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This is a very common question among parents and a very good one.  To have a full neuropsychological or psych-ed evaluation, can be extremely expensive. It’s also very time-consuming.  How necessary is it?  It depends on each child’s unique situation.  

Jackie is a 2nd grader who attends private school.  She is struggling to read at the 2nd-grade level and is becoming more and more resistant to reading.  The parents have basically given up on getting her to read at home because it always results in a lot of pushback and getting upset.  Her parents are exhausted.  At school, she has been needing some extra teacher support and she’s having a hard time remembering which letters make which sounds and interchanging them often.

Jackie’s situation is extremely common.  If any parents have a student like Jackie, they can know that they are definitely not alone in their struggles.  Sometimes the teacher will reach out to the parents if they are significantly struggling.  Other times, the parent’s concern is enough to make them wonder about testing.

Why is it important?

  • Gives information about the student’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner
  • Can help identify any learning disabilities
  • Can be used to receive IEP, 504, or other accommodations 
  • Can come as a relief to the child or their family to realize that they are wired a certain way so cannot help their struggles
  • Provides helpful information to help guide parents or anyone else who works with the student
  • Relieves some of the pressure of parenting 

What age should I get my child assessed?

Once the child starts showing significant trouble in keeping up with their peers in certain areas, I would suggest pursuing testing.  Generally, people wait until around second grade to see if it may be developmental, but in certain cases, I think earlier is better.  However, it’s also never too late.  Even if you have a child in high school, it can still be extremely helpful to do testing now.  

Can I go through the school district?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all students are entitled to an evaluation at no cost to the families.  Therefore, even if you are not in public school, the school district you live in is required to evaluate your child if a learning disability is suspected.  They are required to provide an evaluation within 30 days.  However, keep in mind that the goal of the school is to not provide services as it is costly to them. Or, keeping services provided at a minimum cost-saving amount is also their priority.  But, with the high cost of private testing, getting it through the district is definitely better than not getting it at all.  

If you are in public school and would like to request an evaluation, here is a helpful link.

Caroline Towery

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