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Do they account for a child’s comfort level when testing? For instance, if a child is shy and has to warm up to the testing administrator before opening up?

If your child is being assessed by a proctor for public school, she will be more limited in what she can do to warm your child up.  There are more restrictions on public school evaluators in how they interact with kids.  For example, they can’t always say, “Oh come on, give it your best guess,” if the child doesn’t answer.  Or they can’t encourage a child or repeat a question in many cases.

If a psychologist evaluates your child, she is likely to be well trained in warming kids up.  A psychologist can encourage a child, be supportive, redirect him and sometimes repeat the question.  So the experience with a psychologist may be better for a very shy child.

If your child is extremely shy, let the tester know early (if possible) and hopefully she will be sensitive to your child’s personality.  Walk by the site where the test will happen and tell your child what to expect during the evaluation.  Tell him you will be waiting for him the whole time and he should do his best.  Remind him that the tester is a teacher just like Ms. Mary (or whatever your child’s teacher is called).  You might even play act the experience before it happens and take turns playing the tester just so your child will be more comfortable in the real situation.

If you are a member, go to our Parent Resources SectionShy Children – and listen to my two interviews with shyness expert, Dr. Bernardo Carducci, who talks about helping shy children do their very best when being tested by someone who is a stranger to them.

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