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Should I Get My Kid Tested?

All parents want their children to learn in a fair and enriching environment, but that doesn’t look the same for every child. Students struggling with academic, social, or emotional challenges may require additional support to help them reach their potential. In most cases, however, students can only receive special accommodations if they’ve been tested for eligibility by a licensed specialist.

But all students face challenges in one way or another – how does a parent know if their child should see a specialist?

What Psychologists are testing for

There are a variety of issues that psychologists can identify and recommend accommodations for. Now is an ideal time to get your child tested, as it allows you to make any necessary arrangements for accommodations. Consider visiting a specialist if you think your child may be struggling with any of the following challenges:

1. Learning Disabilities

Throughout your child’s school day, they are asked to process information in a variety of ways. They see numbers, hear directions, and write down answers. Many children have difficulty processing information in one or more ways which can delay their learning and reduce their confidence. Common learning disabilities can impair a child’s ability to focus, read, write, spell, process sounds, interpret language, or understand math symbols. If you suspect your child may have a learning disability, getting them tested can qualify them for accommodations and/or modifications to help them work around their areas of difficulty.

Check out our blog on securing accommodations and modifications for your child on the SAT/ACT

Click below to listen to Dr. Marta Shinn’s podcast on understanding accommodations and modifications for SAT and ACT tests

2. Emotional Intelligence Issues

While intellectual intelligence is important, many studies suggest that emotional intelligence (EQ) may be even more important to a person’s success than their IQ. If your child has a hard time understanding or managing emotions, it can impact their grades, self-esteem, resiliency, and coping skills. Having your child’s emotional development evaluated can help you learn ways to increase their EQ and improve their academic and social experiences.

Check out our blog on 5 Tips for Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

3. Academic Giftedness

Like every child, intellectually gifted children need love, support, structure, and challenge to reach their potential. Unfortunately, the needs of gifted children can often get a bit neglected, especially when teachers are preoccupied with assisting struggling students. Testing for academic giftedness can help you become an informed advocate for your child. By learning about their abilities and development, you can work with the school to ensure they provide a stimulating environment for your child.

4. Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological condition that can impact your child’s motor skills, sensory perception, language development, emotional health, and social life. Each of these areas have a significant impact on their academic performance and mental well-being. As its name suggests, autism displays itself in a variety of ways across a wide spectrum; if you suspect that your child may be showing signs, it’s  important that they be evaluated. Once a child is diagnosed with autism, there are many effective methods teachers can use to support their learning.

5. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can present itself in different ways – your child may have an irrational fear of hurricanes, worry excessively over tests, or avoid social situations at all costs. Whatever the cause of their worry, anxiety can impact their academic performance, physical health, and emotional well-being. Getting your child tested for anxiety can help you in working with your child’s school to understand their challenges and provide them with the emotional support they need to manage their symptoms in the classroom.  

Check out our blog on how to STOP anxiety in its tracks

6. Trauma

While most parents try their best to protect their children from troubling experiences, it’s inevitable that children are sometimes exposed to traumatizing situations. If your child has gone through something traumatic, whether it be surviving a car accident, witnessing your recent divorce, or losing a loved one, they may need support in learning healthy ways to cope. Consulting with a specialist can help your child learn effective and healthy ways to overcome trauma and get back to focusing on school, friends, and fun.

Visit Variations

If you think your child might benefit from educational consulting or psychological evaluation, Variations can help. From testing, walking you through the IEP or 504, or advocating for your child on campus, Variations can support your family every step of the way.

Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D., is an expert in child and educational psychology. She provides educational consulting to evaluate each child’s emotional and behavioral development and assess if there are other factors such as learning or attention differences that may impact their academic experience. Dr. Shinn works with parents and children to overcome obstacles and help children strive for their academic potential and emotional well-being.

*Please note: since the publishing of this blog, Variations Psychology has narrowed its focus to diagnostic testing and psychological evaluations. Our Doctors can evaluate whether you or your loved one have a diagnosis and guide you through the next steps in achieving your mental health or academic goals. While Variations does not offer counseling, our diagnostic evaluations allow us to refer patients to specialists who are best equipped to meet their needs. In addition, this link can guide you through a directory of therapists, psychiatrists, treatment centers, and support groups in your area.

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The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.

More about Variations Psychology

Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.

Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).

See our Specialists page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you.

Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.


Laura Thi Lam & Susan L. Kirby (2010) Is Emotional Intelligence an Advantage? An Exploration of the Impact of Emotional and General Intelligence on Individual Performance, The Journal of Social Psychology, 142:1, 133-143, DOI: 10.1080/00224540209603891

National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml

Types of Learning Disabilities. Learning Disabilities Association of America Retrieved online https://ldaamerica.org/types-of-learning-disabilities/


How to Cite This Blog Article:

Shinn, M.M. (2018). Should I Get My Kid Tested?  Psychologically Speaking.

[Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/schools-out-should-i-get-my-kid-tested