Do you suspect that your child may have a disability such as Autism? Are you in the process of setting up a school evaluation for your child? This article is for you and will discuss 10 parenting tips that will help you before your child is evaluated.
1. Do not depend on
special educators to diagnose your child's autism, or other types of
disabilities. Many school administrators put pressure on school
psychologists, not to find children eligible for special education under
the category of autism (this could be related to the cost of the
services, or other issues not known by the parents), as well as other
types of disabilities such as specific learning disabilities (SLD).
If you suspect a disability of any type, you need to take your child
for an independent educational evaluation (IEE), with a qualified
evaluator, not in your school district. I would recommend a clinical
psychologist or a neuropsychologist. By doing this you are increasing
your child's chances of receiving an appropriate evaluation, and in
determining specifically what services your child needs to receive an
3. Ask other parents of children with
disabilities if they know any evaluators that are parent and child
friendly, complete comprehensive testing, write whether a child is
eligible for special education, and writes very specific recommendations
for services that a child needs!
4. If you do decide to allow
your district to evaluate your child, you do not have to "consent" to
all testing that the school wants to do. Some school personnel will
recommend testing in areas of strength and not of weakness; if you
believe this is happening to your child, tell them that you will not
"consent" to testing in that specific area.
5. If the school
wants to do an autism rating scale, I would recommend the (CARS), which
is the Childhood Autism Rating Scale. This scale is easy to fill out and
very accurate. Be careful that you tell the school psychologist that
you will be filling out the scale and not school personnel. I have seen
many times where the rating scale states the child does not have Autism,
and I find out that the scale was filled out by special educators-do
not agree to this!
6. Rating scales are often used in other areas
also such as adaptive behavior; again make sure that you are filling out
the scale, and not school personnel (or the results are probably not
7. When you sign the consent form make sure that you
are asking for all testing reports at least ten days before the
eligibility meeting; or you will be postponing the meeting.
you took your child for an IEE, you will send the report to the school
before the eligibility meeting (also make arrangements for the
independent evaluator to participate in the meeting, but this can be
done by telephone)
9. Try to see if you can find an experienced
advocate or an experienced parent to attend the meeting with you. The
eligibility meeting can be overwhelming, it will benefit you if you have
someone who understands the special education process go with you.
During the eligibility meeting ask lots of questions, especially about
terminology that you do not understand. If your child is found
ineligible (despite the school's testing or the IEE), make sure that
your disagreement with this decision is written into the paperwork. Your
options are to "obtain" an IEE at public expense if the school
evaluated your child (and you disagree with the evaluation), or if you
have an IEE that the school refuses to "consider" you may have to file
for a due process hearing.