Questions to ask specialists who evaluate for learning disabilities

If you want to have your child privately tested for a learning disability, here are some key questions to ask the specialists you're considering.

By GreatSchools Staff

Hiring a private specialist to conduct a psychoeducational evaluation of your child is a big commitment of time, effort, and money. To find someone competent, ask other parents or school staff for their recommendations. You'll probably want to interview more than one specialist before choosing the person who will work with your child. If you get a recommendation from someone outside the school, make sure the private evaluator has the qualifications and/or credentials your state or district requires.

Before hiring a specialist to conduct psychoeducational testing, you will want to interview her about her professional qualifications, procedures, and fees. The responses will allow you to screen a prospective specialist to see whether you feel comfortable with her, and to discover any potential "mismatches" with your child's needs. The conversation can also help you prepare your child for the evaluation process.

You'll be better prepared to interview an evaluation specialist if you have some background information on evaluation for special education eligibility and/or learning disabilities. The articles below provide that information, and may also help you determine your specific expectations and goals for the evaluation.

In order to get the most benefit from your initial conversation with a psychoeducational evaluation specialist, you'll want to have a good basic understanding about why and how evaluations for learning disabilities are conducted — and how to understand the results. We highly recommend that you read or review one or more of the following articles before you interview a prospective assessment specialist: Evaluation: An Overview; Understanding the Results of Psychoeducational Testing; and IDEA 2004 Close Up: Specific Learning Disabilities Evaluation and Eligibility

Before: questions to ask yourself

During: questions to ask a prospective evaluation specialist

After: review and follow-up questions about the evaluation report