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I don't know how to get my son assessed for accommodations

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When my son was about 7 or 8 he was dx'd with ADHD by a pediatrician.  Since then, he's been taking meds for it.  The meds are pretty amazing and do a lot to help him focus. That's great.

 

However, he is very slow in his work.  He's smart, he learns the material, he has a decent attitude about learning (he's 15), but he's just so slow, especially when he has to do long computations.  In Algebra II and in Chemistry, the past few tests have involved long computations.  The past few tests he's had in those classes (they're live online classes with take home tests on paper), he's taken 2.5 hours on each test.  I contacted the Alg II teacher asking her if it was expected for the students to take that long, and she was shocked and said, "Oh, no!  He should be taking only about half an hour."  He knows the material, but he works so slowly when there are multiple steps in a computation.  (He got a 100% on the Alg II test, but it took a solid 2.5 hours.)

 

He also reads slowly.  He greatly struggled to learn to read, is bad at spelling, and his handwriting is also bad.  (I hate typing this out because it sounds like I'm being mean, but I'm just trying to give an objective picture.)  I'm a fast reader, so it's hard for me to know just how slow he is, but last week we were reading Of Mice and Men.  I had a copy and he had a copy.  I was done my chapter in X amount of time, and he took at least 3 times that amount.  It just seemed extra slow to me.

 

He's in 10th grade.  Up to this point, I've been ok if he reads slowly or does his work slowly.  We work around it. But college is looming.  I have taken a good honest look at what we do in school and I think I've been accommodating ADHD beyond what the meds do, and now I'm realizing there could be dyslexia or processing issues as well. Maybe.  I don't even know what all the issues are a student can have.  He might have none of those and it could be something else that I don't know exists.

 

I've been working with the child I have, and trying to give him room for his strengths and bolster his weaknesses, which is great...but college is looming.  I need to get some sort of official information to provide to colleges because I think it's clear he'll need some sort of accommodations when he's there--maybe extra time for tests, or using a computer instead of handwriting some tests. 

 

I'm facing the fact that his slowness in test taking and reading aren't getting better now that he's in high school and it could easily cause him to fail in college.  If the teacher allows the class an hour for a test that takes him 2.5 hours to complete due to some sort of learning disability, he'll end up getting all Fs due to unanswered questions, even though he knows the material.

 

Here are the problem/questions for The Hive.  I don't need them all answered today, but it just gives you a picture of where I'm coming from:

 

First of all, I don't even know what questions to ask you.

I don't know what I'm accommodating and what I'm not.  

I don't know what's normal for kids his age/ability level and what's not.

I don't know if his Alg and Chem teachers don't understand that they're giving out tests that are too long and maybe all the other kids are taking this long, too, but just don't give feedback to the teacher.

I don't know if I'm supposed to go to the local high school school for an assessment (even though we're homeschoolers) or somewhere private or both.

I don't know if I can trust the school to have good assessors.

I don't know if I'm supposed to get an IEP from the school for the college or if some sort of doctor's report is what I hand the college.

I don't know if he needs and IEP or a 504.  I don't know the difference between those things.

I don't know what sort of accommodations are even out there.

I don't know what sort of dx's are out there.

I don't know if the doctor will know what the needed accommodations are or if the college will read the report and decide on the accommodations.

I don't know what sort of doctor to go to for this.

I don't know what sort of tests to ask them to do.  Will they tell me what to do, or do I have to go in there armed with knowing what to ask for.  I don't know what to ask for. I don't have a classroom of kids to compare him against. I don't know what I'm accommodating and what's normal for all kids. 

I don't know what to ask for.

How do I find all the answers to the above, and what else am I missing?

Can the assessors figure out his issues without me telling them what I think the issues are?  Does he walk in cold and they know how to sort it out entirely for themselves?

 

 

And back to...I don't even know what to ask you guys for.  I'm just starting here because I don't even know what to google that won't end up being all dead ends.

 

Can anyone point me toward some threads?  Websites?  Give me tips to get me started?

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The school district is legally required to assess all children under the ChildFind program including homeschoolers. You would send a request in writing (mail it certified with return receipt) to the head of Special Education for the district and that starts the clock. They have 60 days to do the assessment and hold an IEP meeting. Depending on state law, they may or may not offer IEP services to children not enrolled in district schools, but Federal law requires them to do an IEP assessment and tell you what services your child would qualify for if he enrolled. You are under no obligation to accept the IEP.

 

A private evaluation by a neuropsychologist or good educational psychologist is probably going to give you more useful information than the school IEP assessment. However, it is pricey and often not covered by insurance. The one we did for my daughter was $3500 completely out-of-pocket. If we'd done it locally it would've been $5-6k. The school IEP assessment is free, so I would start there and see what they find. Then you can decide whether there are enough "red flags" to warrant paying for a private evaluation.

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PS evals are free, your federal right, but they're a real crapshoot. Unless you're enrolling him in the ps or need an IEP to qualify him for say a state scholarship (like in our state), you don't need an IEP/504. What you *do* need is paper trail so he can have his accommodations in college. That will need to be in the last 3 years from when he would be enrolling, so you're probably right there, perfect timing.

 

I would find a private psych is known for being good with SLDs. He's probably going to add SLDs in reading, possibly writing, to the list, so you'd really like some attention to that. While they're at it, they could do some career testing and give him counsel on directions to go. 

