you if testing deems your child in need.
If your child shows symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), displays behavioral problems, or is struggling in school, mental health testing will benefit you and your child in the same ways above. Not only does the testing provide a blueprint for your child’s path to successful learning, but also the assessments shed light on critical aspects of your child’s capabilities. Testing will indicate your son or daughter’s intellectual potential, his or her strengths and weaknesses, and his or her academic skills and deficits. This information can open the door to successful learning.
Conclusively, mental health testing is useful to you, the parent, if you want to confirm whether or not your child has a learning disability, provide access to the necessary educational resources, and unlock your child’s learning potential. While this can be a very stressful time for you and your son or daughter, the assessments are a foundation for the beginning of the rest of your child’s education.