5 Things That School Psychologists Need to Include in Special Education Evaluations
Are you the parent of a child with autism that will be evaluated shortly by your school district psychologist? Do you wonder what items need to be included in your child’s testing and in the psychological report to help determine your child’s educational needs? This article will discuss the 5 things that need to be included in special education evaluations and psychological reports to benefit your child’s education.
The psychological evaluation is important to determine if a child is eligible to receive special education services, and what educational services they require. That is why it is critical for parents to be involved in the process of determining what type of testing will be done. Below are 5 things that need to be included in a psychological report.
Item 1: Reason for the referral
This section should specifically state why the child is being referred for an evaluation. Academic difficulties, fine motor difficulties, behavioral difficulties, speech/language difficulties, sensory integration problems etc. This part of the report gives the reader a framework for the evaluation findings.
Item 2: Child history and background information
The psychologist needs to do a thorough history of the child to include a medical history and pre natal history.
This historical section should also contain a complete review of the child’s educational history and concluding with the child’s current placement.
Item 3: Child behavior during testing
Behavioral observations of the child during testing are critical to the entire psychological evaluation. It is not only important how the child tests in terms of scores but what does the child do during the process of the testing. Is the child able to attend to the testing, is the testing tedious for the child, is the child hyperactive or hypoactive etc.
Item 4: Test Results and Interpretations of Test Results
This section of the report is important because the test results are given and the results are also interpreted. This section of the report should also state whether the child is making educational progress and is benefiting from the specially designed educational instruction.
Item 5: Summary of Test Results and Recommendations for Intervention
This section of the psychological report has a summary of test results as well as recommendations for interventions. In my advocacy I rarely see recommendations for educational interventions in school psychology reports. But as a parent you have a right to ask for them if they are not in your child’s psychological report.
This section should also state whether the child is eligible for special education services or not. Many school psychologists are not even mentioning this in their psychological reports or are stating something like this; The child’s eligibility for special education will be determined by the IEP team. If your child’s report does not mention eligibility, bring it up at the IEP meeting. Also make sure that your child’s IEP has the box checked where it states that your child is eligible for special education services.
By understanding what 5 things should be in a school psychology report you will be able to bring up at an IEP meeting anything that was left out. This will help you to be an equal member of your child’s IEP team, and also help you advocate for your child.