5 Simple Tips to Prepare Your Child for Evaluations Designed to Assess Areas of Difficulty.

Hopefully all have had a positive transition back to school! Sometimes after the first couple of weeks, it is brought to our attention that our child may benefit from an evaluation due to some areas in which they show some difficulty. This includes but is not limited to speech, language, following directions, reading, writing, the ability to sequence activities, sensory regulation, attention, hyperactivity, social skills, etc. This news is usually difficult to digest at first, but the earlier that you become pro-active about getting answers, the better the outcome of your child’s academic and personal success. After parents receive the news that their son or daughter needs an evaluation,  I usually receive this question, “How can I tell my child that they are being evaluated for this without ruining their confidence?” This is usually followed up with, “How can I tell my child that he or she needs intervention without making them feel inferior to their peers or siblings?” This is tough as a parent. As a mom of 4 boys, 2 of which struggle with issues related to dyslexia, I can empathize. What I have found in the years that I have evaluated and treated children for speech, language, reading, and writing skills is that instilling confidence in your child is the key to a happy and peaceful evaluation.

Evaluations are designed to help children develop and grow successfully.  With the right amount of encouragement from parents and the evaluating therapist, an evaluation can become a growing experience! 

In a casual conversation, try these tips when explaining WHY they are being evaluated. 

  1. Be HONEST about the evaluation and its purpose with information that is simple, direct, and positive. (Example: You will be working with Mrs. Thomas today to discover the things that are easy for you and also some things that may be a little harder for you (give examples of both). This is important so that we can discover the ways that you learn best to help you in the future.
  2. It is OK to let your child know that EVERYONE has strengths AND weaknesses. Remind them that our weaknesses are merely differences and they do not make us deficient. Give an example of your own strengths and weaknesses, how you have had to work hard to strengthen your own difficulties, and how it has made you the person you are today. For younger children, address strengths and weaknesses as things that are easy for them and things that are a little harder for them. Give several examples of yourself and other older members of the family. (Ex: Aunt Jenny is awesome at Math calculations but has to work harder at knowing how to get to places without getting lost.) For Perfectionists (I have a few of these children of my own, so I know it’s especially hard for them), let them know that not one person their age knows all of the answers on the evaluation (not one person!). Therefore, if they don’t know one or more of the answers, this is OK and the evaluations are designed that way.
  3. Let your child know that feeling nervous is possible and definitely OK, and give them strategies to get through it.  Strategies for older children include: deep breathing and remembering that this is just something for them to explore and find what they are really great at in addition to finding some things that might be more difficult. Remind them that this can only help them for their future. For younger children, nervousness appears more as timidness or uncooperative behavior in the evaluation. You will want to remind them that they will be in a safe place and can talk to the evaluating therapist (name them by name) about how they feel during the evaluation at ANY time. 
  4. Promise and deliver on a special treat for after the evaluation. This will create a positive spin on this day! Especially if the evaluation was difficult for them, they will have something to look forward to after they finish. I’m not talking “break the bank” bribery as it can just be something simple like a milkshake or something for their favorite hobby.  
  5. Lastly, YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD BEST! Explain the things about them that help them excel in what they do best (list them). It is important to let them know that these things and the things that are more difficult for them will be different than some or all of their friends. This is part of what makes them wonderfully unique! We don’t want to be the same as everyone else. Appeal to their confidence by building them up with the things that you know that they excel at individually, and let them know you are looking forward to working hard on the difficult things with them too!  This will also help them feel like they are not alone in this process. Like when going to a regular checkup at the doctor, we just want to make sure that they are strong in all of the areas that will help them continue to grow successfully!



Take the “Bummer” Out of Summer Reading! Share Your Tips Book Giveaway!

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There is only a little over a month left of summer break, and some parents may find themselves wondering…”How can I catch up on my child’s summer reading assignments while taking the “bummer” out of summer reading!? Here are just a few tips that have worked for us, but I am really excited about hearing what has worked for you! Don’t forget to enter your tips in the comments section and enter your email to “follow” my blog for a chance to win a FREE book of your choice!

