What kind of tests?-- UPDATE Questions on specific tests

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101 Archives' started by pepperidge, Feb 11, 2006.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Hi,

    I am planning to have my son evaluated for LDs. AT this point, we have a reasonable handle on and a good psychiatrist to deal with the mood disorder issues. But given his prenatal exposure, a long speech delay and some learning problems at school, I am considering getting educational testing, if that's what they call it.

    In third grade he is still reversing letters, finds reading a chore, has an inordinate amount of trouble with abstract concepts, has some attentional issues, but not pronounced, and generally seems to be falling behind a bit. He was one of the strongest readers in his first grade, but is not any longer. I am concerned that there might be some subtle learning issues. Achievement wise he is at grade level, though falling behind a bit, but probably not at his potential. Don't know whether it is his mood issues (easily frustrated), or something else.

    I am considering getting him tested through the school. We have a pretty good relationship with the district. But my understanding is that they are likely just to do the standard intelligence tests, maybe a test of fine motor skills.

    I am also willing to have him tested privately but it is hard to find a good tester here in the boonies, and I don't know whether they would do much more than the school.

    Is there a minimum set of tests that we should request?

    By the way, we had a complete multidisciplinary evaluation done at a leading children's hospital when he was 15 months due to his speech delay. they ruled out autism, sad he was subnormal intelligence. The latter fortunately has not proved true--everyone agrees that his intelligence is above average.

    Appreciate any guidance you have to offer so that I make sure he gets all the tests he needs.

    Chris
     
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator

    Chris,

    Ask the school to evaluate for "factors impacting academic and social development." If they say he is at grade level, then share your specific concerns. If they still won't test, you are in a difficult situation.

    in my opinion you are right--there probably are subtle problems that are neurologic--and they will become more problematic as school tasks become more abstract and require greater levels of organization and comprehension. It is not unusual for students who read OK or even well in first grade, to have comprehension-based problems by third grade. These same students often take until 5th or 6th grade to "fail" sufficiently for the school to want to evaluate. Obviously, by then, a lot of time has been lost.

    I would send the request to the school and see what happens. If they are adamant, and you intend to keep your kids there, I would go with private testing to develop your own understanding before you take on the school.

    Intelligence should be assessed (WISC series) if it hasn't been assessed since 15 months. Infant IQs are notoriously unstable so I'm glad that your son's has changed. I would be interested in the inter-subtest scatter as much as the overall scores. Then academics should be RELIABLY assessed. I like the Woodcock-Johnson series but the WIAT has the advantage of being normed on the same population as the WISC. Visual perception, process speeding, attention, etc. also should be assessed but based on our description, maybe just as rule outs. Do you have speech/language concerns now? Often subtle language deficits underwrite reading comprehension problems. If you have any doubts, language should be assessed, too.

    Getting a school to do the above for a student at grade level is not easy.

    Send all mail certified. If you request and they refuse, you will have started the timeline anyway.

    Martie
     
  3. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    I may have missed it in your post or signature, but I don't recall whether your difficult child already has an IEP.

    If your child already has an IEP, the new regs state:

    5. Revises procedures for reevaluations.
    An LEA shall ensure that a reevaluation of each child with a disability is conducted in accordance with Sections 614(b) and 614(c) if:

    The LEA determines that the educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, of the child warrant a reevaluation; or

    The child’s parents or teacher requests a reevaluation.

    A reevaluation conducted under Section 614(a)(2)(A) shall occur not more frequently than once a year, unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise; and at least once every three years, unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary. [614(a)(2)]

    The above is from http://www.ideapartnership.org/

    As Marti indicated, it is very important to send these type letters via Certified Mail.

    I wouldn't limit the reevaluation in anyway. Use a term such as "included but not limited to..." That way the responsibility for appropriate testing remains with the school district and they can't place blame on the parent(s) for not requesting some test they should have done, but didn't.
     
  4. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Martie and Shiela,

    Thanks for the helpful replies. My son does not have an IEP currently. Hasn't needed one since the school was very receptive to addressing behavioral playground type issues which seem to have resolved.

    Speech is not an issue at all (he speaks very clearly, good vocabulary, sentence structure), though I have concerns about reading (reads what for that, for example, those type of errors, reverses b and d when writes). Abstract reasoning is extrememly difficult. And is very tuned in to whatever is going on around him in the classroom, not his work sometimes. But is quite willing to do his work generally.

    My concern about the testing is that even if the school agrees to do the testing, they are likely to only do the WISC and possibly some tests of achievement like WJ.

