Questions and Answers
Assessment & Evaluation
Figuring out the problem is the first step to finding a solution, but the assessment process can be difficult! These questions will point you in the right direction.
Click below for answers to the following assessment questions:
How do I set up an IEP for my child with ADHD?
All parents should start in the school's front office. Ask to speak with an administrator and bring any type of documentation and work samples you may have. In order for an individual to receive any type of accommodations, the individual must provide documentation of a specific disability. For a valid and accurate diagnosis, an individual needs a full psycho-educational evaluation through a licensed or otherwise qualified professional. Ask the school for this type of screening/evaluation.
I think my child may have a learning disability but I'm not sure how to describe to the school exactly what I want assessed. What should I do?
Before going elsewhere, you might want to find out exactly what services the school system could offer you and when they could provide them. If the timeframe or suggestions for providing needed services is unacceptable to you, there are independent educational testers that you can go to privately. The following articles will give you an idea of what to expect from the testing process:
There are several national organizations that can help you through this process and provide referrals to local professionals. You can contact the International Dyslexia Association or the Learning Disabilities Association. In addition, you can look in your local phone book for educational testing or psycho-educational testing for someone close to you. LD Online has a Yellow Pages service that might be helpful. There are also educational consultants and educational advocates that can help you through the process locally.
Be a good consumer in this process. Ask potential testers, tutors, and consultants about their experiences and specialization before you choose a provider. You want to make sure that the person you choose will be a good match for your child.
My child's school says that my child is very bright, but they want to hold him back because of his poor reading skills. I want him tested for a reading disability. What should I do?
Because your child is so bright and is still struggling with reading, he may very well be exhibiting some of the characteristics typical of students with a learning disability. It may be helpful to look at the following articles, which describe characteristics that some children with learning disabilities exhibit:
Whether or not he is found eligible for special services, the evaluation, among other things, will help determine your child's academic strengths and weaknesses and how best he learns. This should make the decision about how to help your child in subsequent years seem clearer.
Because your child is bright, he may be able to compensate, at this point, for any learning difficulties that he might have. But as he gets older and the reading material in school gets more challenging, your child may find it increasingly difficult to compensate and he may fall further behind. This is why the earlier the cause of his reading weaknesses is determined and addressed, the better chance your child has of truly reaching his academic potential.
How can I find a professional who can diagnose a learning disability?
A full psycho-educational assessment would be helpful to give you more information about the way this student learns.
In addition, you can look in your local phone book for educational testing or psycho-educational testing for someone in your area. LD OnLine also has a Yellow Pages service that might be helpful.
Be sure to ask potential testers, tutors, and consultants about their experiences and specializations before choosing a provider.
My child was tested in kindergarten for dyslexia but they didn't find anything. What should I do now that he is in 3rd grade and still struggling with reading and writing?
As your child gets older, it may be increasingly difficult for him to compensate, so the gap between his ability and achievement may be widening. If your child does have a learning disability, it will be easier to detect now than when he was in kindergarten. The following articles describe characteristics common to children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. You may want to look through them to see if you recognize some of your childs challenges in these descriptions:
If you see some of these characteristics in your child, you may want to request that his school give him an educational evaluation. It is within your rights as a parent to request this free evaluation and to have a vote throughout the evaluation process.
Remember that you can be the strongest and most knowledgeable advocate for your son, so trust your instincts and dont give up! The sooner your son receives the assistance he needs and the quicker you and his teachers can work together to develop a plan for helping him at home and school, the better his outcome for truly reaching his academic potential.
My son is far behind in school both academically and developmentally. Should he stay back a grade?
If your school is one in which 1) at-risk students are given intensified learning experiences; 2) differentiated instruction is provided; 3) teachers are continually improving their skills; 4) lessons are geared to ongoing performance assessments; and 5) very young students receive the help they need early and often you can safely support promotion for your child. If you are not convinced that your child will get the support he needs to succeed in the next grade, you may want to strongly support his retention. In addition to academic factors, it is important to weigh the child's age, size, emotional maturity and physical development when considering retention. Also examine the program that will be offered it should be a new, challenging experience not a repeat of the same lessons and texts.