View Full Version : Best eval for educational struggles?

03-09-07, 08:43 PM
DS is 14, and still scoring very low on reading/comprehension/spelling, and forming a basic understanding of a written assigmment. He's smart, he just doesn't get it all, maybe only 1/4 of something either written or said. I'm scared for him. Dad just thinks it will "go away" or he needs to fail so that he will learn from his mistakes. I'm done with that stupid assinine route and do not want to wait any longer, even if I have to pay for the darn tests myself AGAIN. He starts high school next year and it's gonna be horrible for him if he doesn't get some remediation. Don't know when the Dore program is gonna kick in, or how, either.

Soooo, what is the best way to test for educational deficits? A neuropsych? How do you find one? They are not that easy to find, and I'd be lucky of the one I found would return my calls and e-mails. Does insurance ever help cover the cost of one? ACK!

Needing thoughts!!!

03-09-07, 09:35 PM
My son was assessed for aptitude and learning disabilities by a psychologist who did testing for the school district and had a private practice. I knew she knew her stuff.

Is your son's school concerned with his weak academic skills?

03-09-07, 10:18 PM
Have you tried finding a place like Silvian Learning Centre or Hunnington Learning Centre? These centure's can help your childs unique needs (though I'm sure this is at a cost... money cost...)

03-09-07, 11:41 PM
IMNAPL, the school system here is very difficult. He has always scored very low/only on the reading comprehension portions, but just above the point where they say THEY can offer any help, testing or remedial-wise. He does very well in the math concepts though. He is very much flip/flopped.

I've looked at Sylvan, which is a great program from the references, but it is very costly, and I am leary of their evaluation, because then of course they will be able to help with whatever deficits show up, know what I mean? I just don't think it would give a very comprehensive picture. Once I know the full story, THEN I may look into them, as both programs have a good reputation for remediation. Summer is gonna be busy.

I do think I am gearing up for the neuropsych eval. After I posted the question, the light bulb went off and I looked at my medical group website to see if they had listings for them, and they do, so a call or two on Monday should get me in the right direction for what I am looking for, and hopefully insurance will cover part of the cost.

03-09-07, 11:45 PM
How about a tutor?

03-09-07, 11:56 PM
Tried that too, which helped some, but it didn't pin down anything. Once he was back on his own, he reverted :-( Veeerrrrrryyyyy expensive and not practical logistically. Custody issues, dad, etc. Very frustrating........

I need a blue bin for my life. :eek:

03-10-07, 01:40 PM
Have you tried finding a place like Silvian Learning Centre or Hunnington Learning Centre? These centure's can help your childs unique needs (though I'm sure this is at a cost... money cost...)From my teacher husband:

Center's like Sylvan this are only as good as the people they can hire. WHile he had no problem with them in Michigan (because there, there is a surplus of certified, highly-qualified teachers, that's what Sylvan hired) he isn't that secure with them here in Florida (shortage of certified teachers everywhere, Sylvan often must hire outside the ed field).

The best plan of attack is to have an evaluation done by a specialist in learning (Ask your school district or dr for referrals) Then work with the specialist to find therapists, tutors, classes, or whatever form would work best to address the specific issues for your child.

03-10-07, 09:45 PM
Hmmm, thanks for the tip, Proscrire. I had noticed that a couple of centers in our area had closed down. :-(

On MOnday, it is attack day to find a neuropsych or other specialist who can pin down the issues.

03-11-07, 12:36 PM
Neuropsychological Tests

Here is a LIST:

03-11-07, 01:07 PM
Thank you for the lists, QueensUGirl, that was very helpful. I need to look further into the executive function part of it, as I have suspected for some time that has been a problem for DS. Although he is motivated and cares, he just cannot seem to "put into action" many of the strategies that would help him and he cannot know why. :faint:

03-11-07, 02:19 PM

Forget Neuro psych evals, they were never intended to evaluate school related learning problems, and their place is to help differentiate organically caused deficits from non organically caused ones.

Knowing that your child has no known neurological insult in his life and a normal neurologic exam means that there is nothing a Neuropsych eval can do to help with remediation which is what you are looking for.

So as someone just commented, you will need to look for the best educator who knows both how to evaluate weaknesses and how to tutor/remediate them.

From a practical viewpoint, most evaluators over-test students, don't look at the big picture which tells quite a bit. Furthermore, there is only a limited amount of time in a kid's life for supportive help without destroying their emotional growth time.

Reading is made up of visual recognition of whole words as well as phonetic analysis and comprehension based upon learned vocabulary and language skills. These are easily and quickly tested. Integral to these skills is basic language skills, short and long term visual and auditory memory and also are easily tested.

