Why Early Detection for Struggling Students is Important

Posted by Erica Warren on

Struggling students often show signs of academic problems at an early age.  They may complain about homework, independent reading, or going to school altogether.  Parents might also witness other telltale signs such as trouble tying shoes, difficulties following directions, or maintaining focus, to name a few.  With large class sizes, it is not uncommon for bright kids with learning disabilities to remain unrecognized, and they can slip through the system.
Confident student after being tested.

Why is Early Testing for Learning Disabilities Important? 

Seeking screeners and a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation, when signs first arise, can help a struggling student uncover the root problems.  If they are given the needed support, they can develop compensatory learning strategies, overcome areas of difficulties, and receive the needed accommodations and modifications. Specifically, testing can quickly uncover:

  1. specific diagnoses that guide teachers and parents to the best remedial approach.
  2. remedial support ideas that can help students quickly get back on track with classroom expectations.
  3. social-emotional assistance so each student can feel good about themselves and their accomplishments.

What Kinds of Testing Can Be Done?

There are a number of kinds of testing:

1) Screeners: These simple assessments determine the likelihood of an area of weakness or disability, such as our FREE Dyslexia Screener or our FREE Executive functioning screener.

2) Psychoeducational testing:  This comprehensive evaluation includes testing of a student's intelligence, cognitive processing, psychosocial/social-emotional development, and areas of academic achievement. This is often done to determine if there is any type of disability. Parents of school-aged children can request testing through their local, public school system, or they can pursue outside testing from a local professional such as a neuropsychologist.  Although outside evaluations can be quite costly, if you do your homework and find accomplished testing professionals, you can get results that can help pave a way to academic success. The International Dyslexia Association offers a provider directory.

3) Academic achievement tests: These measurements determine a student's academic progress or areas in need of instructional attention.  We offer two such tests: The Good Sensory Learning Reading Assessment and The Good Sensory Learning Spelling Assessment and Remedial Approach

4) Student Self Assessments: Self-assessments enable students to take and self score their own evaluation.  One such example is the Eclectic Learning Profile that uncovers a student's best ways of learning by presenting a series of questions concerning 12 different ways of learning.

5) Entrance exams: Private schools and colleges require testing for the admissions process.

  • Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE)
  • Secondary School Admissions Exam (SSAT)
  • High School Placement Test (HSPT) often used by Catholic schools for entrance into high school

Are There Any Free Screeners that Can Help Determine Student Problems?

We offer two free screeners that can help uncover the likelihood of a dyslexia diagnosis or executive functioning problems:  Dyslexia Screener or an Executive functioning screener.

Clearly, early testing can help assure that struggling learners can get the needed support so that they can reach their true academic potential.  

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.


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