 

His testing should include a CTOPP for dyslexia. After you have that, I would go ahead and begin some RAN/RAS work. RAN/RAS=Rapid Naming, and it's directly correlated with strong readers. It's basically free to work on if you use the pages I've shared in my dropbox, and it may make a difference. I made the pages to use with my ds with dyslexia.

 

So if you can make it happen, a private eval is the way to go. The ps is asking a totally different question from you, because they're asking what is affecting his ability to access his education and therefore what do they have to intervene on. You can have dyslexia, adhd, all sorts of issues, but NOT qualify for an IEP in those things. The colleges won't care about an IEP/504 and you don't need it for ACT/SAT accommodations either. So if you go with private evals, you're getting a more objective take.

 

Does he benefit from audiobooks? One perk of getting SLD reading diagnosed is you can fill out the forms to get access to BARD (National Library Service). Will save you a ton of money in audiobooks...

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As far as walking in cold, well I guess in theory. But the unfortunate thing is you almost have to know what the issues are so you can find a psych experienced at sorting them out. I would be looking for someone who is well-regarded in dyslexia and SLDs, someone who will spend 4-6 hours over multiple sessions doing testing, someone who is a good listener and good at explaining things in a way that makes sense to you. 

 

As far as pricing, it varies with the type/cateogyr of psych. So a neuropsych is more than a clinical psych, etc. Region of the country affects pricing. I am using a school psych this time around, and I think we're "only" paying $140 an hour. Neuropsychs, same city, are $250+. So when they quote you prices, that reflects the number of hours of testing they plan to do and the hours for writing the report and meeting with you to discuss. So less hours, lower priced psych, things like that will explain price differences.

 

If a psych is saying they do the whole thing in 2 hours, they're probably not running much. That would be just an IQ and achievement. There are psychs who will do that, reading the tea leaves with just a small amount, but it's much more helpful to have more testing done. Once you put SLDs on the table, you'd like them to run visual motor, language testing, the CTOPP, all kinds of stuff. With my dd the psych (a neuropsych) ran tools for word retrieval. She's diagnosed straight SLDs, no dyslexia, but that particular test showed up a very significant level and it's an issue that DOES affect her! 

 

So I'm a fan of more hours of testing where possible and getting someone who is easy to talk with, who listens, who explains things well. That will get you a long way.

Edited by PeterPan
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For college accommodations I'd do a private eval if possible. We had DS, who was 17 at the time, evaluated by a clinical psychologist. I think she did an excellent job. The process involved an intake meeting with me and DH where she asked us all sorts of things to hone in on what tests she'd need to run, and five to six hours of testing spread over two days. Our insurance covered it, all we had to pay was our usual co-pay at each visit/testing session.

 

We were having him evaluated for autism and any related issues. You do not have to tell the person doing the evaluation what tests to do. You do not have to tell them what diagnoses you suspect. Anyone worth his or her salt will discuss things thoroughly with you at the intake appointment. If you describe what you're seeing they'll figure out what to test for and what tests to run. That's what you're paying them for. Don't feel like you have to do their job for them!

 

I'm far from an expert, but my understanding is that for college accommodations many (and maybe most) places want to see testing normed for adults. That often means done at 16 or later. IEPs and 504s aren't used in college. Accommodations are covered under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (which to make things a little more confusing is where 504 comes from--Section 504 of that act).

 

The clinical psychologist provided us with a very detailed report (about 15 pages worth) including her recommendations for the accommodations DS might need. I believe providing a list of suggested accommodations is a standard part of the evaluation process. Those accommodation recommendations are what colleges and universities want to see. They aren't psychologists or neuro psychs and they will NOT interpret testing results and say "Oh he needs x, y and z." Nope, not their job and not something they will touch. You need a list of recommended accommodations going in.

 

When DS decided which university he wanted to attend we sent them a copy of the evaluation report, told them which of the recommended accommodations DS wanted to use (only one) and that was pretty much all that was required. BUT . . . although the psychologist listed quite a few accommodations, including extra time on tests and a quiet place for testing, DS has never found those necessary. The accommodation he requested (the use of a Smart Pen for recording/taking notes in all classes) was quite easy for the university to agree to, as it doesn't require anything from them or any of his professors. I don't know if it would be more difficult with more accommodations.

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I agree that you could seek evaluations from the public school or a private psychologist, and that though public schools will do it for free, they aren't known for being able to give the family complete answers. That really isn't their job; their job is to determine what support they have to offer the student so that they can access their education.

 

The school should be able to tell you (after evaluations) whether he has certain learning disabilities and what accommodations he would have if enrolled there.

 

An educational psychologist or neuropsychologist will be more able to tell you WHY and give you a more thorough band of testing to sort out the root issues. You would also get a report from them listing any learning disabilities and accommodations that should be offered.

 

My kids have had both private and public school evaluations, and I can see the pros of each. The school evaluations have some cons, and the only con I can think of for private evaluations is the cost. For one of my kids, I paid $1800 out of pocket for the NP. For the other two, insurance covered most of it. That will depend on your insurance.

 

My cousin's wife is an educational psychologist. She says most of her clients have already had evaluations done by the schools and come to her with their reports in hand to have her run more tests and figure more things out. Because you are a homeschooler, you don't really need school evaluations instead of private, unless you choose to go that route, due to cost.

 

How close is he to turning 16? I don't know how important it would be to wait, but I do know that it can take months from the time you make the appointment to the time of testing, if you go with a private evaluation. If you make an appointment now, might he be 16 by the evaluations?

