Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Will You Need a Psychoeducational or Neuropsychological Evaluation | #T5Tue

Do you know the difference between 
Psychoeducational and a Neuropsychological Evaluation? 

If you have a special needs child who is about to start kindergarten in the Fall you may be thinking about the Turning 5 process. If you're not, then you should. Seriously, it's not too early. 

I believe that a parent should visit as many schools as possible. You want your child to have as many options available. And if you're even thinking about private school placement, then I strongly suggest you have your child privately evaluated. 

There are 2 types of evaluations: Psychoeducational and Neuropsychological.*

A Psychoeducational evaluation: is a "combination of psychological tests and educational assessments. The report, based on your child's test results, describes his/her strengths and weaknesses, gives appropriate recommendations for placement, and identifies strategies for assisting your child in an appropriate educational setting."   
A Neuropsychological evaluation: "includes both psychological and educational assessments as well as additional tests related to a child's executive functioning. Tests of executive functioning assess a child's skills in specific memory functioning, planning and organization, sustained attention, self-monitoring, fine motor skills, and/or behaviors." 

When we were going through the Turning 5 process, I took The Boy for a neuropsychological evaluation. Our evaluation cost us $6,000. Oh yeah, you read that right. We were lucky that I was able to get most of it covered by insurance (but I had to pay the neuropsychologist in full.)

Do not worry - you do not have to pay thousands of dollars for a private evaluation. They range from $500 - 10,000.  There are places that offer sliding scale fees. Some accept insurance - usually medicaid or a medicaid waiver. And sometimes - I'm not sure exactly how - but sometimes you can get your school district to pay for a private evaluation.

Honestly, I wasn't happy with the neuropsychologist. The report was okay but I thought the neuropsychologist was condescending, completely out of touch with our reality and a classist. And when the attorney I consulted with suggested an amendment to the evaluation, the neuropsychologist refused and questioned the quality of the attorney. So I wouldn't recommend that person. 

[side note: the following year when I was trying to apply for the medicaid waiver, I couldn't even use the neuropysch eval - I needed a psychoed. So just another thing to keep in mind.]

Whether you decide to have a Psychoeducational or Neuropsychological is more of a personal choice - you can apply to schools with either one. My suggestions are this: 

  • Shop around! Don't make the same mistake I did and go with the first one who returned your call.
  • Ask questions. Make sure whoever conducts your evaluation will make specific recommendations for your child. Make sure they will be willing and available to go to hearing - if it comes down to it. Make sure they are willing to cooperate with your attorney.
  • Talk to other parents and ask where their child was evaluated. Nothing beats a satisfied parent referral.      

Next Tuesday I will share suggestions on where to go for evaluations.

*Definitions of Evaluations are from A Parents' Guide to Special Education in New York City and the Metropolitan Area

Catch up with the #T5Tue Series: 
Last week's post: Finding the Appropriate School Placement 
and follow the #T5Tue series: More Tips for Turning 5 

Upcoming Reminders

10/16: Turning 5 FREE Talk

Location: The SMILE Center

171 Madison Avenue, 5th floor

RSVP: info@smileny.org

10/24:  Special Needs School Fair at the JCC in Manhattan. 
Register for the event - HERE.

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AutismWonderland - written by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez - is a personal blog chronicling a NYC family's journey with autism, while also sharing local resources for children/families with special needs.