back-to-school-tip-11Part of preparing for the school year ahead is knowing where you’ve been.  In this blog post I encourage you to review all of your child’s assessments and take some steps to ensure you understand them and they are being utilized to help develop your child’s individual education plan (IEP).

Start by pulling out all of your child’s recent assessments.  Pull out any assessment type records you have for your child. This can include psychological reports, report cards, medical documents, clinical records/assessments (Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology, Physiotherapy, Social Work etc.).

Now when I say recent, I really assessments that would still be considered a valid representation of your child at this point in time. For example, your child may have had a psycho-educational assessment 2, 3 maybe even 5 years ago or more.  However, because that assessment is designed to target your child’s strengths and weaknesses cognitively and academically as well as help identify the best resources and strategies for your child based on their individual learning profile, much of the information can be utilized for several years as a basis for planning.

3 things to consider and act on when you are reading through your child’s assessments are:

1. Determine if it’s still RELEVANT – is there information in the assessment report that can help others understand your child? If the answer is yes, jot down anything you want to revisit or emphasize with your school team.

2. Look at any recommendations that have been made. Have you used/tried/utilized them all? Are there things that have been overlooked? These reports often yield lots of information.  After we receive the results we initially prioritize our next steps and some things may have been put on the back burner or been less relevant initially.  Go back and make sure that all recommendations have been considered.

3. Ask questions, do some research. As a parent you’re not an expert in psychology, medicine or education unless that is your professional background. Look for key words/terms you don’t understand in the report and do some research.  For example if you don’t really understand what “working memory” is and your child has difficulties in this area, you NEED to know and understand how working memory works and creates challenges for my child. The important thing is that you understand as much as you can about any assessment information about your child.

While reading have your notebook ready to jot down or highlight anything that you feel needs to be revisited or any questions you have for your school team.  This is such an important step to help you get clear on what your child’s learning profile is, what strategies and supports your child will benefit from and the questions you need to ask your child’s school team.

Final tip – be sure to take your notebook to the next meeting!