Where Can I Find an Affordable Option for Diagnostic Testing?

Robin P. Church

Question:

I am trying to find any resources to help my daughter. She is in first grade at a private school. Her teacher has expressed concern over my daughter’s grades, especially in reading and writing. I am trying to find the best route to get her tested. Everything I have seen is extremely out of price range. I am not sure if I am missing any resources that we can benefit from. Where can I go to get affordable testing?

Answer:

Teachers in the early grades are often the best predictors of which students are truly struggling and may need additional support to succeed academically. While there is a broad range of normal development when it comes to learning to read and write, teachers who are experienced with first graders usually have a very strong sense of which students need to be watched closely.

The first thing I would recommend is a meeting with the teacher to get more specifics regarding the teacher’s concerns along with some examples of work product that demonstrate those concerns. I would ask if there is a reading specialist at the school that could evaluate your daughter, and perhaps provide some extra one-on-one instruction to gain insight into her needs and to look for signs that further testing is needed.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act includes the Child Find mandate. Schools are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children with disabilities from birth through age 21. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3))

The Child Find mandate applies to all children who reside within a State, including:

  • children who attend private schools and public schools,
  • highly mobile children,
  • migrant children,
  • homeless children, and
  • children who are wards of the state.

This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are “advancing from grade to grade.” (34 CFR 300.111(c)) The law does not require children to be “labeled” or classified by their disability. (20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(3)(B); 34 CFR 300.111(d)).

If the private school your child attends cannot provide an evaluation, you should contact child find office of the local public school system your child would be attending, and request that they complete an evaluation to determine if your daughter has a learning disability. Such an evaluation must be provided by the local school system at no cost to the parent.

Robin P. Church, Ed.D.
Dr. Church is currently the Senior Vice President for Educational Programs and Executive Director of School Programs at The Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore; as well as Associate Professor of Education at The Johns Hopkins University.

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Comments

  1. I suspect my son has disgraphia. We are homeschoolers. I’m confident in my ability to tailor his education, if necessary, but I would like to know for sure. We are in Texas. How can I get him tested?

  2. Francine says:

    the least expensive is your school. if it is private, reach out to your local intermediate unit. in addition, there are universities who train graduate students, like Widener University in Chester PA, who provide low fee testing. Even though the eval. will be done by someone not yet fully degreed, the supervision and clinic administrators are excellent.

  3. I have been down this path with a set of twins. I had no trouble getting them tested and diagnosed once I learned that the school had to pay for the testing in this state (MA) but But the testing was delayed a year because of them telling me I had to pay for it. Implementing the plan was torture. Contact every day with the school. My advice to all is that the school is not your friend, they are working the metrics. Get and stay in their face, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Don’t let up. Stay involved and stay vocal. One time I brought a tape recorder to a core meeting…they went nuts but it was my right. Read the law, learn your child’s rights and let them know that you know the law. Get an advocate or a lawyer if you must. Stay strong because it can get very ugly and complicated. Join the group at the school for the SPED kids, because that’s what many of them become. I hope your children have disabilities that are easier to engage and treat than the ones my kids have.

  4. I am looking for Learning disability test for my 18 years old daughter. This fall she is going be fresment in a college. Since she has learning disability and college requires fresh test I am looking for affordable solution. The $3000 I see everywhere is out of my range. and we have only medicaid.
    Is there some place accepting the Medicaid or charging less than the $3000 for “Learning Disability Test” ?

  5. Does anyone know of a test available for adults to take, to find what specific disability one may have?

  6. F Cortez says:

    I live in Milwaukee, WI and if like to get my daughter tested for non-verbal disability. I check with the neuropsychology at Children’s hospital, and to my surprise they did not test for it.

    I’m hoping to get her tested over the summer, before the start of the new school year. The school she attends does not have the resources to test her for Nonverbal Disability. Where else in Wisconsin can I get her tested??

    Thank you for your assistance.

  7. Tyrhonda Pitts says:

    If I want my child tested do the School District have to test them or can they deny my child?

  8. Sada Choudhary says:

    My Daughter is 9 year old and she is 2nd Grade of Special Education. I live in New Jersey (Zip 08859) area.

    He has slow learning and still she do the work which 3-4 year kids can do.

    In past, I have consulted many doctor to get opinion and but no one suggested any Medical diagnosis.

    Is there any medical diagnosis exist to improve it and can you suggest where I should go.

    Thanks

    • My son was diagnosed with Convergence Insufficiency / Binocular Vision Dysfunction. This is a medical diagnosis which mainly means that the muscles around his eyes did not develop correctly. Vision is more than 20/20 eyesight. It is a complex process involving over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all of the pathways to the brain. Nearly 80% of what a child perceives, comprehends and remembers depends on the efficiency of the visual system. They call what my son has a “hidden disability” because it’s difficult to get a correct diagnosis and sometimes even more difficult to find a specialist who offers vision therapy treatment.

      We knew something was wrong when our son told us that the words were ‘jumping’ on the page and ‘blurring’ in and out. He would also miss the smallest words when reading. His eyes were not ‘teaming’ or working together. He mastered ‘shutting’ off one eye to get by.

      Just a thought….

      For more information check out http://pavevision.org/
      FYI. If in the Tampa Bay, FL area my son received his diagnosis and treatment at Walesby Vision Center. Helped him tremendously.

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