At Hear 2 Learn, our evaluators schedule their own evaluations. Although at times two evaluators may go out together, each evaluation is typically done individually. There are pros and cons to every evaluation approach, but we at Hear 2 Learn feel that the system we have in place allows us to get ‘multiple views’ of a child at different times of the day and possibly in different settings. Hear 2 Learn evaluators are also able to go to your home and/or your child’s educational setting to do evaluations. There are several pieces of the preschool evaluation which sometimes get confusing. Although your only concern may be that your child is not understood by others, your child will not receive JUST a speech and language evaluation. Here is why:
What New York State Requires
- Social History, including Health History - This allows the evaluators too look at how the child has developed and any possible medical conditions that may or may not be affecting the concerned area.
- Physical Examination - The state requires proof that your child has been seen by a doctor for a well visit in the past year. Without this, your child will not have a CPSE meeting to determine if services are approved. When you choose Hear 2 Learn as an evaluator, we will send a “Consent to Obtain Medical Records” form for you to sign. As soon as we receive it back, we will request these records from your child’s doctor, so you don’t have to worry about paying for copies or finding time to obtain them yourself.
- Psychological Evaluation - This evaluation is typically done by a School Psychologist and looks at the ability level of your child in the areas of cognitive, adaptive and social-emotional skills.
- Observation - Although all evaluators will have testing observations, the Psychologist will observe your child in his/her educational setting, if one exists. Many parents have concerns regarding an evaluator entering their child’s daycare or preschool classroom, but it is very important that this observation take place whenever possible. Preschools are given only when a deficit is impacting the child’s education. Often, this can’t be proven unless the observation in the educational setting takes place. If there is no educational setting (daycare or preschool) then the observation will take place at home.
- Evaluation in the Area of Concern - If you made a referral because you have concerns with your child’s gross motor skills, then a Physical Therapy evaluation will also occur. Likewise, if your concerns are regarding how your child follows directions and answers questions, a speech and language evaluation will occur.
How Testing is Done
Testing is typically conducted either at home or at daycare/preschool. At times, it may be necessary to do testing at the Hear 2 Learn office. Regardless of where testing takes place, information will be obtained through a variety of ways:
- Interview - Some information will be obtained via a paper interview through various types of questionnaires. Additional information will be obtained by asking questions of the parents, daycare providers and preschool teachers.
- Standardized Testing is used whenever possible. Depending on the discipline doing the evaluation, testing tasks could include pointing to picture tasks, labeling picture tasks, following directions with objects, stringing beads, writing letters or even throwing a ball.
- Play - Sometimes we just look like we are playing with the child…and we are! We can gain a lot of valuable information about a child via play based activities.
Reports, Results and Recommendations
Sometimes, evaluators may be able to share test results or even recommendations at the time of the evaluation. However, please take caution not to expect this. Scoring test results can be timely, some tests require computer programs and some testing requires detailed item analysis. It may not be till after all evaluations are completed that you find out test results and recommendations. This is because evaluators need to look at the whole child and not just their individual disciplines. Looking at the whole child allows the evaluation team to make the best recommendations and educational plan for your child.
You will receive a complete, multi-disciplinary evaluation report by mail a few days prior the CPSE meeting at your school district. In addition, the Psychologist that did your child’s evaluation will contact you prior to the CPSE meeting to go over the report with you and answer any questions you may have.
Something to note is, although our evaluators make recommendations that they feel are most appropriate for your child, they are just that, recommendations. No decision is made on these recommendations until the CPSE meeting. Because of this, you will always see the following at the end of our reports:
Please note: Although this evaluation report contains recommendations regarding services for your child, they are provided solely for consideration and discussion by the entire CPSE of which you, the parent, are a member. It is only at the CPSE meeting that the final Individual Education Program recommendations for your child are fully determined.
The CPSE Meeting
The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) Meeting can be an overwhelming and even scary time. There will be people there you don’t know and important decisions will be made on your child. Because of this, feel free to bring a friend with you. As the parent, you are allowed to bring anyone you wish to the meeting. There will always be a CPSE Chairperson at every meeting and there will always be a Hear 2 Learn evaluator, most often the Psychologist present. At times, the Hear 2 Learn evaluator may need to participate via phone, however we try very hard not to have that happen. Additional people who may be present are a county representative, a special education teacher, a regular education teacher and a parent representative.
The CPSE meeting will be where the decision on if your child gets services or not will be made, and if so, how much service will he/she receive. As a parent, YOU are also a member of this committee so don’t be afraid to speak up and share your questions and/or concerns.
After the CPSE Meeting
At the CPSE meeting one of two things will happen…your child WILL be approved for services or your child WILL NOT be approved for services.
Your Child WAS Approved for Services
If your child was approved for services, the CPSE will develop an IEP (Individualized Education Program). This is a paper document which includes what services your child will receive, where these services will take place (home, school, combination, in class, out of class, etc.) and who (what agency) will provide these services. Additionally, goals will be added to the IEP which are determined based on the needs of your child. Every few months (4 times during the school year) your child’s therapists will update the IEP with progress notes for each goal. This information should be shared with you.
If you know of a provider whom you wish to service your child, let the CPSE Chairperson know. She/he can check to see if that provider has availability to pick up your child for therapy. However, do not worry if you don’t know of a therapist. The CPSE Chairperson will find one for you. The therapist will contact you to determine a therapy schedule.
Please note, the agency chosen to do your child’s evaluation, Hear 2 Learn or any other agency, does not guarantee that the same agency has the availability to see your child for services.
Your Child WAS NOT Approved for Services
Not all children need services, but this does not mean that as parents, you still don’t have concerns. If they haven’t already, don’t be afraid to contact the evaluators for suggestions to work on at home. If concerns still exist after a few months have gone by, a re-evaluation can be requested.
Questions on the Preschool Evaluation Process?