Discovering What Works: Managing homework battles

Acquiring language for educational demands to manage homework battles

Managing homework battles

My daughter is now in the 8th grade. Our “homework battles” are primarily behind us, but not forgotten.  I wish I could say it just took time. That would negate all the wonderful help she’s received.  Managing homework battles takes a thoughtful, comprehensive approach.  It requires perseverance, patience, and sometimes skilled help to address the underlying problem. If all your planning around homework still leaves you struggling, it is time to take another step to discover if an underlying problem is causing the conflict. 

The first step for most people is neuropsychological testing.  Neuropsychological testing includes a battery of tests which will provide a picture of your child’s verbal and non-verbal skills.   Whether you are in public or private school, this step is essential to understand the exact nature of your child’s learning strengths and weaknesses.  To get testing your local public school or your pediatrician are the good places to start.  Ask other parents for resources as well. If your insurance allows, investigate testing options at hospitals and private practices. Your health insurance may pay a portion of the private testing fee. It’s worth the cost because testing will help identify the type of intervention needed.   

Neuropsychological testing and academic testing confirmed my research and  helped me understand my daughter’s strengths and weaknesses. Testing, however, only gives an indication of a child’s performance in one moment in time. This is important to understand because if your child is having difficulty cooperating with the examiner, doesn’t perform predictably, or the examiner has some reason to suspect they are not working to their ability this will impact test results. Most examiners get the best performance from their examinees.  Sometimes even with the best effort testing is not totally accurate. Children with Asperger syndrome test high in language in spite of the fact that often they have challenges with language use. 

Academic testing  is another series of tests given by schools which indicates a child’s level of functioning in relation to grade level. The results are sometimes inflated. For us academic testing indicated my child read above grade level.  Again that is why your intuition is critical.  I knew she was not reading at grade level, but her fluency rate was high and academic testing only requires one word answers which she could answer. Neuropsychological testing is more helpful than academic testing. Testing is needed to identify learning strengths and weaknesses in order to pursue effective treatment. 


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