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The Assessment Process

Once your child is referred to a “child find team” or an “IEP (individual education plan) team” you have started a machinery which may include social workers, Psychologists, speech pathologists,

doctors, nurses, teachers, special education teachers, principals and school system administrators. All of these individuals are coming together to determine whether your child is functioning at an appropriate level. The key is to help your child as early as possible to decrease long term problems.

The first step is for these healthcare and educational professionals to meet with parents. It is very important for parents to collect all of the health and educational records that they have to share with the professionals. This interview may take several hours and/or may take several days to complete. The initial information is designed to discover the most important significant problem that your child is experiencing. For example, does your child have difficulty with social relationships, failure to grow as others have, an undiagnosed medical problem, difficulty hearing or difficulty learning?

For example, a little boy was found to be very quiet when he was an infant. He slept through the night almost the first day home from the hospital. He played by himself with a few toys but appeared to walk and talk at an appropriate time. However, the child was very thin and not growing within normal range. His physician identified him as a child who was “failing to thrive” and questions were asked about the competence of the parents to raise the child. When the child reached the age of 5 a different physician found that the child had a heart defect. The child received heart surgery and quickly began growing and became the size of same aged peers.

The goal of the child study teams is to identify children who are having difficulty with health and development as soon as possible. This allows for intensive evaluations that help identify intellectual problems, health problems, birth defects, and conditions that affect the development of children. The task is to work with the identified professionals to find problem areas, and to allow them to do some initial screenings and observations that will help identify and treat your child’s needs.

The challenge of these initial meetings is for you as parents and the professionals to come

together to work for the promotion of health and education of vulnerable children. The beginning of this process is very important as, detailed evaluations lead to comprehensive solutions and plans for helping children. This process are mandated in parts of our federal laws which are designed to help the most vulnerable individuals in our society. The process can also lead to obtaining “free” and intensive services for children in need. In addition, funds can be provided to parents to assist them to obtain these services in the best way possible.

As parents, taking a child to the hospital for any reason is very scary. However, the assessment process is designed to get help to your child as soon as possible. It’s important to realize that you can do this, at times with tear in your eyes,to help your children. This site is designed to help you maintain your sanity as you go through the process.

[If you need assistance obtaining an advocate or have a question about this information, please place a question on this web site. I will make sure you receive an answer within 2 days of your post. This is a members group post However, if you desire an individual response, please send contact information with your post].

[This information is provided for informational purposes. Each state has slightly different rules and therefore presented information is based on general special education and federal laws. This should not be considered as a provision of specific legal advice.]

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