October is National Attention-Deficit/Hyper Activity Disorder and Learning Disabilities month. How do you know if your child needs an evaluation for learning disorders?
There’s a lot of information out there on behavior and learning disorders, testing for them and recommendations on the strategies used to help. And then there’s the world of public education, based upon laws and policies that are ever changing. In our experience working with schools and students, we’ve found that this all can be very confusing to parents and educators alike. Here’s our list of myths and the truths behind them.
Myth #1 – When you suspect your child may have a learning disability, the first step is to request the school complete a comprehensive evaluation.
Not true. Schools have different levels of supports and interventions in place and whether a child has a learning disability is best evaluated when looking at their response to these. A parent’s first step should be to contact the school and request a meeting, often referred to as a Student Success Team meeting, to discuss their concerns and develop an action plan with the school.
Myth #2 – My child will be negatively labeled as a learning-disabled student.
A diagnosis or special education classification communicates specific information to parents and educators, which helps them when working together to develop supports to help the student succeed.
Myth #3 The school is only able to test to see if a child qualifies for special education. I have to go to a private evaluator to see if my child has dyslexia, dysgraphia or dyscalculia.
Schools operate based upon laws and private clinicians operate upon sets of codes used to diagnose, which may result in the use of different terms. But these terms are actually referring to the same thing, which is characterized by ongoing learning challenges and a neurologically based deficit in cognitive processes.
It is important that parents, private practitioners and educators alike understand this and work together to address a child’s learning challenges.
Myth #4 My child excels in several subject areas; there is no way he needs testing.
Learning challenges include areas such as attention, organization and time management skills. Often children can excel in one area and have challenges in another. If a child has not responded well to evidence-based interventions and supports put in place, it may be time to consider testing.
Myth #5 My school district is too busy to test.
Schools are required to test students suspected of having a disability that may require special education services. A parent may elect to have their child privately tested too for myriad reasons. Regardless, early conversations about the intervention and testing process can help build strong and lasting partnerships between parents and schools.
At Psyched Services, we’re committed to being the bridge between parents, schools and private practitioners, as we know we all have the same goals in mind: to help children learn so they can do. Stay connected and sign-up for our newsletter here