Explaining learning differences to children is challenging.
As a testing psychologist, I’ve struggled to find the right language to help kids understand their differences in an empowering way. It’s easy to overwhelm a young mind, and many students just stare back with that glazed-over look, or stay focused on the negative.
In talking to others in the field, it turns out I’m not alone!
Many of us struggle to deliver clear, effective feedback to children after an assessment. I’d love to solve this problem.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the tools and strategies I’ve learned on my own journey to try to get better at feedback sessions with young clients.
I’m hoping to start a conversation that will harness the collective wisdom of the community so that children leave the assessment process feeling empowered and confident about their amazing, beautiful brains!
Feedback Shapes Lives
I discovered the importance of feedback sessions with kids through my work with adults. When I assess adults, I always ask them what they understood about their learning disability when they were young. Over and over again I hear:
“I’m not sure why I was in special ed. I just always thought I was dumb or lazy.”
For my adult clients, the feedback session then becomes an opportunity to rewrite their narrative from “I was just dumb or lazy” to “I process the world differently, and that’s a good thing!”
In fact, I can now show them that they are good at certain things not in spite of, but because of their processing differences.
In other words, feedback sessions can be life-changing.
This is also true for children. The assessment process has the potential to change a child’s narrative from “I’m dumb” to “My brain works in an awesomely different way!”
For me, talking to children about their testing results has become more than just a nice idea – it’s critical for shaping the way they perceive themselves and their interactions with the world.
Yet, very few of us were ever trained to give effective feedback to kids.
Building Our Feedback Skills
Through talking to other practitioners – and A LOT of trial and error – I’ve started to hone in on an approach that is working well for the kids I see. I’m excited to share this with you, and hope you will share back so that we can all learn from each other!
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sending out:
- Tools for talking to kids, including videos, websites, and books shared by others in our community
- Ideas for structuring feedback sessions to make them more engaging and empowering
- Ways to explain learning differences in clear, simple terms
- Strategies for helping parents continue the conversation with their children over time
Tools for Talking to Kids
Let’s start with the tools! I asked around for videos, websites, and books that testing psychologists use to help kids understand their brains. Below is a growing list of resources, based on these recommendations. Thank you to everyone who contributed so far!
This is a living document, so check back often. If you have something you’d like to add, please click here. Your addition will help our entire community!
If you know anyone else who may like to contribute to or who would benefit from this conversation, feel free to share this post.
As always, let me know how else I can help!