Special Needs Testing

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In my last article (September Special Needs) I spoke of identification of your child and how important it is to get a thorough evaluation completed. This is your foundation for how to proceed. I can tell you from years of experience that this is the roughest part. I have seen parents fall into denial and into warrior mama bear and into my kids defective so can’t do anything mode. And the most successful have been those that have formed a team with their provider. 

Special Needs Testing

How does testing occur? It starts by asking. Sometimes assessments can occur for free if you homeschool within the realm of your local school district or your child attends a public school or public charter school This means you receive materials and the assistance of a homeschool teacher.

If you work outside the realm of the district then you will need to seek private testing which can be pricey and is only sometimes covered by insurance. In this case your primary doctor is your ally. Testing that is almost always covered by insurance will be speech and language testing, autism testing, ADHD testing, and occupational therapy testing. Also look at the child’s hearing and vision. Having a good evaluation by a qualified audiologist and an optometrist can be critical. 

What In Not Covered by Insurance

What is not covered often is psychoeducational testing which looks at a variety of learning disabilities like dyslexia and dysgraphia. If you think your child has a learning disability it’s important to get at least the speech and language assessment and the psychoeducational assessments done so you know what you are working with. Most learning problems have a language component or are all based in some aspect of language. 

Test Results

After the testing is completed the providers will schedule a meeting with you to go over the results. This is also when a plan to help is developed to help your child. If the testing occurs in the public school system then an IEP (individual education plan) or an IS( individual service plan) is developed.

  • An IEP occurs when a child attends, in some capacity, public school.
  • An ISP occurs when the family rejects public school and chooses a non public means of educating their child but still want public school support to assist in educating the special needs child.
  • Homeschool may or may not fall under an ISP.
  • An IEP has much stronger legal requirements than an ISP.
  • Basically if a district doesn’t have money then they don’t have to provide for the ISP because the family has rejected public education.
  • Under an IEP, services must be provided.

This gets tricky sometimes as there are areas of shortfall. For example, my profession as a speech therapist is the number one shortage area in education nationwide

What Do They Test?

So what does testing look like? And can you be present? Testing has the child answer a series of questions or perform a series of tasks that become increasingly more difficult. The questions and tasks are geared to find out where the learning difficulties lie. They are not personalized but rather based on how other children nationwide perform on similar questions.

Can you be present?

Usually not because kids know from our “tells” as Mom’s and Dad’s when they get a question right or wrong. Also our body language will help a child find the right answer even when they had no clue what the question even meant. It’s also incredibly difficult for us to not want to help. After all, that’s what we do as parents, we help our kids. One exception for this is autism testing. For specific autism tests, the parent is asked to be present during the testing. You are asked to sit quietly and to not respond to your child unless your help is needed. For the most part, children usually do not mind the testing and find it fun. 

Again, the most critical step in figuring out what your child’s needs are is to have qualified professional help. After that you have tools in your tool box to help their learning at whatever level. 

Helpful Links

About The Author

I’m Lynda and I’ve been homesteading my whole life. I’m your special education resource for all levels of need. I’ve been a speech and language pathologist for almost 27 years now and have worked with children of all needs and disabilities from severely handicapped to autism to students with mild articulation issues. Please post your questions on this page so that everyone can learn from the modifications.

Weekly Bible Verse

Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. 

We need to be careful with our words. Especially within our family and circle of friends, talebearing can cause a lot of strife. Make it a goal to not gossip about people and to use words that build up rather than tear down


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