Tip 1:  AUDIOBOOKS!!! Ok, some may say that this is cheating, but I disagree for so many reasons! First, it’s summer, and for those books that are difficult to read for your child or are just not as interesting for them, audiobooks are a great solution. I am NOT saying to use these for every reading assignment your child has assigned, but there are actually learning benefits to using audiobooks when the time calls for them. Your child still must visualize to comprehend the content, and they will be implementing listening comprehension skills using this wonderful technology! Plus, you can get some reading done while “on the go” in the car, on walks, etc. To make it even better, Amazon Kindle offers a “bundle” package for some books that provides the audiobook in addition to the e-book on your smart phone, tablet, and/or computer if you wish for you and/or your child to still follow along with the text! You no longer need a Kindle to download the books! Just your own smart device will do! We share the app on our phones and tablets and it’s one rate for all. Amazon Kindle is actually having a a great promotion for this through the month of July.  FOR AMAZON’S UNLIMITED KINDLE-ANY DEVICE- LISTEN AND READ PROMOTION, CLICK HERE!

Tip 2: Read aloud together as a family!  I have noticed that my kids become much more interested in a topic or a story when I and/or my husband are reading it with them. Lots of times they have questions about what they are reading, so what better way to address those questions than to discuss while reading together! We have had great conversations about books this way. This can also increase a child’s reading strategies, vocabulary, and comprehension tremendously by learning from you and what you know as an experienced reader and adult.

Tip 3: If your child is allowed to choose their own book, loves movies, but struggles with reading ambition, choose a book that also has a movie component and compare/contrast! We loved doing this with the books Holes and Wonder this year. We also read these books together and the kids were looking forward to seeing how the books and the movies would be the same and different from what they read and imagined. When we use books that have also been made into movies, we add a comprehension component by using a Venn diagram to mark down the differences and the likenesses between the versions. This keeps the kids more interested when they are reading themselves, and they tend to be more “tuned in” to listening when other members of the family are reading or during audiobook listening.

Share YOUR Tips and get a chance to win a FREE Book of your Choice- details below!

Please help our community of parents by sharing what has helped you this summer, or in the summers past, make summer reading requirements more enjoyable! Share your tip(s) in the comments, and when you enter your email to follow my blog, you will be entered in a random drawing to receive a book of your choice to enjoy this summer for FREE. There will be 2 winners, and the drawings will take place in a Facebook video that will post on Saturday, July 21st. Please note that there is NO email sharing on my site, so no worries there! You will just simply receive an email from my site notifying you of new posts and promotions. I can’t wait to learn from YOUR tips and ideas!

Full disclosure: I do get affiliate credit through Amazon if you click through my site, but I never recommend anything that I haven’t used and enjoyed from experience! 

Speak Read Grow’s Purpose: To Provide Information and Support to Parents of Children with Speech, Language, Reading, and Learning Differences.

I am the mother of 4 boys. I am also a homeschooling speech-language pathologist that specializes in pediatric speech, language, and literacy/dyslexia. So, between my personal and professional life, it is too often that I hear the following concerns and cries for help from parents:

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“I just found out my child has dyslexia. It is recommended that he/she receives specialized intervention three to five times per week but I just can’t afford it.”

“My child is not severe enough to qualify for services from the state, but my child’s speech sounds, language skills, and/or reading skills are not improving and this is affecting his/her confidence. We can’t afford therapy.”

“I am homeschooling my child, we are on a tight budget, and I need to know if I can help my child.”

“HOW can I help my child at home!?”

In result, I decided to create a place of support and assistance to meet the needs of these constant pleas for help, hence Speak Read Grow.  The answers are never simple and will be mostly child specific, but there IS hope. Although there is a definite need for a professional speech-language pathologist in many cases, there ARE many ways to help your child at home in the areas of speech, language, literacy development, and dyslexia that could lower your cost of therapy and expedite results in a timely, less-expensive manner.

I am on a mission to help you along in this endeavor. This blog will provide information and support in your journey through helping your child at home as much as possible, whenever possible. I will provide effective and affordable solutions to facilitate your child’s progress, and will also provide tips for keeping your child’s confidence soaring through it all.

My hope is that you feel encouraged and confident as we journey together through helping your child discover his/her strengths above weakness while improving skills and overcoming difficulty with a sense of accomplishment!