Guest Author - Lorel Shea
You have decided that it's time to get a professional opinion on your child's intelligence. You've made the decision to have your child assessed. You've located a specialist who is familiar with gifted children, and perhaps made the first call for an appointment. Here's a brief look at what you should expect to happen next.
The test administrator should take some time to help your child feel at ease before the tests begin. Some specialists will book a preliminary visit just for this purpose, but if you are traveling any great distance for the test, a separate day for introductions may be difficult to arrange. Parents should be sure to discuss up front what test or tests will be administered, and ensure that the child will have adequate breaks for a snack, bathroom use, etc.
Parents often ask what they should do to prepare their child for the testing experience. Under no circumstances should the parent discuss test questions or specifics of any standardized exam. This will skew the results, and it is considered cheating. Explain to your child that Dr. So-and-so is going to spend some time with her, to get a better idea of how she learns. Tell your child that she will be asked questions and assigned tasks by the test administrator. Let her know that she may not know every answer, but that she should try her best on each, and answer with as much detail as she can.
Very young children may be permitted to have a parent stay in the room while the child is being tested. In this case, the parent must remain silent, even if they hear the child miss a question they should know. The parent must be careful not to invalidate the session. Generally, kids older than five are expected to be able to interact with the specialist without Mom or Dad in the room. Parents may see their child on short breaks throughout the testing, but they should be prepared to read or to otherwise occupy their time for several hours in the waiting room.
To ensure that your child performs at her optimal level, it is essential that she eats well before each testing session. I recommend a high protein, low sugar meal or snack. Excess sugar can negatively affect a child's attention and behavior. Adequate water or fluid intake is also important.
Most of all, you want to make this a positive experience for your child. Keep your attitude light and upbeat, as your child will surely pick up on your feelings. Be sure to communicate with her and let her know that she can ask you or the professional involved if she has any questions.