Outrage is an emotion parents often feel when it comes to how they perceive their struggling child is ultimately handled/managed by the school.

Part of the outrage stems from a lack of understanding in terms of how the school operates when it comes to the issues of concern.

A parent may have sought an outside assessment by someone like a Dr. Selznick type, you know, a psychologist or other such professional, who has evaluated the child and indeed certified that the child does in fact have issues.

Perhaps this outside professional has even “diagnosed” the child with something like dyslexia, a learning disability, ADHD or some other such label or category.

Armed with the professional’s report, the parent expects the school to offer something like an IEP or perhaps a 504 Plan (they are very different).

Sometimes the school will offer a ready green light and comply with the recommendations offered in the report, but often the parent may get a yellow or even red light.

With the yellow and red lights, the “Outrage Quotient” (we’ll call it the “OQ”) rapidly rises.

It is important to understand the fundamental difference between an outside professional assessment and the school’s evaluation.

When an outside professional conducts an assessment, that practitioner’s primary responsibility is to answer – “Does my child have a problem and what should we do about it?”

That’s it.  That’s the primary job of the outside professional.

Frequently, in such an assessment the outside professional offers suggestions (recommendations) for the school, but again, the green, yellow or red light  follow depending on a range of different factors (too numerous to discuss now) at the school level.

Contrary to what parents believe a school assessment to be, these evaluations are governed by a different question than the one raised with the outside professional.

Different than the question of, “Does my child have a problem,” they have a totally different question behind their assessment.  Their central question is, “Is this child eligible for special education or not?”

Those are totally different questions.

Frustrating as that may be for parents to digest (yes I can feel the “OQ” rising), they are not asking the same question as the outside professional.

Listen to Kelli Sandman-Hurley in her wonderful book, “Dyslexia Advocate” discuss this issue:

“School districts do not diagnose anything.  They don’t diagnose ADHD, autism, dyslexia, nothing. It may seem as if they do because we tend to hear terms like ADHD and autism tossed around in meetings all the time, but they cannot diagnose those qualifying conditions either.  They can only determine eligibility under specific eligibility categories.

Or as noted in my book, “What To Do about Dyslexia: 25 Points for Parents:”

“In my experience it is not only possible but very common for a child to be diagnosed as dyslexic by a non-school professional but then found to be ineligible for special education services.  This is the case because special education assessment has one primary purpose, and that is to determine whether child is eligible for special education through the school.”

Takeaway Point

While it may not be something that sits well with you, by reflecting on this difference of question behind the assessment, it may help to turn down the “OQ” just a notch.

Copyright, 2019 www.shutdownlearner.com
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