Federal law mandates that public school districts identify students who may require additional support or special programming. The first step in this process would be an evaluation at no cost to the family. Parents have the right to request that the school district administer a comprehensive evaluation to determine whether their child has needs that may require support services and/or special education programming.
It’s important to note here the distinction between the scope of the evaluation administered by the school district and an independent evaluation at the parent’s cost. The keyword for the purpose of this discussion is “comprehensive.”
A psychoeducational evaluation, administered by the school district, will provide examination and assessment of the mental processes underlying the child’s educational performance. It can generally be completed in one or two sessions. It will NOT include a diagnosis. Results will be discussed at an IEP meeting or Annual Review.
An “independent” neuropsychological evaluation will provide a close examination of the many areas of the child’s development including attention, memory, language, social/emotional, cognitive and behavioral functioning. This evaluation will also include a diagnosis. An independent evaluation, secured by the parent, will generally require no less than four visits including the initial intake and subsequent feedback meetings with the parent. An independent evaluation, however, can easily cost upwards of $5,000 at the parent’s expense.
It is also important to note that, although the independent evaluation will include a diagnosis, as well as specific recommendations including instructional methodologies, program and class size, behavioral interventions, and related service supports, the public school district is not mandated to recognize and provide these recommendations.
There are some providers or local organizations who will accept insurance, operate on a sliding scale basis, or administer a thorough and comprehensive evaluation at no cost for eligible families.
If you are interested in how we can support your family through this journey, contact us now for a complimentary, introductory phone consultation.