Mindset Matters: The difference educational testing can make.


I always feel so free when I stare out at the ocean.  I don’t get that feeling at a doctor’s office.  Unless it’s an office of educational testing and neuropsychology.  After my son’s school denied testing for three years, I had my son tested for ADHD and other learning disabilities on my own.  The price tag was hefty, (double the cost of the vacation where I took this photo) but worth every penny.

The information gleaned through educational testing is absolutely invaluable.

Not to mention, the mindset shift for my son.  He let his brain “out of the box.”  Here’s how the day went:


Testing Day



Photo by Matt Lewis on Unsplash


November 17th is etched in my brain. The sunlight, the fall breeze, the busy avenue. I watched my son skip down the street during his testing break, crunching autumn leaves under his feet. “I scored higher than a high school student on parts of the IQ test, Mami.” The joy was all over his face and in his lively step.  He has a decent intellectual ability. I knew it. But the school didn’t seem to know it, his teachers weren’t aware and he, himself, had no confidence.


Gaining Educational Confidence

I’ve been a great test taker all of my life. As a 37-year-old woman, I know that test-smart isn’t a sure path to success in life. As a teacher, it certainly hasn’t led me to a life of riches. But, my profession has taught me a lot about educational confidence.  Confidence in ability is what makes kids press on when the learning gets tough. When they think they can do hard things, they try. When they’ve been placed in the lowest math and reading classes throughout their school career, they stop trying.

I sat with my son while he ate his testing treat, an egg and cheddar and a cake pop. We discussed his reading class. “Mami, the kids can’t read words like breakfast. I want to help them, but I stay quiet because it’s annoying when they don’t know the words.” My kindness radar turned on full blast, “B, you can’t get frustrated if someone knows less than you.” “You’re right, but they don’t know much. I drown it all out and watch ‘Reel Steel’ (ultimate 8 to 10-year-old boy flick) in my head during class.”

What He May Become

Oh, the perils of inattentive ADHD. How he saves himself from his misery is almost laughable. I cry when I think of this struggling child with a decent brain and great ability, re-playing movies during reading class. What is he possibly learning? And, more importantly, what is he learning about himself?  The way we see ourselves in school resurfaces in adulthood. If kids are successful in school, they’re more likely to be successful adults. If not, then the odds are against them.


Photo by Igor Kasalovic on Unsplash

Thoughts matter. We build our identity through our thoughts about ourselves.  The school environment is a major player in children’s self-development and self-awareness.  What are our capabilities?  Can we become whatever we imagine?  The human brain can do ANYTHING, but only if we believe it can.  You may read that line and think it’s cliche, or you might recognize the truth.  I won’t gamble on my son’s beliefs about himself.  He’s been misplaced, mis-tracked, and saw himself as a slow learner.  I had to make a change.

The Mindset Shift

On November 17th, my son finally realized he’s bright. He felt the lightness in his heart as his mind and the doctor testing him said,” B, you’re a great learner.” November 17th is the day he started to believe in himself. It’s been magical to watch.

By January, B’s school experience had changed.  He moved up two grade levels in reading to match his actual ability.  Today B feels more confident, intelligent and inspired by his own brain.  His mind is calm and secure.


Are your child’s feelings of self-worth and self-confidence locked up in her school performance? Have you considered educational testing?



Published by Jet Educational Therapy

Nicole Santiago is an educational therapist, student advocate, and founder of JET Educational Therapy. As an ed therapist, she assesses and teaches clients (adults and adolescents) to manage and grow their executive functioning skills which include emotional regulation, task initiation, and time management. As an advocate (IEP coach), she is a member of COPAA and ensures inclusive (special) education students receive the most appropriate educational services possible. She often collaborates with OT's, SLP's and neuropsychologists all in the name of student improvement and success. Her practice, JET Educational Therapy, is located in San Antonio, TX, and everywhere (virtually). The author grew up an army brat and spends time with her three ND children and husband in Puerto Rico whenever possible. She writes about mental health, parenting, education, and entrepreneurship on her blog: FamilyADDventures.com

2 thoughts on “Mindset Matters: The difference educational testing can make.

  1. We were lucky that our insurance paid for full neuro-psychological testing for our kids and they gave us great information about their learning styles. The expertise that the psychologists had to offer was amazing. The testing made a big difference for us and how we pursued support for our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

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