Preparing your Child for Testing

Parents often ask how they can prepare their child for a testing or evaluation appointment. While each child is different and there are many different reasons for an evaluation, there are a few general guidelines that can be helpful.

1) Try to ensure that your child gets a good night’s sleep and eats a good meal before beginning testing.

2) Brings snacks and something to drink. During breaks, your child can have a snack and this can be very helpful in maintaining your child’s focus and energy.

3) Try to allow plenty of time for finding our office and parking to avoid your child arriving feeling rushed.

4) If you have a younger child, avoid using the word "tests" and instead explain that they will be doing some "fun activities". Avoid using the word "games" because most of the tasks are more like thinking tasks than games and this could create disappointment and confusion. For some children, it is helpful to see the website picture of the psychologist with whom they will be working.

5) With older children who have a greater understanding as to the purpose of the evaluation, you may use wording such as "you are going to work with someone who can help understand how you think and learn" and "who can help us make decisions about what kind of school program would be best for you" or to "help us know what we can do to support you in becoming the best learner you can be".

6) There is no way to "prepare" your child for the testing content as the tests we use are protected and confidential so that they can be novel for all children. Please know that we are sensitive to working with children with various temperaments and needs, including those who are slower to warm up, more anxious, and more easily frustrated and we adjust our pace and approach in accordance to your child’s individual needs as much as standardization of test administration allows. We focus on developing rapport so that your child can feel as comfortable as possible.

7) If you are bringing your child in for a more comprehensive learning or neuropsychological assessment, please bring in copies (not originals) of any records such as prior evaluations, report cards, tutoring reports, and school-wide standardized testing.

8) If your child is older and comfortable with you leaving during the testing appointment, this is generally fine. For younger children or those who tend to be less at ease in new situations it is best to stay in the waiting room so that they can visit and check-in with you during breaks. The decision as to whether to stay and wait during the appointment or not depends on your child’s age, developmental level, temperament, and the comfort of you and your child. Many parents run errands but leave a cell phone number in the event that they need to return prior to the end of the appointment. Please feel free to discuss the specifics of this further with your psychologist.