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Fwiw, my dd has low processing speed and uses her accommodations on testing environment and time a LOT. I'm really proud of that, because I think it takes a lot of hutspah to be a freshman and walk into a 300 level class and use your accommodations, kwim? But it is true, she's able to judge which classes she'll especially need them for and which aspects of a class she won't. So she has the legal right to use them for everything, but she uses them where she knows it makes a difference. But it can be an issue with kids where they need them and won't use them. I spent several years working with her on that, building her confidence in the rightness of accommodations, that they let her show who she is, that I won't be there and you'll have to speak up and ask. We practiced using them with online classes and DE, so she got more confident each time that they made a difference and could be implemented discretely. As you visit colleges, it's something to figure out, how disability-friendly they are, how discrete they are, how woven it is into the culture of the university for it to be normal to be in that student services area using services. Some schools are investing big money, updating, making it really nice. At the school where dd is, it's incredibly discrete. They notify all her professors for her, so other students don't even realize that she's missing certain things and why. It just all happens, very discretely.

 

They also gave her forms that she got documented through the ped that got her less people in her dorm room, etc. That was a lot more effort and took some back and forth and that was where we were glad to have that relationship and a practitioner willing to go to the bat and say no, this really has to happen.

 

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Btw, our last evals for dd, the ones that we handed to the ps, were in fact ps evals. She had a private, $$$$$$ neuropsych eval when she was younger, and I didn't need such an extensive, expensive workup again, kwim? I just needed updated documentation that the issues continued to be present. So I've done ps evals with my ds (who has an IEP, long story) and my dd. So I'm not knocking the ps psych, if that makes sense. He spent time with us, gave us some good advice, etc. It's just that if you're only going to do it once, you're likely to learn more by going privately. You'll be paying for more hours than the ps psych will be allowed to spend, and that results in more testing, more feedback, more for you to work with. You'll learn more. 

 

I don't know why I had forgotten that, lol. Yeah, dd's last evals were with the ps psych. So they can do it, sure. If there are no SLDs, a clinical psych is enough (2 hours). But you're putting SLDs on the table, so you need longer evals.

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What does 16 have to do with the evals? 18 was a big deal for privacy, but I don't know about 16.

Edited by PeterPan

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Where to find a neuropsychologist? Hospitals have them. We used two hospitals for evaluations, and we had pretty long waits for appointments. Five months, I think. You may need a referral from your doctor (not sure, depends on the hospital and your insurance). Those are the two NP evaluations that insurance covered, but my boys were referred by other professionals, not just by me. Not sure if that made a difference about insurance coverage.

 

There are also private NPs. The private psych we used for DD is the one we paid full price for, because he only took one kind of insurance, which we did not have.

 

Where did I find the psychs we used? We were sent to the hospital NP, as I mentioned, by other medical providers. We found by private psych through a friend.

 

My cousin works for a place that offers private educational psychology. I can google something like "educational testing" and her organization is one that pops up. So you may be able to get an initial list of places in your area through internet research, if you don't know someone who can give you a name. Then you can call places and ask questions.

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If you are looking ahead to college, and you know a possible college, you can google and see what their website says. It might be an office with a word like disability or access in the name. It can give you an idea.

 

You don’t mention anything about accommodations for the ACT or SAT. If you would want him to have extra time on those tests, that is a separate deal and my impression is it seems like it’s more work. My impression of going through a university office for accommodations in classes seems like a lot of people have a pretty easy and smooth experience and can get information about steps to take from contacting the office.

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They also gave her forms that she got documented through the ped that got her less people in her dorm room, etc. That was a lot more effort and took some back and forth and that was where we were glad to have that relationship and a practitioner willing to go to the bat and say no, this really has to happen.

 

Yes, for DS to get a private dorm room we needed a letter from a medical doctor (in his case we got one from the psychiatrist who treats his anxiety).

 

 

What does 16 have to do with the evals? 18 was a big deal for privacy, but I don't know about 16.

 

I think it's because a lot of colleges and universities want to see testing that's done at the adult level, and for the WAIS-IV (and I guess other similar tests) it starts at 16.

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When you're looking for experts in SLDs, look on the advisory boards for support orgs for those disabilities in your state. So you could look on a dyslexia support org for your state or a dyslexia school in your state.

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You have such a strong history of requiring extended time for testing, I think you'll be able to provide enough info to satisfy the ACT/SAT people. Fwiw, extended time would have only improved my dd's ACT scores marginally. She would have gone a bit higher on the math. So that's something where not everyone uses it, even when they can. You can do practice tests where you run it to the normal time, switch ink colors and keep going, and see how it scores both ways. Then you'll know how much of a difference it makes and how aggressively you should pursue it.

 

And no, I don't remember what achievement testing they did for her that last time. That year was such a blur. I really think the key is talking with the colleges and seeing how serious they are about helping. We talked with some that were total lip service and some that were bending over backwards. I think there's probably a lot less flex the less they're trying to help people anyway. Like one college we talked to doesn't take gov't funds, and they were just not really helpful on ADA compliance at all. You could just tell it would have been rough to get accommodations there. Scratch them off the list. So the school she went with never quibbled, just did it. I have no clue what test was run by the ps psych, but it really may not have been the WAIS. Ps evals are not always going to be just so. They might use abbreviated tests, etc. Even so, the university was like fine, that checked the box, done. I think some of that was that they were really bent on helping people. Dunno, just saying.

Edited by PeterPan

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Here are the problem/questions for The Hive.  I don't need them all answered today, but it just gives you a picture of where I'm coming from:

 

First of all, I don't even know what questions to ask you.

