What Your Child’s Report Card Can Tell You

Dr. Robert Melillo

There is a lot you can learn about your child’s brain development from their report card. But it is not enough just to read the grades and see what subjects are problematic. You need to find out what is behind the marks. The reason? There are almost no subjects that are purely left or right  brain. Hemispheric skill sets come into play in all of them—another obvious explanation as to why the brain needs to be functioning as a whole.

Reading Early Reports

When it comes to report cards, here is an important tip, especially when it comes to preschool and kindergarten: they tend to be somewhat subjective. They  are often slanted to the viewpoint of the teacher. Nevertheless, there is plenty that you can read into them. When you look at the report card, ask yourself these questions:

Is your child learning the basic foundational skills well—shapes, colors, letters, numbers, and so forth? If not, this is usually an early sign of a left brain deficit.

Is the report card pointing out problems in the primary areas that  are foundational to other academic skills, or are most of the teacher’s comments about behavior or attitude—not applying themselves and the like? Behavioral problems usually signify a right  hemisphere delay whereas academic problems  usually signify a left hemisphere delay.

Does your child seem to be learning basic skills adequately, but there is criticism about attention span and being disruptive in class? This is usually specific to a right brain delay.

Other Grades

As children progress into elementary and later grades, report cards are based  more on test grades, classroom participation, and homework. This becomes more objective. But again, reading a grade is not enough of an answer. For one, there are almost as many different types of report cards as there are states in the nation. When children come to  our centers, we always look at their report cards, but we also administer our own test to come up with a more complete and objective report card. We use a standardized test that measures academic achievement. There are many different kinds of tests that school districts can use, but the  most common are the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II, known simply as the WIATII, and the Woodcock Johnston III. I have found the WIAT to be the better of the two. Keep in mind, however, that there is almost no one subject that is purely left brain or right brain. For  instance, reading is a major skill subject. Many teachers and parents think the child can either read well or not read well. But what they often discover from a standardized test is that certain reading skills are good and others are poor.

From a traditional perspective, this doesn’t make any sense and there hasn’t been a satisfactory  explanation for it. However, what we do makes sense, because we analyze the skill sets within the test by hemispheric brain function. Grading deficits in children with FDS clearly lean either left or right.Here I am showing you how academic tests are designed and how we analyze them—and you can, too—for skill value. As a parent, you have the  right to review your child’s test scores and your request to do so should be granted. You will gain amazing insight when you read the results the way we do when considering hemispheric brain balance. This can also be very helpful if you are using a private tutor, as it will show what to focus on…