Don’t Delay Evaluation

Whether or not to have a child evaluated for special needs is a difficult decision for many parents. Fears about labeling are well founded. However, fears about missing developmental milestones are also well founded.

Someone weighs in here.

Schools Warned About Delaying Special Education Assessments

My thought is not whether one should have a child evaluated but how, by whom, with what aim? An evaluation that makes for a label without real help is detrimental. And evaluation that instead of affixing a label, offers guidance to parent and educators, ensuring the child gets what they need to come up to optimal level (far above norm) would of course be desirable. So, the question is not so much whether to get a child evaluated, but what system that evaluation is used in.

Public schools talk about accommodation, meaning making allowances for a child who is not able to cope with the existing system. Notice whether or not your people are talking about remediation. Are they aiming at fixing the problem? If so, how often are they successful? Do identified children, given remediation, come up to norm? Above? That is a reasonable question! Why enter a program that is unlikely to have a successful outcome. (BTW, the definition of a Learning Disability is a significant discrepancy between IQ and measured performance, so children who get an LD diagnosis have to, by implemented definition, be brighter than average.)

If a psychologist performs the evaluation, you can probably trust that the evaluation will be a scientifically valid one. The difficulty with private testing of this nature is the breakdown of communication between the private office and the educator. Therefore, be sure you understand the doctor’s report. Make sure it is explained to you in everyday English and you are clear on what measures the doctor recommends. Do not assume that the school will be able to decipher the findings or will know what measures to take based on a given report. Parents have to manage the situation.

Each case is different. Parents must weigh the need to know what is wrong and what kind of help is needed with the likelihood of being about to obtain those ends. Pick who does the evaluation, pick the educational help you get, and ensure your child gets the help he or she needs.

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