Apple Psychological
(917)-526-0766 | 200 S Service Rd Suite 108 & 110A Roslyn Heights, NY 11577 | Boca Medical Plaza 7100 West Camino Real Suite 404 Boca Raton, FL 33433

When a parent is suspecting that their child has a Learning Disability, ADHD, or an emotional disability, they often receive the run-around from their school saying that the school is not equipped to diagnose or identify such disabilities. As a parent, this is highly upsetting and frustrating.

When our child is struggling we want answers.

However, it can be complicated and sometimes it feels like you’re being told different things by different people!

The challenge is that schools cannot diagnose learning disabilities, ADHD, or an emotional disorder.

Schools can identify risk factors, or obstacles that are getting in a child’s way of learning. Schools can also (often after a long period of implemented interventions), ultimately work through a testing process to determine whether students qualify for additional help but they cannot diagnose a specific disability.

Being identified with a learning disability, ADHD, or an emotional disability such as Anxiety or Depression is not the same as receiving help from the school.

It is possible for students to be clinically diagnosed with a particular disability and still not qualify for support through the school district. This is because schools are providing evaluations to determine whether or not the student’s performance is low enough (or if they are far enough behind) to get support provided through the school.

This does not mean that a child does not have a learning disability and this does not mean that a child wouldn’t benefit from support or intervention. It simply means that the student does not meet the criteria set in place by the school district to receive additional help.

As a parent, after doing some research, it seems reasonable to go to the school with concerns about a specific learning, attentional, or emotional disability and ask the school to test for the disability.

So, as a parent, you might ask the school to test your child for dyslexia, for example. Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects reading and writing skills.

However, schools cannot test for dyslexia. As a parent, it becomes frustrating because that is often the end of the conversation and you feel lost and confused as to what to do next.

The problem here is that we are talking about two different things.

Diagnosis of a learning disability, such as dyslexia, needs to come from a clinical psychologist, a speech-language pathologist, an educational diagnostician, or another similarly trained professional.

If you want the school to provide testing to see whether or not they can provide support or intervention for your struggling child, you need to ask for a different type of assessment.

If you want to know if the school can help your child and are less interested in a formal diagnostic assessment, you want to request a “Special Education Eligibility test” and you want to make this request in writing with a specific date included in your request letter because they have 60 calendar days following your formal consent for testing and request to complete the evaluation. They will ask you what your concerns are to determine what and how much testing to complete.

A special education eligibility evaluation should include measures of:

  • Cognitive Ability (General Intelligence/IQ) – Usually performed by the School Psychologist
  • Academic Performance (Reading, Writing, Math) – Usually performed by the Special Education Teacher
  • Language Ability – Usually performed by the Speech-Language Pathologist
  • Social/Emotional Functioning – Usually performed by the School Psychologist
  • Motor Functioning – Usually performed by an Occupational Therapist (OT)

Some of these tests might be the same tests as those used to diagnose a specific learning disability so if you decide to seek a private evaluation (outside of the school) and also a special education eligibility evaluation (through the school district) you want to make sure to let both parties know so that no assessments are repeated which can invalidate the results on the assessment.

What is the difference between a private psychological evaluation and a special education eligibility evaluation that I can receive through my school district?

  • Private evaluations often provide a more comprehensive assessment of an individual’s psychological functioning, including cognitive abilities, emotional well-being, behavioral issues, and any potential underlying mental health conditions. Private Evaluations CAN DIAGNOSE LEARNING DISABILITIES AND MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS.
  • Special education evaluations primarily focus on determining eligibility for services within the educational system and may not delve as deeply into all aspects of psychological functioning. School-based evaluations DO NOT DIAGNOSE LEARNING DISABILITIES OR MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS.

In summary, If you are looking for a clear, accurate clinical diagnosis which is able to tailor treatment, it is important to get a thorough private psychological evaluation to address the specific obstacles impacting your child.

If you have questions about the high quality, comprehensive psychological evaluation process at Apple Psychological, please visit our website HERE. Or Book a FREE consultation HERE or by call us at 917-526-0766.

In addition, Apple Psychological offers other Support for parents and teens. Find out more information and Register HERE or book a free consultation by Clicking Here