Before your school-age child can be set up with an IEP or special education services, he or she must be evaluated to prove that there are physical, mental or social issues that stand in the way of proper learning among peers. This evaluation is almost always done at the school where your child will be interviewed and examined by professionals from an array of disciplines. For example, a psychologist and educators are usually present. In other cases, you may disagree with the decision of the school-based evaluation team, and you may choose to have an independent evaluation done. No matter what type of evaluation your child is going to have, you will want to prepare him or her for what will happen. This can help to allay nerves, answer questions and set minds at ease, thus helping your child feel comfortable throughout the process and making the evaluation proceed as smoothly and accurately as possible.
Elementary-age children may not be aware that they are having issues with learning. You may need to ease these children into the discussion by asking them about how they perceive school. For example, the child may say how parts of school are difficult, thus opening the door to a productive discussion. Children who are in the teenage years most likely know that they struggle with certain parts of school. A simple discussion about what types of support services they may need may suffice.
Children should be aware that their evaluations will cover many aspects of education. It may include what physical helps they need as well as special services, such as tutors, transportation or testing accommodations, that could help them.
It can be easy for school children to pick up on the emotions from mom and dad. If you are feeling anxious about the evaluation, your child most likely will as well. Rather than scaring the child by discussing all of the things he or she should do during the evaluation, you should speak about this activity as being designed to help the child do better in school.