I don't know what I'm accommodating and what I'm not.  

  Extra time is an accommodation that you are using. Having an audio version of a text is an accommodation that sounds like it would be helpful, but I don't know if you are providing that. Being able to type answers or give them orally is an accommodation. Having help with writing, such as graphic organizers. Having assignments broken into smaller chunks. Not counting off for misspelling. These are just some examples; there are many more. When you have him evaluated, it would be helpful to provide a list of things you are already doing to accommodate at home. You can google "accommodations for dyslexia" or "accommodations for slow processing" etc. to see what is often suggested, and that should give you an idea whether you are already doing those things.

I don't know what's normal for kids his age/ability level and what's not.

The psych will know this. I will say that your description does not sound fully typical to me.

I don't know if his Alg and Chem teachers don't understand that they're giving out tests that are too long and maybe all the other kids are taking this long, too, but just don't give feedback to the teacher.

This could be possible. DD16 is in brick and mortar school, and sometimes a teacher will find that the whole class does not finish a test during the class period and will roll the remainder of the test into the next day. So it can happen. But what you describe sounds like it is taking an unusually long time for your son to do his work.

I don't know if I'm supposed to go to the local high school school for an assessment (even though we're homeschoolers) or somewhere private or both.

I don't know if I can trust the school to have good assessors.

I don't know if I'm supposed to get an IEP from the school for the college or if some sort of doctor's report is what I hand the college.

Colleges must follow a 504, but IEPs are just for high school. If a student with an IEP goes to college, though, I'm sure they provide a copy of the IEP to the college disability office. It is just that the college is not mandated to follow the IEP. They would have their own set of accommodations that can be offered, and they will determine what the student qualifies for. 504s have to be followed in college.

I don't know if he needs and IEP or a 504.  I don't know the difference between those things.

An IEP is needed when special education is needed. So if the student needs to work with an intervention specialist on academics or executive function skills or needs an aide for behavior, etc., they need an IEP. A 504 establishes accommodations only and does not include modifying the curriculum or instruction in any way. So needing to take a test in a quiet room or being able to record a lecture or get copies of someone else's notes are all accommodations. So is extra time on a test. Also devices such as hearing aides, smart pens, etc., are covered under 504, as well as anything needed for a physical disability. A school could determine that a student has a SLD (specific learning disability) like dyslexia, but does not need special instruction but only needs accommodations, such as extra time. That is individualized to each student's needs. We are not at that age yet, but from what I understand, colleges do not provide specialized instruction in the same way that public schools do. College students are expected to be able to do all of the work that their classmates do, without modifying the assignments. Depending on the college, however, the disability office may offer tutoring help.

I don't know what sort of accommodations are even out there.

I don't know what sort of dx's are out there.

From what you describe, I would say you suspect a reading disability, slow processing, and dysgraphia (poor handwriting, right?). How is his writing? Difficulty organizing thoughts onto paper can go along with dysgraphia, although sometimes the issue can be motor planning only and not difficulty with the thought process.

I don't know if the doctor will know what the needed accommodations are or if the college will read the report and decide on the accommodations. Both

I don't know what sort of doctor to go to for this.

I don't know what sort of tests to ask them to do.  Will they tell me what to do, or do I have to go in there armed with knowing what to ask for.  I don't know what to ask for. I don't have a classroom of kids to compare him against. I don't know what I'm accommodating and what's normal for all kids. 

I don't know what to ask for.

Print out a copy of what you wrote here and take it with you to the appointment. They will ask you to describe orally what the problems are, but it helps me to have my thoughts written, so that I cover things thoroughly. You would tell them that you suspect slow processing and a reading disability and perhaps a writing disability or motor planning issue. If you go through the public school, an occupational therapist would be the one to evaluate the motor issues of the writing; if you go to a private psych, the psych will take note of that themselves. I mention this, because if you go through the school, you will have a form on which the school will check off all of the areas to evaluate, and you would want to make sure OT is checked. (If you decide to go through the public school, there are other things to know, and people on the boards can help you with tips, including how to request the evaluations, and what the process will be like, and what stumbling blocks to avoid, because schools can sometimes be tricky to deal with.)

How do I find all the answers to the above, and what else am I missing?

You can learn a lot by searching the web for things like "evaluating for dyslexia" or "low or slow processing speed" or "dysgraphia." You may see a description of what you are seeing with your son and find new words to describe it. You can also search your state board of education website to learn about the process for school evaluations. If you decide to go that way, there are books you can read as well, which others on the LC board can recommend for you.

Can the assessors figure out his issues without me telling them what I think the issues are?  Does he walk in cold and they know how to sort it out entirely for themselves?

Yes and no. There would first be an intake interview, where you describe all of the problems that you see. But you don't have to do things like give them a list of tests to use. They will know. However, if you go through the public school, it is best to be very specific about what you are asking for, because if you don't request it, legally they don't have to test for it. Again, if you decide to do this, people on the boards can help with this.

 

 

And back to...I don't even know what to ask you guys for.  I'm just starting here because I don't even know what to google that won't end up being all dead ends.

 

Can anyone point me toward some threads?  Websites?  Give me tips to get me started?

 

 

 

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It's normal not to know how to start or where to turn. I was in that position myself, and I felt confused and alone. Our pediatrician was great in many ways, but not for sorting out the learning issues. I found a lot of help on the LC board.

