When I get those really tough kids, the ones who really want to tell me to go away, I usually ask what they like and don't like about school. If I get anything in response it is either, "nothing" or "recess". I always make sure to let them know up front that I will be asking them to do tasks that are extremely difficult. There is no point in pretending that I'm not. A good evaluator identifies the areas of weakness and then administers additional tests to determine exactly how weak the skill is and what other skills may be contributing to those weaknesses. There is no point in pretending. The child already knows that they are different from the person sitting next to them in the classroom. I guarantee you that he or she has concocted a reason much worse than the reality. Even if we don't label it or we try and minimize it, the child lives with the frustration every day. The moment that I acknowledge for the child that I know school is difficult and that my job is to find out why, I have won them over just a bit. Then I proceed to give them possible reasons why school is difficult, none of those reasons have anything to do with a lack of intelligence or poor effort. In that moment I will see a glimmer of hope cross the child's face making the next few hours worth all the work on both our parts.
There are countless reasons why a child may not be performing at his or her potential. The point of a comprehensive evaluation is to identify those reasons so that with the help of the child, his family, and his educational team we can devise a plan to promote success. The kids that are the most grumpy and resistant when they enter the testing room on the first day are ALWAYS the kids I adore. They are often the hardest working kids and most dedicated. Once they have a taste of success and realize I can actually help them, my job is a breeze. They take off and excel in all areas of their life. They experience hope for the first time which breeds possibility. They already know how to work hard and how to persevere, now they learn how to work efficiently playing to their strengths instead of their weaknesses getting in the way.
So for all you out there feeling overwhelmed and discouraged remember.... "rejoice in our suffering, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope"....Romans 5:3