One question that I have parents asking me all the time about coming in for testing is this: “What do I tell my child?” There really is no universal answer to this question. The answer has to be based upon what the child can handle. How old is the child? What is the child’s cognitive functioning? Just to name a couple…
The goal is to speak to the child at a level that he or she can understand. It is important to not lie or cover up the reasons for the visit. Many times parents attend an intake session because of concerns regarding the child’s academic performance. It is important to be upfront with the child. Children are quite intuitive and know a lot more than we often give them credit for. I would first have parents ask the child general questions (it is important to do this, even if they already know the answers since this serves to prime the child’s memory): any combination of the below questions might serve to help guide the child.
Questions to Ask Your Child Before a Neuropsychology Evaluation:
- “Do you like going to school?”
- “What is hard about school?”
- “Are you happy with your grades?”
- “Is it hard to listen and pay attention to the teacher?”
- “Does it bother you to have to play alone?”
Once the child admits to one or more of the questions, it is then appropriate to explain that the purpose of testing or therapy is to help address the specific issues and make school more enjoyable.
After the child understands the purpose for the testing or therapy, it is always important to explain to him or her what the actual session will look like. I always advise parents to ask the individual that will be working with your child lots of questions. Find out who will be doing the work, where will the work take place, how long would the child be there, are there breaks available, and what will the child actually be doing. The goal is that the child will be ready for testing or therapy and have a basic idea of what to expect.