 

I am really impressed that your son seems to be so diligent and patient and willing to work so much harder to learn than one would expect. He seems like a great guy! It's good for you to seek out some additional help for him, even though figuring out how to do so seems daunting. I agree that it sounds like he may sink in college even though homeschooling has enabled him to be successful in academics through high school. He deserves to have the accommodations that he needs in order to succeed. I'm glad you are looking into it now.

 

By the way, whether through the school or a private psych, one test that all should run as matter of course is an IQ test, usually the WISC. It not only measures the IQ, but has many subtests that measure things like processing speed, working memory, fluid thinking, and verbal and nonverbal reasoning. You will gain a lot of valuable information from those scores. They determine learning disabilities by examining the IQ categories and also scores on achievement testing. The achievement testing measures how they perform in academics compared to peers.

 

Schools will run the achievement tests (often Woodcock Johnson) and the WISC. A private psych will do those and also any other tests they think will reveal underlying issues. Those additional tests and the insight of the private psychs about what they MEAN can be worth the cost of going private. But if you just can't swing the cost, the public school testing may give you the basic information you need. Schools generally won't diagnose dyslexia, though. They will say SLD reading, and if you ask why he has trouble with reading, they may shrug their shoulders. The test that you want for determining dyslexia is called CTOPP. You can google that test. The school should be able to run it, but they may not, unless you specifically ask for it. A private psych would know to run it without you requesting it, once you describe the difficulties you see.

 

ETA: Running the WISC is so typical that you should not need to request it. However, there is someone on the LC boards who has had trouble getting her private psych or the school to do it. That is so unusual, and I think she just lives in an area where it is unfortunately difficult to get help. So the WISC is standard, but it's still good for you to know its name and be able to verify that they will run it (or an alternative that measures the same things) when you are making your inquiries You can google WISC to learn about it.

Edited by Storygirl

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I know we are throwing a lot of information at you. Don't be discouraged by that! Ask any follow up questions of us that you may have. And it's normal to need time to process all of this.

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Peter Pan mentioned WAIS. That is equivalent to the WISC. The evaluator will decide which is appropriate to use. Just wanted you to know that they are the IQ tests. Abbreviations can be confusing, and I wanted to let you know we were talking about the same kind of thing.

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Oh see I thought the WAIS was achievement, lol. The ps psych didn't even rerun that. He had the option to accept the IQ from the previous eval (age 12, WISC), so that's what he did. College didn't care.

 

Like I said, it really can vary with the college and how they roll. All they cared about was that the codes were listed and the signatures in the last 3 years. Beyond that, they weren't picky. But that was this university. I can totally see where another school might be more particular. And we talked to schools we could just tell were going to be such an uphill battle it wasn't worth it. 

 

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I know we are throwing a lot of information at you. Don't be discouraged by that! Ask any follow up questions of us that you may have. And it's normal to need time to process all of this.

I have been wanting to start this thread for about 2 months, but have felt too overwhelmed to even attempt asking questions.

 

Thank you to everyone who is taking the time to help me get started. I appreciate it more than I can say.

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How close is he to turning 16? I don't know how important it would be to wait, but I do know that it can take months from the time you make the appointment to the time of testing, if you go with a private evaluation. If you make an appointment now, might he be 16 by the evaluations?

He’ll be 16 in September. Per what people have written on this thread, it sounds I might want to wait until he’s 16 so we can get the adult tests that college prefer. Am I understanding that correctly?

 

Does that make a difference with insurance? Do they more commonly cover kid-tests vs adult-tests? I suppose that’s the sort of question to ask the insuarnce company directly...though they will probably only be able to answer if I know exactly what services I’m asking for (like names of specific tests or doctor’s names.).

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What does 16 have to do with the evals? 18 was a big deal for privacy, but I don't know about 16.

 

A lot of tests change from child/adolescent norms to adult ones at 16. It's like age 6 where tests change from preschool to school-aged. WPPSI goes to age 6, WISC to age 16, and then the WAIS is 16+.

 

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So does anyone reading this thread know for sure if most or all colleges prefer the testing to be after age 16? I think I've heard before that they want it to be within three years, but for many/most students, that means they could be 15 at the time of testing.

 

Now I'm curious.

 

PeterPan, I didn't know the WAIS was an IQ test instead of an achievement test until I looked it up while I was making my post. There is always something more to figure out!

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He’ll be 16 in September. Per what people have written on this thread, it sounds I might want to wait until he’s 16 so we can get the adult tests that college prefer. Am I understanding that correctly?

 

Does that make a difference with insurance? Do they more commonly cover kid-tests vs adult-tests? I suppose that’s the sort of question to ask the insuarnce company directly...though they will probably only be able to answer if I know exactly what services I’m asking for (like names of specific tests or doctor’s names.).

 

Would having the information sooner help you improve your intervention or approach to things? It sounds like there's a lot going on. When you test, it will be another 1-2 months sometimes before you get a report. I've had a psych occasionally crank them out faster, but many psychs take an infuriating long time. So if you test in September, it will be Thanksgiving before you get results possibly, maybe a little earlier. It's just how long you want to wait and how big a difference it will make.

 

Our college didn't give a rip what the IQ test was. They did care that the eval was done in the last 3 years, so 3 years before fall of enrollment in the college. You could ask the psych what colleges in your area are saying. If the wait to get in is 3-6 months (which it is in some areas, for some psychs), then your problem is solved. If they can get you in sooner and getting that info will change how you work with him, you could go ahead and eval and just update his senior year. Besides, has a 5th year or anything been on the table? If it has been, then you'd need to re-eval anyway. 

