Laws state that every child should be offered the opportunity to learn on his or her own level, if they can’t keep up with a particular classroom. That doesn’t mean that your child is a special needs child or that he or she will be removed from the classroom and put in special classes. Although that is sometimes the case, in many other instances, the child simply needs extra help.
You have a right, as a parent, to ask the school to evaluate your child if he or she seems to struggle in school or in just one class. On the other hand, if a teacher notices that your child simply can’t keep up with the others, the school may ask your permission to evaluate. You don’t need to worry about cost – it will not be on you to pay for the evaluation.
There are many aspects to the testing that will be done. You will help evaluate your child and so will the teachers, a child psychologist, or other specialists. The group will likely include a special education teacher, a school administrator, and can include professionals like speech therapists or occupational therapists.
The group will examine your child’s school file as well as recent scores on papers and tests. The evaluation usually includes observations by professionals, your child’s medial history, and the child’s behavior outside of school.
Some things your child may be tested for include how well he or she speaks and comprehends, how well the child adapts to changes, what achievements in school the child has, achievements outside of school settings, the child’s aptitude, the child’s level of functioning with things like thinking, learning and hearing, and any special problems your child has, such as an unusual fear of something uncommon.
It’s the law that the child must be tested in his first language, regardless of what that is. Spanish-speaking children will take the test in Spanish, for example. The child cannot be discriminated against because he is from a different cultural background. Not just anyone can give the tests – they must be given by someone trained in giving that particular test.
After all testing is done you and the others will decide what is best for your child from now on. It could be that your child needs a setting where he can work at his own pace, such as a “special ed” class. Or, your child may benefit more from an after-class tutor who helps him or her with one particular area of study. Or, it’s possible that your child simply needs glasses and has been struggling in school without them.
Special education classes aren’t necessarily forever. Some children enter the classes, improve rapidly, and are put back in regular classes with their former classmates. Others only need the special classes for certain subjects.
Many parents, after evaluation, are upset and unwilling to cooperate with special class placement for the child. Although it’s never easy to admit your child has a learning disorder, it’s direly important to choose the best thing for your child. You have a right to receive a copy of the evaluation and to confer with a professional of your own choosing, concerning your child’s evaluation. Upon doing so, make the decision that is right for your child. It may not be easy but it is necessary if you want your child to do as well as possible in life.