Basic evaluation should include a WISC III or IV (General Intelligence test) to gauge overall potential as well as uncover general areas of weakness in either language or visual motor skills and memory processing skills. Next, an achievement test or two (Woodcock) which measure what has been learned, what has not, thus showing specific tasks which need to be supported or re-taught. All of these tests should require no more than about six hours to get a solid perspective of skills and areas needing help.

The above tests might give evidence of weaknesses in basic neurological processing, but at this age, one's time is necessarily limited to learning educational skills. If there is time to practice auditory memory, for example, then fine. But someone who struggles in language based subjects because of comprehensional problems and attentional problems due to limited reading speed must first attend to basic reading fluency. The comprehension will follow. There won't be much time left for playing concentration GAMES.

And don't overlook the possibility of primary ADHD causing difficulty in attending with the learning delays being a secondary result. It is not easy to differentiate at this age, which is why a Behavioral Pediatrician who also is academically oriented will be the best choice for an evaluation in my opinion.

Good luck


03-16-07, 10:14 PM
Interestingly, I ended up making an appointment for DS for a psych-ed evaluation, AND with the same physician that does them for our school district. The receptionist suggested I try the district office and who to speak with. Here is the sad news. If, and only IF he scores BELOW a certain point would he be offered assistance from the school. Since he is just above that point, his teachers have not noticed or reported any difficulties (they really are too busy to notice these kinds of things anyways) his grades are OK (but he still needs A LOT of assistance at home), he does not qualify for any assistance. If he did qualify for assistance, there would be assistance offered, after school programs, watching more carefully, more hoops to jump through, etc. (NCLB), even before an evaluation would be offered. WHAT A BUNCH OF UTTER NONSENSE?

After a year and a half of talking with his counselor about his low reading scores, and all she would do is offer a simple little exercise to do at home, (and she knows what exactly is the deficit here, how???) she calls me yesterday, actually sounded offended that I called the District Office (um, squuuuuze me, did I step on some toes????) and was pursuing an evaulation. THEN, she stated that there IS (REALLY?????) an after school program for students that need reading assistance that he would be welcome to attend. Why on God's green earth did she not mention this to me before in our our 1/2 dozen convos the past year and half????? ACHK!!

Well, found out the eval is actually covered by my insurance, but there is a deductible for mental health stuff, so, I may just go ahead and ask for a full eval while we are at it, just to get the full picture, and find out what DS's "other" predispositions alongside is alread dx'd ADHD may be. Gad, wish me luck with the school system. Do you think the school is concerned something may show up in the eval that they should have caught, or that they may have to put an extra effort into him once we find out something, IF we do??

OK, I'm done venting now, whew.......

03-17-07, 02:35 AM
1Kid, I can't speak for your son's school, but schools need the assessments and testing to apply for funding for student support so perhaps it's a win, win situation for both of you? That's great that your son has been asked to join the after school group.

03-18-07, 12:18 PM
1 kid

Are you saying that the school told you they wouldn't do an evaluation and that you were told you have to have it done outside before they will listen to you?
If so, that is pure malarky.

I'll wait for your reply to comment further. Suffice it to say that any child is entitled to an educational evaluation done by the school if parent requests it.

03-18-07, 12:35 PM
Thanks Richard. What I was told, is that an evaluation MAY come AFTER remdial help offered by the shool, if his scores continued to be low enough, if I understood the processs correctly. Remediation would include the after school program and perhaps some "watching" by his teachers and his test scores. That would take months, and go into his high school year. The whole thing was very confusing. They gave me the impression that they wouldn't/couldn't bother since he fell just above the line, although all his other scores are in a pretty good line across the board. Are you meaning to say that a child with higher scores could request an eval and get one, just for the asking, no justification needed? The receptionist did also agree that there would be a considerable amount of hoops to shoot through before getting the school to do and pay for one. They didn't say if they would help or not if I got an outside evaluation, but then I would think they would have to comply, especially since it will be done by the same professional.

Thanks for any words of wisdom!

03-21-07, 01:18 PM
The schools have some leeway in denying IEP's but usually they are insufficient to continue to deny doing an appropriate evaluation.

If your child is having a significant problem completing school work, obtaining satisfactory grades, getting along with other children or school personel, disrupting or disturbing other students, and this is documented in school records, then the student should be able to receive an IEP.

