Why Parents Should Get a Comprehensive Evaluation by an Independent Evaluator
Recently, we offered parents this advice: "Get a comprehensive evaluation of your child by an independent evaluator in the private sector - this evaluation will give you a roadmap for the future. Choose an evaluator who is independent of the school district and who is willing to work with the school staff."
How about something about how you know when a school psychologist is not up to snuff instead of advising flat-out that parents should "get an independent evaluation"? Not all school psychologists are as you describe them. How inconsiderate of you . . . shame, shame, shame! - Daniel
You did not state that the school psychologist was incapable of providing a comprehensive evaluation. The emphasis should be on the advice that parents have the option of getting an evaluation that is independent of the school system. That is good advice, especially for parents who question or disagree with the school's evaluation.
I applaud you stating that the evaluators should be willing to work with the school staff. Thank you for your newsletters, they are always helpful. - Sandra
We did not say evaluations by independent evaluators are always superior to evaluations by school psychologists. In our experience, there is great variability in the quality of evaluations by school psychologists and evaluators in the private sector.
There are good psychologists, mediocre psychologists, and incompetent psychologists who should not be allowed to practice. The same statement can be made (and often is) about doctors, attorneys, teachers, electricians, psychotherapists, plumbers, etc etc etc.
If you read our books and articles, you know we encourage parents to gather information and develop expertise about their child's disability, strengths, weaknesses, and effective educational remediation methods. This usually means parents need to get more than one evaluation of their child.
When we do this in the health care field, it's called getting a second opinion. If a health care provider objected to my plan to get a second opinion or claimed that he or she knew more about me and my condition than anyone else, I would find another health care provider. You probably would too.
We urge parents to be proactive. In our training programs, we teach parents how the special education laws are organized and how to find essential information in the statutes. We encourage parents to read what the laws actually say, and not to depend on what others tell them.
We give the same advice to teachers, service providers, and school administrators.
In our training programs and our book From Emotions to Advocacy, we teach parents about tests and measurements, the bell curve, standard scores, percentile ranks. We teach parents (and teachers) how to chart out a child's test scores to see if the child is making acceptable progress - so they do not have to rely entirely on what others tell them. (We give the same advice to parents of chronically ill children who are dealing with health care providers - learn what tests measure and what test results mean.)
If you have read our books or attended one of our training programs, you know we encourage parents to build good working relationships with school personnel, to be polite, and to thank people who help them. Parents also need to understand their role and the "Playing Field."
parents to ask
questions and seek information. We do not encourage parents (or
anyone else) to have blind trust in others. Read
a warning from a school psychologist about "the dangers of blind
Last revised: 07/30/08