There’s always that point in the assessment process that I know is coming that frequently gives me an anticipatory, somewhat squeamish feeling. Let’s call it, “The final chapter.”
(Underself immediately jumps in responding to Self: “Really? After, at least 9, 995 assessments that you’ve done, you still get squeamish? What’s that about?”)
“If you would just stop yapping,” I tell Underself, “I will explain it to you.”
I continue talking to Underself. “After I’ve gone through all of the data explaining things in straightforward ways so parents will ‘get it,’ there’s always the looming question, ‘OK, so, what’s next? What do we do about it?’ It’s that question that makes me a bit uneasy?
(Underself yaps again raising the volume: “You can’t answer that???? Are you serious?)
“Look, Underself, it’s easy for you to just sit there all the time constantly criticizing, but the fact is that parents have lots of preconceived ideas about what follows after an assessment, and many of these ideas are not grounded in the reality of the way it works in the schools.”
(Underself impatiently foot tapping: “I’m waiting…go on”)
“Look. Let’s take a child evaluated recently, Marty, age 8, a third grader. He’s not on the school’s radar screen at this point. He’s not classified. There’s no IEP or specialized intervention taking place. But, when I evaluate him, he has significant reading, spelling and writing issues. His struggling is clear.”
(Underself: “So, what’s the problem? What did you recommend?”)
“Well, here’s where it gets squeamish for me, because I know what he needs in ideal terms, but the ideal is rarely to never a reality. Trying to explain that to parents makes me want to reach for the Tums.”
(Underself: “Look. This isn’t therapy. Just tell me what he needs.”)
“Ideally, he needs structured, focused multisensory type of instruction that is well-supported in the research. Short of that, small group instruction (no more than three kids) would be ok using the same methods.”
(Underself: “So, just tell that to the parents. What’s your problem?”)
“I told you before. This kid is not even classified – he has no IEP. Even if he did have one, typically these things being recommended are not offered at the level that I am recommending.”
(Underself: “So, what do they offer?)
“Usually after a child gets an IEP they offer what is called ‘In-Class Support,’ but that’s like putting a lifeguard in the pool so the kid doesn’t drown. It doesn’t teach him to swim.”
(Underself: “I think you need to gobble some more Tums.”)
“Ok, Underself. I’ve had enough of you… the parents are in the waiting room and I need to tell them what I recommend. I just need you to stop yapping while I talk to them,” as I go out and face my sense of uneasiness.
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