If the school denied your request to do an IEP, that denial must have been sent to you in writing with a clear explanation for the reasons which the school team feels he does not qualify to have an IEP. That is Federal Law. Then, if you still feel the school is wrong in its reasoning you should immediately ask for a grievance hearing if your school district offers it. If they don't, you must file for a "Fair Hearing" with the reasons you feel your child needs special help.

While I can't guarantee anything, once you file for a fair hearing, you will most likely be able to have the IEP done at no cost to yourself. If you for some reason get an independent evaluation because you don't want to wait out the time-lines for the process to evolve, then, eventually, it is possible to obtain reimbursement for the outside evaluation once an IEP is eventually held and you prove that your child is eligible.

Pick up a book on educational rights and proceedures available at most ADHD stores, like ADDWAREHOUSE. 800-ADDWARE

GEt an advocate, call TEam of Advocates for Special kids-offices in many cities around the country...or Protection and ADvocacy <TABLE style="WIDTH: 95pt; BORDER-COLLAPSE: collapse" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=127 border=0 x:str><COLGROUP><COL style="WIDTH: 95pt; mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 4644" width=127><TBODY><TR style="HEIGHT: 12.75pt" height=17><TD style="BORDER-LEFT-COLOR: #ece9d8; BORDER-BOTTOM-COLOR: #ece9d8; WIDTH: 95pt; BORDER-TOP-COLOR: #ece9d8; HEIGHT: 12.75pt; BACKGROUND-COLOR: transparent; BORDER-RIGHT-COLOR: #ece9d8" width=127 height=17>800-776-5746</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

03-21-07, 02:31 PM
There are different subtypes of Evals.

e.g. Psycho-Educational, Psycho-Vocational, etc.

I had the Psycho-Educational Evaluation. ($1200 and 8 hrs with Two Psychologists and Grad Stoodents.)

Most of the Tests were WAIS, Nelson Denny, Woodcock-Johnson PLUS the 'Neuropsych' tests like:

Tower of London
Trails A & B
Working Memory
Auditory Memory
Various block designs, etc.

03-22-07, 01:33 AM

When I got evaluated by the neuropsychologist my neurologist reccommended him to me. I would reccommend calling a major hospital near you, and asking if they have a section in the psych department for testing for ADHD and other learning problems.

Ask them what type of doctor performs the test too.

05-15-07, 08:49 PM

DS had his evaluation a couple of weeks ago, and we had the chat with the evaluator today. She had some very wonderful insights, and I am so glad that we went. Our insurance (is supposed to) cover the entire cost under network as medical (not behavioural or psychological) since his deductible had already been met. :)

She re-confirmed his diagnosis of ADHD, mildly innatentive, yet still "disabling" enough in his life.

DS is OK cognitively, IQ-wise, etc, no learning disabilities, but hinted at some language processing issues due to something he may have missed very early in life. (Due to ummmm innattention.) She recommended a meeting with a speech pathologist to uncover that.

She did say that the hardwiring of his brain made him unable to put forth the "mechanics" of taking care of his "stuff," despite his drive and motivation to do so. I liked the way she worded that. She also recommended a counselor (which he already does see) as a proactive measure. She emphasized that from his results that she is concerned of him being an "at risk" youth, i.e., thrill-seeking, dangerous/impulsive behaviour, etc. We need to do what we can proactively to keep his self-esteem and confidence up, and get him interested and sucessfull in school again.

Her further recommendations to that end were:

For me to cut the ties of being coach/tutor and go back to being mom. YAY! But, to have him accountable to a tutor or other individual a couple of times a week for him to keep up on his "stuff, " as he is still unable to do that for himself yet. She would NOT recommend letting him to go it on his own.

She is going to write up a 504 recommendation for him for high school.

She recommended a wonderful set of classes (On-Track) he can take over the summer for study skills/organizational/test-taking skills, etc., a class for us parents to go to learn parenting strategies of an ADHD adolescent, and another class for DS, like a motivational/assertiveness sort of class. By the way, she nixed Sylvan. :eyebrow:

And, to meet with a child psychiatrist to revisit the med issue again, which I would be more than happy to look into again, as he is showing the side-effects of NOT being medicated, and it's a tough fence to be on right now.

I am very happy with her eval and her recommendations, I totally went out of there with all of my questions answered, and with lots of faith in my son that he is more than capable of doing what he wants to do with a good team in his corner. YAY!! :D

05-15-07, 09:13 PM
1Kid, that's great to hear you had a successful evaluation for your son. You are lucky to live in a large enough center to have what sound like great classes - I wish.

05-15-07, 09:16 PM
Thanks Miss Apple! We have lots of great resources here in the valley, it's just hard to find them, and know what are good ones and which are not.....