Testing Through Developmental Stages
Parenthood is a rewarding and, at times, trying journey. It can be increasingly stressful when a young child appears to miss developmental markers observed in others within his/her peer group. Developmental testing in young children can be an important step in identifying a young child’s strengths and delays. Young children are often referred for testing because of delayed language skills, diminished social skills, separation anxiety, tantrums, and other atypical behaviors. There is a wealth of research evidence suggesting that early intervention best supports the developmental needs of young children.
SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
When children begin their formal education, they are faced with increased social and academic demands. In kindergarten, children are expected to follow daily routines, socially negotiate with peers and manage frustration. Children manage these challenges differently depending upon their cognitive abilities, academic readiness, social-emotional functioning and behavioral self-control. As children begin to learn to read and write, difficulties may emerge. Raizner Pediatric Neuropsychology assesses pre-academic skills and phonemic awareness in children as young as 5-years-old in order to begin to identify possible learning delays and/or Specific Learning Disorders (e.g., Dyslexia). Assessments can also identify other areas of cognitive, academic, socio-emotional, and behavioral strengths and weaknesses. Examples include attention difficulties and behavior regulation issues.
As children approach 3rd and 4th grade, academic responsibilities increase. Children are required to track their assignments, manage their belongings and turn in their work. Emphasis is no longer placed on “learning to read”. Instead, children are “reading to learn”. Sometimes, it is during these formative academic years that more significant academic challenges and frustrations emerge. Neuropsychological testing can help therapists, educators and parents identify the source of a child’s difficulty. Recommendations may include classroom accommodations, small group instruction, psychotherapy, parental support, or medical referrals.
MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL
“My teenager spends 4 hours on homework each night!” The workload placed upon middle and high school students can become overwhelming. This is particularly true for adolescents with specialized learning needs. Sometimes adolescents who were able to manage their workload with increased effort and support during elementary school, are no longer keeping pace with their peers in middle and high school. Furthermore, as the social pressures of adolescence increase, emotional dysfunction may become more pronounced during this phase of life. Neuropsychological testing can help students, educators and parents better understand the nature of an adolescent’s struggles.
COLLEGE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS
Young adults with a history of learning or attention difficulties may be eligible for accommodations within the learning support center at school. These services may include: extended time on exams, test taking in a smaller setting, books on tape, or other academic provisions. Raizner Pediatric Neuropsychology can complete testing batteries required by college and graduate programs in order to evaluate a student’s eligibility for continued support services.