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Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Benefits of Pursuing Neuropsychological Evaluations Outside of Your School District

Many parents that have struggling learners in their households have the option of requesting that the public school district test their child to determine the causes of the learning challenges.  These evaluations can help to determine if the underlying causes of the problem is a learning disability, ADHD or other diagnosis that impacts learning.  Although these assessments are free of cost to families, I have found that the testing is often poorly administered, very limited, and I have even heard of school districts altering scores.

But Why Would The Public Schools Purposely Provide Poor Testing?
When a student is diagnosed with a learning disability, ADHD, or other diagnosis that impacts learning, the public school district is required by law to provide “reasonable accommodations.”  In addition, if they are unable to provide the needed services, they have to pay for a child to be schooled in an alternative setting.  Furthermore, the district often has to provide transportation to and from this facility.  With the many cut backs, administrators do not want to allocate the money for a single student.

How Can You Find the Right Testing Professional?
There are no standard procedures or materials to be administered, and testing professionals can have a range of credentials.  Therefore, be sure to do your homework and interview prospective candidates.  Ask about their training and also request references.  Talk to other parents that have already pursued outside testing and ask them about their experiences.  In addition, ask local learning specialists if they know of any testing professionals that they would recommend.

Although pursuing and outside evaluation can be costly, I can assure you that a comprehensive, well-written report can provide the causes of the difficulties as well as recommendations on the needed services so that you can maximize your child’s potential.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.
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