Oct 23

Evaluations, Opinions and Experts, Oh My!


My last segment advised caution when selecting experts. Sarah Birnbaum, an excellent educational advisor in New York City, advises parents to ask evaluators about the age groups they work with and their familiarity with particular disorders. An evaluator’s experience and training are both important factors to consider in selecting the person who is going to write the report about your child. However, evaluators, i.e. doctors, neuropsychologists and other related service providers, are not qualified to state what legal vehicle would meet a child’s needs. I have seen medical and neuropsychological evaluations stating that a 504 plan would be sufficient to meet a child’s need! That’s like me, a lawyer, writing a report stating that a particular medication or treatment protocol should be used. When you privately pay for an evaluation, you will get to read the report before it is sent to the school district. If the report states that a 504 or an IEP is necessary to address the child’s needs, please talk to the evaluator and ask them to provide an honest narrative description of the type of learning environment the child needs and the types of related services, accommodations and supports that they, in their area of expertise, believe the child needs. If the evaluator suspects that there are other disabilities that warrant further investigation, their report should specify the additional evaluations that should be conducted by an expert qualified in that area.

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