If your child is just about to start school for the first time this upcoming school year, but you are concerned that he may struggle, you may be considering whether an evaluation is right for him. If your child has been in school for several years but has been struggling recently, you may have much the same question. However, many parents fear that an evaluation could reveal something that they did not know about their child, leading to anxiety for the next 12 years, or that an evaluation could lead their child to be labeled by teachers or peers. Knowing the truth about evaluations can help put your mind at ease and get both you and your child ready for the school year ahead.
- First, you may be right about your child being labeled by peers. However, this label will not necessarily be due to the evaluation itself. Instead, the label could be given because your child has different needs in the classroom or because he needs extra help.
- Second, an evaluation may actually help your child feel more normal. By giving him the help that he needs, he may feel more empowered to succeed in school. Giving your child the tools for success can help him fit in better with his peers. It may even improve his self-esteem in school.
- Third, you should remember that the goal of any evaluation is to get your child the resources he needs to succeed. The process is not designed for teachers and administrators to look down on your child or to label him. Instead, it is designed to open up a supportive community to your child so that he can reach his fullest potential.
Whether your child needs to be in a special education classroom or can stay in the general classroom with a few modifications or accommodations, an evaluation can be a healthy stepping stone to school success. Today, most schools recognize that bullying has been a problem in the past, and they have worked hard to stop bullying and to encourage students with “labels” to wear them with pride. You may be surprised to find out just how accepting the school will be of your child.