Synopsis: Do you have a child with autism or a learning disability that will be receiving special education testing from your school psychologist.
Would you like to know what areas should be covered, as well as a small list of tests, that may help determine your child's educational needs? Then this article is for you, because it will be discussing areas that children in special education need to be tested in, and particular tests that you could ask for.
Area 1 and test recommendations: Occupational Therapy: A VMI should be done on any child with fine motor issues. VMI stands for Visual Motor Integration and deals with eye hand coordination. A Bender Gestalt Visual-Motor Integration test or the Developmental Test of Visual-Motor Integration could be used.
Also if your child has issues with sensory integration they should receive a Sensory Integration Praxis Test by a qualified Occupational Therapist who has successfully completed a USC/WPS Comprehensive Program on Sensory Integration.
Many school OT's are not specifically trained in the area of sensory integration, and cannot make a diagnosis of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. If you are offered a sensory profile for your child, say no and ask for a SIPT test by a qualified Occupational Therapist. The sensory profile is for screening only not as a diagnostic tool.
Area 2 and Test Recommendations: Speech and Language: CELF test is the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals and tests the child in all areas of language development. The areas of Receptive, Expressive, Language Structure, and memory are tested. The Goldman Fristoe test is used for articulation. Make sure that your child's language ability is tested not just their speech ability. Lack of language can affect your child's ability to learn to read.
Area 3 and Test Recommendations: Central Auditory Processing Disorder can affect children's ability to learn to read. The Reading Reflex can be used to determine an auditory processing deficit. The TOVA can also be used to help diagnose a central auditory processing disorder.
Area 4 and Test Recommendations: Testing for Dyslexia. Many children who struggle with reading have undiagnosed Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. Dyslexia results from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to the child's ability.
The CTOPP which is the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing can be used in this area. This test assesses phonological awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming.
Other areas to be tested include letter knowledge, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and spelling. For these the Reading Comprehension subtest of the Wechler Individual Achievement Test could be used.
Area 5 and Test Recommendations: Every child with a disability should be tested for adaptive skills and functional skills. Many school districts us a Vineland to test for adaptive skills, which is appropriate for younger children. For older children over 11, I would recommend the Scale of Independent Behavior because it addresses adaptive areas, that apply to older children including job readiness.
The tests mentioned in this article are only recommendations. Check on the internet for other tests that may test the same areas. An independent evaluator can also help in this area, as they probably will be aware of different types of testing. Stand up for your child and make sure that every area of educational need is tested and educational services offered.
Reference: JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to: www.disabilitydeception.com