    My oldest son was tested several years ago privately before we moved out here to the boonies when we were concerned about ADHD, anxiety and depression. He got the follwing battery of tests:

    WISC-III
    Automatic Verbal Sequencing
    Selective Reminding Test
    Klove Grooved Pegboard
    Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure
    Dev. Test of Visual-Motor Integration
    IVA
    Wisc. Card Sorting Test
    WJ-III
    Revised Children's Manifest Anxiety Scale
    Depression Inventory

    Selected subtests from:

    Detroit Test of Learning Aptitudes
    Test of Language Competence
    Oral and Written Language Scale
    Wide Range Ass. of Memory and Learning
    Test of Everyday Attention for Children
    Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing
    Delis-Kaplan Ex. Function System


    So here's my question: If the school says that it will evaluate, but basically wil only do WISC and WJ (none of these other tests except for OWL appear to be on their testing list), would it be worth going the private route? And if we do go the private route, are all these tests useful? (I want to make sure that we get all the tests that we really need). Are there other things we should be asking for?

    If we are going to go to all the trouble, I want to make sure we do an adequate job of picking up the problems. The school's response when I broached this informally a few months ago is that even for example if he does have dyslexia, that the strategies or special assistance would be same in any event, so that they don't think it is worth doing the special sub-testing, or something to that effect.


    Very much appreciate your guidance on this.

    Thank YOU!!!!

    Chris
     
  5. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    One further question: if a student has a diagnosis of ADHD or BiPolar (BP) from a psychiatrist, can one then legally compel the school district to provide an evaluation of the student? Or can they say that since the student is meeting grade level expectations (though slipping), they don't qualify for an evaluation?
     
  6. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    The school district must perform a Full and Initial Evaluation. They are precluded by law from using only one assessment method/test. In other words, the evaluation method cannot be limited to IQ/Achievement testing which is what the WISC and WJ are.

    Federal regs state:
    In evaluating each child with a disability under §§300.531-300.536, the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child's special education and related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified. The child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities.


    Additionally,

    "``(1) Notice.--The local educational agency shall provide
    notice to the parents of a child with a disability, in
    accordance with subsections (b)(3), (b)(4), and (c) of section
    615, that describes any evaluation procedures such agency
    proposes to conduct.
    ``(2) Conduct of evaluation.--In conducting the evaluation,
    the local educational agency shall--
    ``(A) use a variety of assessment tools and
    strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental,
    and academic information, including information provided
    by the parent, that may assist in determining--
    ``(i) whether the child is a child with a
    disability; and

    [[Page 118 STAT. 2705]]

    ``(ii) the content of the child's
    individualized education program, including
    information related to enabling the child to be
    involved in and progress in the general education
    curriculum, or, for preschool children, to
    participate in appropriate activities;
    ``(B) not use any single measure or assessment as
    the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a
    child with a disability or determining an appropriate
    educational program for the child; and
    ``(C) use technically sound instruments that may
    assess the relative contribution of cognitive and
    behavioral factors, in addition to physical or
    developmental factors.
    ``(3) Additional requirements.--Each local educational
    agency shall ensure that--
    ``(A) assessments and other evaluation materials
    used to assess a child under this section--
    ``(i) are selected and administered so as not
    to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural
    basis;
    ``(ii) are provided and administered in the
    language and form most likely to yield accurate
    information on what the child knows and can do
    academically, developmentally, and functionally,
    unless it is not feasible to so provide or
    administer;
    ``(iii) are used for purposes for which the
    assessments or measures are valid and reliable;
    ``(iv) are administered by trained and
    knowledgeable personnel; and
    ``(v) are administered in accordance with any
    instructions provided by the producer of such
    assessments;
    ``(B) the child is assessed in all areas of suspected disability
    ``(C) assessment tools and strategies that provide
    relevant information that directly assists persons in
    determining the educational needs of the child are
    provided; and
    ``(D) assessments of children with disabilities who
    transfer from 1 school district to another school
    district in the same academic year are coordinated with
    such children's prior and subsequent schools, as
    necessary and as expeditiously as possible, to ensure
    prompt completion of full evaluations...."


    FYI: The statute also states, ``(B) a copy of the evaluation report and the documentation of determination of eligibility shall be
    given to the parent.


    Section 614 at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ446.108 further addresses these issues.

    A Parent Report can help a school district "suspect" a disability.

    Upon the school district's completion of the report, if a parent does not agree with the school district's report, they can request an IEE. The IEE is not limited to IQ/Achievement testing. There is no cost to the parent.

    There's a thread in the Sp Ed Archives that explains about options if a school district were to refuse to evaluate.

    You may also want to read One of the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Is . . . thread in the Sp Ed Archives.
     
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