Whenever I do an assessment I know that in many ways I am swimming against the tide in my approach and perspective.
Hopelessly mired in identifying the the “soup-pot” of variables interacting, I rarely see things as one way or another.
Parents are typically focused on “the “diagnosis,” largely supported by the medical model. Such a model embodies a, “Yes, he has it,” or “No, he does not have it,” perspective. It is the belief held by many, that once one gets the diagnosis the treatment will logically follow.
While this may be true in real medicine, I wish things were that straightforward in my corner of the universe.
Apropos of that, a dad said to me recently, “Come on, Doc,” tell it to me straight. What’s he got,” as I wriggled in my chair trying to side-step his statement.
From my perspective, assessment should identify major areas of need and what should be done next, ideally guiding you on what I refer to as “next-step thinking.”
If you are having your child assessed more than a reductionistic diagnosis, important questions to ask include:
What are the identified strengths and the the areas of greatest need? How mild, moderate or severe are the areas of need? How much direct instruction (i.e., tutoring) is needed? What is realistic to expect from the school in terms of direct instruction? What type of accommodations would be helpful in addition to any direct instruction? If no direct instruction is offered by school, how do we deal with that?
Notice, the questions are focused on the practicality of the skill needs and the consideration (ratio) of direct instruction to support and accommodation.
Let me tell it to you straight.
Assessment drives “next-step thinking.” Ask the right questions!
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