Should I get a neuropsych evaluation for my child?
My son has dysgraphia. I know this because I had a friend, who is a former special ed teacher, do a screening on him.
He attends a charter school in the North County San Diego area and with this information he is receiving an hour of one on one help with a reading specialist specifically to address his spelling, reading, and writing.
We also are working on accommodations for him going forward so he can be successful in school and testing. Together, with the school, we will be constructing a 504 that will continue with him throughout his lifetime. We will, as a team, help him learn to advocate for himself so that he can have success in school and beyond.
How did I get his situation addressed without testing?
As a public school teacher I sat in on countless Student Study Teams and IEP meetings. I had students with 504s and pull out and push in services. Not once did I ever had a parent who had done outside testing. The school district is required to do the testing, when testing is needed.
However, I am at a hybrid charter school that relies heavily on parents as co-educators. It is a beautiful combination of homeschooling and in-school classes and my kids have thrived in this environment.
But, I wasn’t sure how to navigate the SST (Student Study Team) process. We had already spent $2,000 plus to get his IQ scores a couple of years ago. Neuropsych testing is at least that much. Private testing is not cheap and I really felt like we needed that evaluation to be taken seriously by the school.
So I began talking about it to everyone I thought might be able to give me answers. Should I have him tested? Should I not? I even spoke to a neuropsych who was more than willing to help me out and evaluate my boy, but at a cost. Finally, a friend of mine, who is a clinical psychologist, talked to me about my situation.
She asked me why I would spend the time and money on having my son evaluated when we already knew the outcome!
I am my son’s biggest advocate
I realized I am not a victim. I have a voice. My son is my responsibility and my school truly wants to partner with me in order for my boy to succeed.
I started with my child’s teacher. She knew him best. She recognized that there is a big discrepancy between what he can do and how he tests. She saw first hand the difference between how he speaks and what he can get down on paper.
She set up the initial SST.
I had never sat on that side of the table. I was the mom, desperately wanting what is best for my child. So, along with the school psychologist, the principal, his teacher and me, we worked out a plan for my son without me having to spend time and money on testing.
There is a plan in place for him and I am so excited and hopeful about his future.
What you can do
Since the beginning of my teaching career, more than twenty years ago, I have been saying the same thing to parents when facing an SST, updating an IEP, or working through a 504:
The squeaky wheel gets the grease!
What this means is, don’t stop advocating for your child.
- Be polite, but persistent! (Loosing your temper will only hurt the process.)
- Come into the meeting with your objectives clear in your mind and share them with the group.
- Research different accommodations that will work for your child.
- Come to the meetings with evidence of the discrepancies. (Samples of work are important.
- Finally, when all else fails, there are professional advocates available. They can help you get what you need.