 

If you are putting interventions on the table, if you are wanting the results in order to improve how you work with him NOW, then I would do the evals now and sort out the college gig later. You can get a straight eval with a clinical psych for sub $1k. You could go through the ps at that point. It wouldn't be so hard to update 3 years from now. If you need the results NOW to make a difference NOW, then I would do the evals now.

 

Evals for my kids were life-changing. It sounds like you have a lot going on and that evals would give you actionable information.

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So does anyone reading this thread know for sure if most or all colleges prefer the testing to be after age 16? I think I've heard before that they want it to be within three years, but for many/most students, that means they could be 15 at the time of testing.

 

Now I'm curious.

 

PeterPan, I didn't know the WAIS was an IQ test instead of an achievement test until I looked it up while I was making my post. There is always something more to figure out!

 

I just really doubt that's the case that they care which test. We're talking ADA law, and I can't imagine them risking a lawsuit over quibbling over which IQ test. That's absurd. Our ps psych accepted the IQ testing, put it in his report, put the codes, signed, done. 

 

I'm sure there are schools that are that picky, but it's really such an easy problem to solve if it comes up. I would definitely defer to making a difference NOW when you're talking such a limited remaining window for doing interventions for SLDs.

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Ok, let's have fun with this. I don't know the answer (and the olympics are not interesting to me), so we'll just see. This is a major state university and let's see what they list in their Documentation Guidelines. My guess is what satisfies them will satisfy other state-funded universities in our state.

 

Documentation Guidelines : Disability Services

 

To translate that for our newbies... ETR=Evaluation Team Report, MFE=multi-factored eval. So this major state univ. will accept your previous IEP or 504, previous ps evals (ETR/MFE), etc. etc. They do NOT seem to be requiring IQ testing or any numbers at all. All they want is the diagnostic code and the signature on letterhead, boom done. Major state university.

 

Then you click for testing referrals for LD/ADHD, which btw I talked with one of the psychs who does that for this univ, and it's clinical psych, 2 hours, $850.

 

Anyways, that's really curious that they're pretty open-ended. They want all you've got, but they're not listing specifics.

 

Disability Services | Cedarville University Here's another univ that is popular and they don't list specifics either.

 

I'm looking at the website for my dd's univ, and they list the criteria for the documentation, but it's honestly pretty generic. (list of assessments, DSM code, recommendations, blah blah). They too don't give a rip what IQ test was used.

 

But, you know, I haven't talked with every school. I'm just saying I wouldn't put off testing out of fear, because you're going to get actionable information NOW that will change your lives NOW. IF your dc picks a school that has some additional hoops, it's a solvable problem, no biggee.

 

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These are from DS’s university:

 

Documentation must reflect the condition substantially limits a major life activity or major bodily function. ODS utilizes flexibility and discretion in determining how recent documentation must be, especially for conditions that are permanent or non-varying. Changing conditions and/or changes in how a condition impacts the individual may warrant more frequent updates.

 

Generally sufficient documentation includes: a psychological/psycho-educational evaluation or a letter from medical/mental health provider which includes the below numbered items.

 

1. Qualifications of Clinician/Provider: Documentation must be typed on office or practice letterhead, dated and signed by a professional who is licensed or certified in the area for which the diagnosis is made. Name, title, and license/certification credentials must be stated and shall not be family members or others with a close personal relationship to the individual.

 

2. Diagnosis & History: A diagnostic statement identifying the disability including ICD or DSM classification along with any relevant personal, psychosocial, medical, developmental and/or educational history.

 

3. Description of Diagnostic Methodology: A full description of the diagnostic methodology used, including data and measurements from appropriate evaluation instruments. The results obtained should draw a direct link to the diagnosis and the functional limitations of the disability. For cognitive disorders, evaluations should use adult norms.

 

4. Current Impact and Functional Limitations: A clear description of the current impact and functional limitations of the condition pertaining to the academic, workplace and/or residential settings. Information regarding if symptoms are constant or episodic, and the frequency and/or duration should be addressed.

 

Any treatments, medications, and/or assistive devices/services currently prescribed or in use, should include a description of the mediating effects and potential side effects from such treatments.

 

5. Recommendations: Recommendations should be directly linked to the impact or functional limitations associated with the disability, or medication prescribed to control symptoms and include a clear rationale based on level of impairment.

Note that #3 specifies evaluations for cognitive disorders should use adult norms.

 

It’s a large public university.

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See what's helpful there is that it says it upfront. The question it raises is whether it *is* required at other schools and they're just not listing it, or whether that's common in your state but maybe not another. I really don't have an answer for that. I think it's really super helpful to know it *can* be an issue, I'm just suggesting that it's not everywhere. And the op can go to prospective schools, put disability services into the search bar for the school, see what pops up, see what their requirements are. 

 

When I talked with psychs in our state, they all just said last 3 years. I think in our state, that is the norm.

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See what's helpful there is that it says it upfront. The question it raises is whether it *is* required at other schools and they're just not listing it, or whether that's common in your state but maybe not another. I really don't have an answer for that. I think it's really super helpful to know it *can* be an issue, I'm just suggesting that it's not everywhere. And the op can go to prospective schools, put disability services into the search bar for the school, see what pops up, see what their requirements are. 

 

When I talked with psychs in our state, they all just said last 3 years. I think in our state, that is the norm.

