Assessment & Evaluation

Professional reviewing paperwork for studentEvaluation involves gathering information from a variety of sources about a child’s functioning and development in all areas. It is generally one of the first steps in determining if a child has a learning disability. This section will help parents answer their questions on assessment and evaluation.

SLD Evaluation: Linking Cognitive Assessment Data to Learning Strategies

Young student having difficulty in classroom

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA)  2004,  and subsequent regulations published August 2006 have significantly changed the way students suspected of having specific learning disabilities (SLD) are identified and found eligible for special education. According to the 2006 IDEA regulations (§300.307) concerning SLD, each state must adopt criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined by §300.8 (c)(10) that: must not require the use of severe discrepancy between intellectual ability and achievement for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability as defined in §300.8 (c)(10); must permit the use of a… Read More »

Professionals Who Can Help

Professional therapist working with a young student

There are many trained professionals available to help individuals with learning disabilities. Researching what each specialist can do to improve the issues that you or your child may be dealing with is important. Choosing the right one that best fits the needs of the individual can save time and money. Also, know that you may not have to see every specialist at once.  Trying to work on one or two issues at a time depending on the severity of the issue can help prevent burnout and still help address each issue over time. Listed are a few of the professionals and… Read More »

What to Expect When Your Child Has a Learning Disability: Identification and Diagnosis

Young Student frustrated with school work

Often the child’s teacher will notice the first symptoms of a Specific Learning Disability. Parents may also notice symptoms that are different from those the teacher sees. That’s why it is so important for teachers and parents to share notes on the development of a child. These conversations may lead to an evaluation for a diagnosis of SLD and eligibility for special education services. Symptoms teachers might observe: trouble learning the connection between letters and sounds, confuses basic words like run, eat, want, makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home),… Read More »

First Steps for Parents When School Problems Are Observed

Mother and son sitting together on their couch

If a student is having unusual difficulty in school the parent should discuss the situation with the teacher and other school personnel. Most schools have a problem-solving team which works with families in reviewing and solving problems that affect school performance before beginning a formal process of referral for special education and related services as described in IDEA. Problem-solving activities or strategies used by the regular education teacher to address the child’s difficulty may consist of changes in the physical environment, changes in instructional approaches, short-term remedial activities, peer tutoring, or behavioral management plans. Learn more about who serves on… Read More »

Evaluating Children to Determine Eligibility for Special Education Services and Reevaluation Requirements

Educational professional evaluating a student

Evaluating children to determine eligibility for special education services is an issue with which many parents and educators struggle. There are many factors to consider during a comprehensive evaluation of a child for possible eligibility for special education services. It’s important that parent(s) know their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), understand the process, and ensure their child receives the appropriate services. School districts need to provide parents their procedural safeguards (rights) guaranteed under IDEA before a full and individual initial evaluation takes place. When a child receives special education services for an extended period of time,… Read More »

Assessment of Readiness Skills During Early Childhood

Dad reading with his two young children

Young children develop rapidly, frequently experiencing tremendous change and growth physically, cognitively, linguistically, and socially. Preschoolers, for example, seem to race from one milestone to the next. Nevertheless, the rate of growth and development among young children varies greatly. Indeed, as a result of this high variability during early childhood that can be seen in nearly any environment with preschoolers and kindergartners, many professionals balk at labeling children as learning disabled. Studies indicate that early intervention can make a significant difference in a child’s development and many other professionals want to respond promptly when they note developmental delays or see… Read More »

Early Identification of Speech-Language Delays and Disorders

Little girl standing behind a tree

“Why is speech-language treatment needed? My baby doesn’t talk yet.” “Everyone in our family was a late talker. My child will talk when the time is right.” “Why worry now? Speech and language services will be available when school starts.” “Treatment? Looks to us like they are just playing games.” You may have had similar thoughts or comments. Usually, there is concern about a child’s speech and language skills if there is no speech by the age of one year, if speech is not clear, or if speech or language is different from that of other children of the same… Read More »

Early Childhood Assessment-Birth to Three Years

Mother holding and kissing toddler daughter

It is important for parents and professionals to work closely together. When they become a team, everyone has a better understanding of how an infant, baby or child is responding to the world, how he or she learns, and what he or she can do. To begin this process parents need to observe their child carefully and record their observations so they can discuss their child’s development with the professionals who work with babies and young children and their families. This type of assessment is a developmental assessment. The following guidelines will assist parents of a child from birth to… Read More »

The Ins and Outs of Learning Disabilities

Young children coloring or writing in school classroom

Learning disabilities (LD) is a broader term in the United States to describe various types of neurologically-based processing problems. These processing disorders can interfere with learning basic life functioning skills such as reading, writing, or mathematics. They can also interfere with higher level skills such as organization, time management and abstract reasoning. The types of LD are identified by the specific processing disorder and can be categorized within one or more of the following four areas. They might relate to getting information into the brain (Input), making sense of this information (Integration), storing and later retrieving this information (Memory), or… Read More »

Eligibility: Determining Whether a Child is Eligible for Special Education Services

Small group of professionals performing an evaluation

When is a child’s eligibility for special education and related services determined? In most states the eligibility of a child for special education and related services is considered when a child has arrived at the Tier 3 level of RTI (Response to Intervention). When a child has been in Tier 2 for a pre-determined amount of time and an evaluation is given, then a meeting is called to determine eligibility for special education services. Who makes the decision about whether a child is eligible for special education and related services? The parent of the child and a team of qualified… Read More »