Pros & Cons The School Based vs. Independent Psychological Evaluation
Updated on January 2016
Perhaps you are a parent who has noticed that your child is struggling academically in one or more areas. It might be in math, reading, social interactions, social language or behaviors. You are at the point where you’re ready for an evaluation. In essence, you want to know if your child is eligible for special education and related services. Where do you begin?
Step one: speak to your child’s teacher and gain feedback regarding your child’s performance within the area that you believe is a weakness for your child.
Step two: decide if you would like for your school’s Child Study Team to perform the psychological evaluation vs. seeking an independent evaluation.
Before you make that decision, you need to answer the question: what’s the difference between the evaluation and report you would gain from your School Psychologist vs. one gained from an outside professional? Well, there are several and here is a summary to help you when you make this decision.
The Psychological Evaluation through your Child Study Team
Once completed, your child is eligible for a re-evaluation every three years; however, you, as the parent, have the right to request this evaluation sooner than 3 years, but no more than one time per year. It is strongly recommended that you have your child evaluated at least every 3 years as your child’s strengths and weaknesses will likely change during that time. If they have not, you now know that!
The Psychological evaluation completed by your school should consist of a standardized test, such as the Wechsler Intelligence Scales (Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence™ – Fourth Edition, WPPSI – IV; Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, WISC-V; or Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, 4th edition, WAIS-IV), an observation, and a student interview.
In the end, you will gain a report that provides an IQ of your child’s cognitive/intellectual performance, a summary of a classroom observation, and information about your child’s interests, preferences, and reported academic strengths and weaknesses. Please note that the School Psychologist is not permitted to provide any diagnoses, if relevant, within this report.
This information will be used to compare to the results of the Educational Evaluation that is completed by the Child Study Team Learning Specialist in order to determine if there is a learning disability that is negatively impacting your child’s ability to perform academically.
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