 

Oh, I don't disagree at all that it's not required everywhere. That's why in my earlier post I said "many (and maybe most)". 'Cause blanket statements rarely ever apply, and I certainly haven't checked most or even many schools' requirements. I didn't even remember that DS's specifically required that until I looked it up. But I do remember other people posting before that it is very common for updated/adult normed testing to be required, and I assumed they'd looked up the requirements for at least some. But you never know---it could be one of those internet rumors that got started and everybody assumes is true. Or it could be that seeking accommodations in upper education has become more common, they've realized it's often a big financial and time burden and many have relaxed their requirements. Who knows?

 

The problem is, of course, that it usually takes many months to get an evaluation done. So it's not like you can safely wait until your student decides where he/she wants to go and then find out the requirements and have time to have updated testing done if needed.

 

I don't know what I'd do if I were in Garga's shoes as far as getting it now to start working on areas I could versus waiting a bit "just in case" for adult norms. We were in a totally different scenario--I'd been about 95 percent certain since he was a toddler that DS was on the spectrum and I had a very good handle on his strengths and weaknesses. I just needed the official confirmation of what I already knew. But Garga, I don't know that I'd worry about timing of testing too much until I found out how long the wait is. Might be a moot point.

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This is my take with having my kids in public school..... transition planning (transition to adulthood) is supposed to be part of IEPs starting at around age 14. I would expect the local public school to be familiar with the *local* options that many kids would go on to, and know exactly what would be needed.

 

I wouldn’t expect them to know anything about non-local options. I also would not get my heart set on anything that was a couple of years down the road, because personnel changes happen and regulation changes happen. But within a year of starting I would expect them not to make changes go into effect until the following year.

 

Edit: what I mean here is that local options may be known to take less than is required, if they know who is making the recommendations. Or if the documentation they have is really sufficient without requiring the “required†paperwork. They may take just an IEP locally in certain cases, while requiring more on paper, so that they can ask for more if they have more questions. I see this kind of thing at times where they make their written guideline more strict, but have tons of leeway to “waive†it except for times when they really think it’s necessary. I don’t mean specifically I have sent his with a university, but just in general with things requiring testing I have seen it a lot. I also see a lot where a requirement is not met and they say “okay you can go ahead, but you need to show us proof you have an appointment scheduled, and we are flagging our computer system to expect the results from the appointment on this date.†I wouldn’t expect anyone to do this with zero documentation but I have seen it happen a lot with various things that have long wait times or are expensive, and they know people are on the waiting list or saving up money or trying to get on a different insurance that will cover some things. This is just reality sometimes and people who work with this kind of thing may be used to it and may be used to helping people change insurance so they can get testing, even. I wouldn’t assume anything like this, but I do think it’s possible.

 

I don’t know if you will want to go to a local option (or an option where many kids from the local school would go, even if it wasn’t local), but if you do, and if you do get an IEP or testing, then it’s possible to ask them about transition stuff and see if they are knowledgeable about it.

 

Locally I think schools can be better with transition issues than private providers because it’s something they are supposed to do, and because they have more of a long-term relationship with kids in some ways (depending on what staff is involved).

 

I would ask when you are setting it up, because it’s one of those things where maybe x person knows all about it, and y and z person don’t, so if you have y and z person at your meeting (or have evals with them) then you don’t get to talk to x person. But if you ask about it maybe they have you talk to x person, too. Schools can be really bad about not seeing from a parent’s perspective “obviously it would be helpful to the parent to talk to x person.â€

 

Edit: also just to make it seem potentially friendlier, offices like these often (not always, but often) will be more likely to hire people who have some personal experience or connection to someone who has needed accommodations. So there may be a parent or sibling who “gets it.†There may be a current student using accommodations working part-time in the office. There may be someone who graduated from college using accommodations and then got a job in the office. It’s not guaranteed or anything but it would be common for that to be desirable. And then even without a personal connection, people in an office like this are often friendly and helpful. There’s no reason to think they will be suspicious or just trying to deny you help, or think your son doesn’t deserve it. It’s possible, but understanding is a lot more likely I think.

 

Edit: another thing is that if it is a financial hardship, *sometimes* there will be things like a grant that can be applied for or an insurance program that can be applied for, to pay for testing. I have been offered paperwork for this kind of thing a few times. I think it’s something where if something is too expensive you just say it and see if they mention it, or if it’s mentioned in any paperwork you get. I wouldn’t expect this if all you need can be had through the local school district and your son hasn’t graduated yet (and is still eligible for testing through them). But it’s not uncommon for college students to be unable to afford $$$ and it’s also not uncommon for one parent to not work for reasons related to a child’s academic issues. My oldest is 12 so I haven’t been offered the grants/insurance wrt college, but I have heard of it for a local college as well, because some kids do show up and didn’t have the right stuff done at their old school before they graduated, and others are discovering issues for the first time during college, and so then they may need to pay for it, or not drop out of college while they are getting their ducks in a row. And it just depends, and certainly I think being organized and planning advance are much better, and having money available is also much better, but I don’t think it’s always going to be so cold and uncaring for those people who aren’t as organized, don’t come from as good of a school district, don’t have advocate parents, or don’t have money available. I think it’s harder and chancy, but I think often there is help available and people who are familiar with common scenarios that students run into. I think looking into it this early, even if it seems late to you, does make you one of the organized people ;)

Edited by Lecka

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The problem is, of course, that it usually takes many months to get an evaluation done. So it's not like you can safely wait until your student decides where he/she wants to go and then find out the requirements and have time to have updated testing done if needed.

