Saturday, December 10, 2011

Preparing for an Evaluation?

Ava's evaluation is less than a week away. I'm beginning to think about how I need to prepare, if I need to prepare.

Some things are mundane. I need directions. I need to know what parking will be like. I need to figure out how long the drive will take given that I will be fighting rush hour traffic. I need to make sure someone can pick up Michael from school because Ava and I won't be done in time to get him. I need to pack a snack for her because we are supposed to be there all morning.

It is silly, but I want her to look nice. I need to pick a nice, but comfortable outfit. I need to allow enough time in the morning to feed her a good breakfast, dress her, and fix her hair.

And then there are the other considerations. Here in our state, in this district I've been told that the decision will be made that morning as to whether she qualifies. If she does, we will set up an IEP date that same day. I guess that means they plan to score all their tests and come to some kind of decision that same morning while Ava and I wait. If I want to be prepared to advocate for her, I need to be prepared to do so that same morning as the testing.

I'm not sure what that means exactly. I am going to write down my observations of her speech challenges at this time. I don't want to have to think under pressure. I want to be able to read off a list. Or perhaps just share that list with the team. I am thinking I should bring the ASHA position statement on Childhood Apraxia of Speech just in case. Oddly enough, I am having trouble thinking of other things that might be useful.

Does anyone have any suggestions? What should I bring with me to this evaluation/meeting? What should I be sure to think through ahead of time? What should I say/share? What should I not say/share? Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.


  1. We just went through thids process in November. I am also a teacher and have been through this process many times. On her evaluation day they wil complete all of the testing and you will be interviewed at length. Be prepared with a list of things that you think are important for them to know. Make sure you have copies of any reports you want them to see that have not already been sent. When the testing is finished they may have a pretty good idea of whether or not she qualifies for services or they may need more time. Ask for a copy of all of the testing results to be mailed to your home so you can review them with your private professionsals prior to the IEP. You don't have to sign anything that morning or make any decisions. Take your time reading documents so you are ready for the IEP meeting. The IEP meeting is really the time when you sell your case for services. Even if they have she'll only get such and such previously. If I remember correctly you are concenred she won't qualify. My apraxia son qualified under professionsal judgement and received 60 minutes a week. This is unheard of in our area. His receptive/expressive are normal. His OT scores were low normal since they only look at motor skills. He didn't qualify for preschool since it's only articulation. However, he is less than 20% intelligible by strangers so she said his articulation is so severe he needs an hour. I almost died of shock since I got what I wanted without any fight. Sometimes the meetings are easy! Good luck! Oh, and I made sure he was looking really cute too. Sarah

  2. Also, The complete IEP GUIDE on Amazon was helpful for remembering the nuiances of the process. One thing I had forgotten from my teaching days is the goals are supposed to be written with the parents as a team. They are by law not allowed to come to the meeting with IEP already written. Even at mine they showed up with it ready to be signed and I had to make them stop and go over each individual goal.

  3. Take as much as you can with you. Definitely take the ASHA position statement.

    Do as much of your own evaluation as you feel confident to do.

    You could definitely do a phonetic level analysis and have information about her phonetic inventory, syllable shapes, as well as phonological processes and their relative frequency. This is the type of analysis that they will probably not do if they are going to test her and give results on the same day. It's easy to get a productive speech sample but time consuming to do a complete phonetic analysis.

    You could also do some intelligibility ratings - record a sample of her speech and do a simple analysis where you put a check for every word you understand and a ? or - for the unintelligible words and get the % of intelligible words. Get some other people (dad, grandma, friend) to do the same so you have info about familiar vs unfamiliar listeners. I also like to Shriberg & Kwiatkowki's Percentage Consonants Correct scoring for an intelligibility rating.

    Also, if you can, find out what time they think the feedback meeting is going to be and have someone there with you to listen and take notes. I have found this to be incredibly helpful for my own medical appointments - there is so much emotion involved that you don't always hear what you need to hear or pay attention to something that may turn out to be critical.

    Good luck!


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