Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Working with Schools

We often speak about our work with students and with families. But we also work with schools, in a number of different ways.

For most students we see, an important step even before we begin our evaluation process is to review information that has been prepared in the past by the school, generally IEPs and report cards. Then, we ask parents to provide the school/teacher(s) with several questionnaires (some proprietary and some standardized) dealing with academic and behavior issues. These are designed to give us a better sense of how a child is doing in school. It is important to keep in mind that some families prefer not to involve their child's school in the assessment process, at least not at this point. Although information from the school is very helpful, we understand and respect parents' preferences when they want to move ahead without letting their school know they are having their child assessed.

Sometimes, especially for very young students, there are reasons to visit a student's classroom for an observation as part of the assessment process. The findings of this visit are included as part of the information we use when creating the student's profile and preparing our report of our findings and recommendations.

Once the assessment is finished and our finalized report has been prepared, we generally speak to the school (in a conference call that includes the parents) about our findings. This call is included in our assessment fee and is done at no additional charge. If the family will be seeking -- or revising -- an IEP, we can arrange to have Dr. Yellin join the meeting by phone to explain our findings and recommendations. We have found this to be a very effective way for the school to understand what we have learned about the student and what strategies, services, supports, and accommodations we recommend.
Sometimes, our work with a school will begin when the school reaches out to us to ask us to evaluate a specific student, or when parents tell us that their school has urged them to come to us with their child who has been struggling.

We also go into schools -- and school districts -- to do professional development and to speak to parent groups. We have several talks to parent groups scheduled for March and April. Check our calendar in the next couple of weeks for full details. Dr. Yellin will speak to local parent groups at no charge.

Finally, our evaluations include an advocacy consultation with our attorney Susan Yellin, Esq., where appropriate. That consultation often includes suggestions for schools that may be a good fit for a particular student. Both Dr. and Mrs. Yellin regularly visit schools in the region and are familiar with many programs that will work well for the students we see.

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