Preschool Evaluation Process
The preschool process for evaluating children is slightly different depending on if the child is receiving Early Start services. Please see the buttons below to learn about the process of evaluation for children who are ages 3-5 and not attending school and for children who are receiving Early Start services.
Parents are a very important part of the evaluation process for preschool children. You are the expert on your child and you will be asked questions about how your child behaves, plays, talks, and interacts at home and in the community. Typically the parent comes to the assessment session(s) and stays during the session(s). Sessions are usually about an hour long depending on the child. The sessions are play-based and the assessor(s) (e.g., school psychologist, speech and language pathologist) play and interact with your child in order to learn about your child's skills in different areas. We will also ask you questions throughout the session and sometimes may have you join in play. At this age children learn and show what they know best through play. Sometimes we may attempt more "test-like" assessments where the child looks at pictures and says words or describes what they see. This is based on what the referral concerns are, the age of the child, and his/her current skill level.
School-Aged (K-8th Grade) Evaluation Process
The evaluation process for children attending school in kindergarten through 8th grade is different than the preschool evaluation process. The type of evaluation depends on the referral concerns, special education providers involved, and the student's current skill levels. The overall process of referral, assessing, and then meeting to discuss the results and determine if the child is eligible for special education is the same for each student, but the types of assessments and information collected may be different for each child. Please use the buttons below to see a flowchart of the process.
Each child who is going through the evaluation process is observed in his/her classroom or other settings at school such as during lunch and recess. The child may meet with different special education staff to complete tests/assessments. These tests and assessments are given to help understand what your child's skills are in specific areas and to determine if there is a disability. Tests are spread across multiple days because we do not want your child to miss too much instruction and because giving the tests all in one day is too much for children of any age. Breaks are taken during testing based on the child's needs. Testing is completed one-on-one where the child works with the special education provider in a quiet location without distractions.
A very important part of the evaluation process is parent involvement. You are the expert on your child. You will be asked questions about your child, the environment at home, and your concerns. You may also be asked to fill out questionnaires or rating scales. Rating scales are forms with statements or questions about what you see your child do at home or in the community. These help us gather more information on your child's strengths and needs and also allows us to compare what your child does to what is typically expected for a child his/her age.
Your child's teacher is also an important part of the process and will also be asked questions about his/her observations of your child at school. The teacher may also be asked to complete questionnaires or rating scales similar to the ones parents are asked to complete. These give us information on what the child does at school compared to what is typical for their age. The teacher may also be asked to provide examples of the child's work, tests, etc.