How an Evaluation Allows for your Child to be Seen Fully!
Today I looked at my busy calendar and had one appointment that made me more nervous than the rest. It wasn’t any of my counseling clients, those I was ready and excited to get to know better and dive deeper into their experiences. No, it was the 15-minute phone conference I had with my son’s teacher. As not only a child counselor, but also someone who has spent a decade and a half specializing in evaluations and diagnostics under some of the best and brightest mentors in the state, it seemed perplexing why this call would cause so much anxiety. Coming from my background, there wasn’t a thing this teacher could tell me about my child that I didn’t already know. I know him completely from the mom perspective, as well as the clinical side. As I started reflecting on these emotions-us counselors might reflect too much- I realized what it was. I didn’t care about the challenges the teacher has surely observed in my child and would report, I wanted him to be seen fully.
This experience made me feel even more empathy for the evaluation process and for the parents during the evaluation process. As I reflected on how I desired for my own child to be seen, I realized that this is even more so with an evaluation. I knew there could be words thrown around describing my child, such as emotional immaturity, fine motor coordination difficulties, etc. These are areas that we have been addressing for years. However, I didn’t worry that those would be seen; instead, I worried if all of him would be seen. I worried would they see that he prays for his teachers every night, would they see that he buys toys thinking of his classmates that would like to play with them, or would they know that he is so loyal that he has memorized all of his friends’ birthdays? Seeing all of those things in addition to his challenges is seeing my child fully.
An evaluation has an even bigger opportunity for your child to be seen fully. Sure, your child might struggle to read and write, but their creativity is off the charts! Or, social communication is a challenge, but your child connects on his level by sharing all the facts he knows about his friends’ interests. AD/HD might be a diagnosis that helps your child channel all of his energy into a sport. These are the things that I see during an evaluation.
I once had someone tell me that a diagnosis does not make your child any different than they were the 30 seconds before the diagnosis was given. Instead, that diagnosis gives you an understanding for your child’s unique challenges with a roadmap to how to help! Instead of focusing on what your child is struggling with and trying a million things that probably won’t work, a diagnosis tells you what will work. One missing puzzle piece is provided to help your child be seen fully.
The next time you are struggling with the decision to evaluate your child, try asking the evaluator these things before setting up the appointment.
1. How do you test for my child’s strengths?
2. Are my child’s strengths reported in the written report?
3. How will you make sure my child is comfortable during the process?
4. How will this process help my child?
5. Can I follow up with questions regarding interventions?
Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/