Is your child being assessed properly?

Every child should be individually assessed to monitor development, identify basic personality and learning styles, plan suitable instructional and motivational strategies and environments, and to detect learning or emotional problems for early and effective remediation.

Learning and developmental disorders afflict nearly 20% of the school-aged population.

Generally, children (or adults) are assessed only when there is a perceived crisis or when symptoms are manifest that perplex others. Parents don't know where to turn, and are confused about how to get children assessed and what the results mean. Parents can get their children tested for free by the public schools. California Education Law mandates individual assessment under certain conditions. However, parents need to know their rights and how to navigate the system to get timely and appropriate attention for their children.

Over the course of his 35-year practice, Dr. Steinberg has administered over 35,000 evaluation and treatment procedures.

What is the difference between testing and assessment?
Assessment is a time-limited, formal process that collects clinical information from many sources in order to reach a diagnosis, to make a prognosis, to render hypotheses about the person's condition, and to determine instructional and other interventions. Although it includes "tests", assessment is a broader process that integrates numerous measurements with professional clinical interpretation specific to an individual. Assessment may result in diagnoses, but its greater goal is to identify combinations and interactions of strengths and weaknesses in aspects of human functioning that have particular relevance to learning and problem-solving (both academically and interpersonally).

Your child should be individually assessed..
>> Individually administered tests are more precise and specific.
>> Individually administered tests are more valid and reliable.
>> Individually administered assessment includes clinical observation and interpretation.

An assessment should comprise a battery of tests, each of which contributes specific information and supportive confirmation along with the other tests.

This is a highly reliable science with nearly a hundred years of research and validation.

Why should my child be assessed?
A good assessment is a roadmap to your child's development, learning style, cognitive strengths and weaknesses, achievement, social skills, and problem-solving ability.

Assessment can alert you to problems so you can intervene in a timely and effective manner.

Assessment will guide you in setting realistic expectations and making prudent choices for your child.

Good assessment yields the following:
>> Intellectual capacity for school.
>> An equating of school achievement with intellectual potentials.
>> An alert to reading, spelling, arithmetic, listening, language, memory, or writing problems.
>> Measurement of perceptual-motor capacity.
>> Discovery of dominant learning modality - auditory, visual-spatial, kinesthetic, mixed.
>> Determination of developmental grade level and discrepancies in standard score terms.
>> Insight into cognitive style - convergent and divergent.
>> Assessment of factors affecting development, family/peer adjustment, and school performance - self-esteem, motivation, anxiety, depression, anger, and other emotional indicators.
>> An alert to developing attitude problems and contribution of stressors.
>> Identification of temperament, interpersonal strengths and weaknesses, and influences on learning.

How can I get the schools to properly assess my child?

Make requests in writing.

Know the law, as it pertains to identification and assessment of special needs and education in the least restrictive environment (PL94-142).

Contact the appropriate personnel.

Monitor the legally mandated timelines.

Insist upon due process procedures.

Consult a knowledgeable advocate. Know your rights.

How can I understand and use the assessment results?
Request a down-to-earth interpretation from each professional who administered tests and assessment procedures.

Study the results, ask questions, and be assertive in requesting clarification in subsequent meetings. Test results are difficult for the lay person to understand. However, it is your right to clear and repeated explanations.

Ask for a second opinion. This is not necessarily a repetition of the tests, but may involve and interpretation from another professional.

Make sure that the assessment includes practical recommendations.
>> School placements and services
>> Strategies at home
>> Reasonable expectations and predictions
>> Remedial interventions (educational, medical, etc.)
>> Link the purpose and necessity of recommendations with the assessment findings.
>> Specify who will implement the recommendations, under what conditions, and for how long.

About Dr. Mark Steinberg:
Dr. Mark Steinberg has worked with children, adolescents, and adults for over 33 years. He is a licensed Psychologist and Educational Psychologist who remediates and heals attentional, behavioral, emotional, and learning difficulties.

Mark Steinberg, Ph.D. & Assoc.
14601 S. Bascom Ave., Suite 250
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-1002

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