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The 5 Steps of Learning Disability Assessment

Unsure of how to register your child to have an IEP?

There are five main steps of the assessment process to accurately determine whether a child has a learning disability, including: pre-referral, referral, assessment for identification, initial assessment for instruction and the creation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Step 1) Pre-referral

The pre-referral stage is where the student’s education support team work together using systematic problem solving and collaborative consultation with special educators, to help identify any possibility of a learning disability.

Step 2) Referral stage

In this stage, professionals will establish whether the student is a valid candidate for special education services. If the decision to consider special education service is made, the child’s parents or guardians must be contacted to discuss the decision.

Once a parent consultation has been completed, the student should undergo a screening study that will be used to help identify and establish specific problem areas and contributory factors related to the possible learning disability.

Step 3) Assessment for Identification

Once it is decided that an official evaluation needs to be completed, various assessments are used to define the types of learning disabilities in question.

This stage is critical in the understanding of the specific nature of a learning disability, within the areas of oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading fluency skills, reading comprehension, mathematics calculation or mathematics problem solving.

Once these steps have been taken the team should write a report that outlines the specific learning disability and the reasoning behind it.

Step 4) Assessment for Instruction

In this phase, the student will be tested in the areas of academic skills, motor skills

and personal-social skills to determine which instructional paradigms will be most effective for them. This assessment will include tests on expectation factors, stimulus events, response types and subsequent events.

Step 5) IEP

At the end of the assessments, an IEP should be built based on the finding of the report. It must include the student’s performance levels, annual goals, the student’s progress and the manner in which the goals are approached. It must include the academic, social and emotional accommodations to help the student succeed.

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