The goal of a school evaluation is to help improve academic performance.
The question that often plagues a concerned parent is “Should I have my child evaluated by the school system or should I have a private evaluation done by a neuropsychologist”? Below are several factors to consider when making this important decision.
Many school districts need a referral from a teacher before they will evaluate. This means convincing the teacher that the child may have an issue. Too many times I have heard teachers diagnose a child by saying that they just are not trying hard, refuse to work up to their potential, or even that they do or do not have ADHD. I have said many times that I have never seen a “lazy” child in my practice. No one wants to receive bad grades, punishments, or reprimands. If the child is repeatedly having problems in school in spite of being reprimanded for grades, behavior, or talking, then there may be a problem. Many times you as the parent “just know” that something is not right with your child’s performance and you can’t get the teacher to agree.
I have outlined above why it can be difficult to get your child past the referral process to be tested by the school system. Depending on the school district, be prepared for a lengthy wait. I have seen the wait be a year to actually be tested because of budget cuts and limited staffing.
The person testing your child is not a neuropsychologist and will not be as academically qualified. I’m sure there can be an exception to this statement but I have yet to see this. A majority of the time the person testing will have a Masters level degree and the courses offered at this level are very limited in the administration of tests and interpretation of the results.
The testing battery is extremely limited, and usually consists of an intelligence (IQ) test and an achievement test. This will diagnose a Reading Disorder or Mathematics Disorder. If the child does not meet the criteria for “specific learning disability” in reading or math, the parents are often told that a problem was not found, and the testing ends there. Unfortunately, many, many children who have attention deficits (ADHD), memory problems, fine motor problems that result in poor handwriting when they must hurry with their writing, problems with expressing themselves or understanding what is said, learning new concepts, and other possible issues or problems, go undetected, and the child is blamed.
Why should I have my child tested by Dr Wetherby?
Besides having a Ph.D. I also have a separate master’s degree in Rehabilitation, so I am always wanting the report to be functional in nature. I do not want the doctor, parent, and teacher to receive a report that they cannot use. I provide detailed feedback of testing results usually at no charge to aid in the parent or patient understanding the results of the tests administered, what they mean when put together, diagnoses, and observations/suggestions. I even give a brief statistics lesson at the beginning of the feedback that will help you understand more about the results!
I include many observations/suggestions at the end of the report to make the report even more functional and understandable. These suggestions can then be used as a part of the 504 or IEP plan or for home/work and improved classroom functioning. They are developed directly from each person’s testing results. There is no additional charge for these observations/suggestions at the end of the report – and sometimes there are three pages of them!
Help your child get the education they deserve. (407) 338-3131