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Assessments by their very nature can be unsettling experiences but I aim to put your child at ease and to give them every opportunity to show me what they can do well in addition to allowing me to see what they struggle with.

1. Information Gathering Stage

Prior to meeting with your child, I will meet with you to gather information about your child’s history, current situation and to discuss your concerns. In order to develop a better understanding of how your child learns, it is also important for me to get a sense of your child at school and we can think about how best to do this. I will also ask you to complete various documents pertinent to your child’s difficulties and to provide me with the necessary consent to gather information, to store information and to seek further information from relevant people. These documents will need to be returned to me prior to me assessing your child.

After meeting with you, it is then helpful for me to visit to your child’s school to observe him/ her in the classroom, to speak to the teachers and to hear how your child has responded to the strategies and interventions that have already been put in place. To see your child in a learning context helps me to understand how your child learns, what affects him/ her in the classroom and how the teachers are adapting to the needs of your child. Sometimes, parents feel that the school  information is not needed at this time; however, it is useful to know that some information from the school setting is very helpful and I can send the school a questionnaire to complete to add to the assessment should you prefer.

2. Individual Assessment

During this stage, I will meet with your child on 1 or 2 occasions either at his/ her school, at your home or in a child-friendly environment and present him/ her with a wide selection of standardised and non-standardised activities. I will work with your child to explore their cognitive skills, attainment skills and their sense of themselves as a learner.  The tests cover areas such as non-verbal reasoning, language, memory, organisational skills, reading, numeracy and phonological processing. It is also important to identify your child’s particular strengths so that these can be nurtured and developed in order to enhance their progress.

If the main concerns are about your child’s social and emotional development, a different assessment would take place although it can also be helpful to explore their learning profile as well to rule out any possible underlying learning difficulties.

3. Feedback

The important final phase of my involvement is to discuss the assessment with you and to share a draft report. Typically, we will discuss the draft report by telephone ahead of a planned feedback and planning meeting with you and if appropriate, the school. Recommendations and outcomes can be discussed further at this meeting and a plan of action agreed. The plan is usually written up by the school as an Individual Education Plan or School Support Plan. A final Report is then issued.

As previously mentioned, should your child’s school need further evidence and recommendations for examination access arrangements, I will include the relevant information in the final report. Similarly, for school admission purposes, the assessment would be tailored to the school’s requirements.

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