 

Yeah, I'm not sure on stats. I don't know if it's many or most or some. 

 

As far as timing/speed, remember too that there's usually a gap of 6+ months between when you decide on your school and when you begin. You probably have narrowed it down to a list of schools a year prior to beginning in fact. So you'd have a pretty good sense a full year ahead of your top 10 options, and you would be visiting their disabilities services departments, checking them out, seeing what they offer, and you could ask them then what they require. That's what we did. Many people do those visits during their junior year or at least start that culling process.

 

So you'll have at least a year between when you find they have some particular hoops and when you actually need need the additional documentation. That's more than enough time to make it happen. 

 

ADA rights are federal rights and things people sue over. I really think colleges are going to be reluctant to put tons of hoops and make it seemingly impossible to get qualified. You'd just sue their butts. 

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Yeah, I'm not sure on stats. I don't know if it's many or most or some. 

 

As far as timing/speed, remember too that there's usually a gap of 6+ months between when you decide on your school and when you begin. You probably have narrowed it down to a list of schools a year prior to beginning in fact. So you'd have a pretty good sense a full year ahead of your top 10 options, and you would be visiting their disabilities services departments, checking them out, seeing what they offer, and you could ask them then what they require. That's what we did. Many people do those visits during their junior year or at least start that culling process.

 

So you'll have at least a year between when you find they have some particular hoops and when you actually need need the additional documentation. That's more than enough time to make it happen. 

 

ADA rights are federal rights and things people sue over. I really think colleges are going to be reluctant to put tons of hoops and make it seemingly impossible to get qualified. You'd just sue their butts. 

 

In our experience many kids don't have things narrowed down anywhere near to a year out. It's much more common to have kids still scrambling to decide a few weeks before application deadlines. Also, I'm not sure of the time frame that most universities want documentation. We sent DS's in around March of his senior year, right after he accepted. So about five months before his first class started. The impression we had from them was the earlier the better (although of course that's not surprising). I do remember that one reason we submitted his documentation so early was because we wanted him to have a private dorm room, and for housing it was absolutely imperative to get that request in early. Although of course for that usually what's needed is a letter from a medical doctor. We sent the whole shebang in at the same time just to make sure all the bases were covered.

 

I do agree that from what we've been able to tell they really do try to do all they can to accommodate students w/o creating unnecessary hoop jumping. At least so far we have absolutely no complaints in that regard.

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With IEP's, many kids have their triennial evaluations when they are multiples of age 3. My DD had them at 3, 6, and 9 and is scheduled to have them again at 12, 15, and 18. Now because her birthday is January and on top of that she repeated 2nd grade, she'll have that age 18 triennial as a high school junior. But some fall birthday kids could potentially be graduating at 17 with their most recent triennial at 15. I don't know how many students with IEP's graduate at 17 vs. 18+, but it's got to be >0. Are they supposed to pay for private evaluations at 16+ just to satisfy some bureaucrat?

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I think sometimes at least that comes up in transition planning and there are some options the parents and school can agree on.

Edited by Lecka

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Print out a copy of what you wrote here and take it with you to the appointment. They will ask you to describe orally what the problems are, but it helps me to have my thoughts written, so that I cover things thoroughly. You would tell them that you suspect slow processing and a reading disability and perhaps a writing disability or motor planning issue. If you go through the public school, an occupational therapist would be the one to evaluate the motor issues of the writing; if you go to a private psych, the psych will take note of that themselves. I mention this, because if you go through the school, you will have a form on which the school will check off all of the areas to evaluate, and you would want to make sure OT is checked. (If you decide to go through the public school, there are other things to know, and people on the boards can help you with tips, including how to request the evaluations, and what the process will be like, and what stumbling blocks to avoid, because schools can sometimes be tricky to deal with.)

 

This is from Storygirl's reply, and I wanted to bring something up that has changed in our state (and maybe others). Now, the forms are streamlined, and you do not have a chance to find out what categories they test and agree or disagree to each category. All evals are supposed to meet the standard for a multi-factored evaluation (which includes IQ). The problem with this is that if you don't know all the difficulties you could be dealing with (or referring teachers don't see it all, etc. in a school situation), then they might include only certain evals. On the positive side, if they are pretty sure they know what's up, they don't have to do a lot of extra testing. You REALLY want to be sure you put down every concern you can think of on that form. You might also want to google a bit and see what is typically included in an evaluation. 

 

I would want the tests they are going to run listed in writing if you go the public school route. I might also want included in the consent to evaluate form some kind of statement about running additional testing if the initial testing brings up issues that are unexpected by the family. I don't know if that is typical or possible, but you can always ask.

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Kbutton, how could they do that??? How are you supposed to know that they're agreeing to test all the areas??? 

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It has to be a multi-factored evaluation by law, and it was already something where the school could run some things and not others, it's just that now there is no pre-written list that makes a parent stop and go, "hmm." My guess is this streamlines things for the school. I personally think it stinks for the parents. That was the ONE place to slow the process down and be sure you are getting it right (not that parents really knew this).

 

I don't know whether all states had that on the consent form to begin with--each state has different forms. 

 

 

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That's how it sounds, that it's making it harder for parents to realize what's not getting done. Doesn't make sense that they would do that. And there's nasty legislation they're trying to put through changing the whole way education is administrated in Ohio (HB 512) that could affect us. Seems like the snakes and foxes are running things.

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