Diagnosis? While the term is associated with doctors and the medical profession, outside educational clinicians such as myself, can make an “educational diagnosis” beneficial for a child in school. An educational diagnosis does not equal a medical diagnosis, but the information discovered through educational assessments are invaluable for medical professionals, and at times significantly help support a medical diagnosis.
Educational Diagnostic Services, in Denver, Colorado
Let NAVIGATING EDUCATION assist with the following evaluations.
Parent Initiated Evaluations
Under the provisions of Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004) and Exceptional Children’s Educational Act (ECEA) all parents have the right to procure an educational/academic evaluation of their child’s current abilities to submit to their child’s school if they have specific concerns regarding their child’s academic performance. In choosing this option, parents and NAVIGATING EDUCATION will work together to understand the target areas of concern, and develop the best course of action for both child and family. Parents are requested to bring student work samples to the initial meeting, at which time either Assessment/Testing or Consultation services will be recommended.
Academic Performance Review
For parents who believe their child is academically advanced, or are not adequately being challenged in their school, an academic performance review can be conducted at NAVIGATING EDUCATION. This entails reviewing student work samples, assessment data given to parents, and meeting with a child. Upon completion of this meeting, either Assessment/Testing or Consultation services will be recommended.
Per Colorado education law, children are required to have their educational progress evaluated in every odd grade level, beginning in 3rd grade. These evaluations can be conducted at NAVIGATING EDUCATION through a portfolio evaluation and/or through formal educational assessment. As an educator with an active license in Colorado, endorsed in the areas of general education, special education, and instruction of children with cultural and linguistic differences, NAVIGATING EDUCATION Founder, Dara Prais, is both certified and highly qualified in the state of Colorado to evaluate a homeschooled child’s academic progress.
To complete a homeschool evaluation, parents choose a portfolio, formal assessment option, or combination of both. In addition to work samples and/or assessment data, both the child(ren) and homeschool parent are interviewed by Dara Prais in order for her to orient to each family’s educational perspective, to better understand the unique needs of each family, understand long term educational goals and aspirations, and to assess a child’s 21st Century competencies.
ASSESSMENT / TESTING
All assessments/testing are conducted and interpreted through the lens of, “how will this information benefit the child’s academic progress in school?” At NAVIGATING EDUCATION assessment/testing can be conducted in the form of screeners, subtest(s) from one or more assessment batteries, or entire assessment batteries. Screeners evaluate broad areas, take much less time, are helpful to rule out areas of concern, but cannot be used to diagnose. Formal assessments are very thorough, take more time to administer, and result in a detailed report. Assessments can be very exhausting for students; therefore the ultimate goal is to be as thorough as possible, without doing more than is necessary.
Academic assessments are also called tests of achievement since they determine what a child is currently able to achieve. These assessments evaluate a child’s reading, writing, and mathematical knowledge. These areas can be evaluated separately or in combination with each other. While some assessment batteries evaluate all three areas, at times it is also necessary to utilize additional assessments targeting specific areas only, to thoroughly understand where a child’s difficulty originates. These assessments are used to identify and educationally diagnose individuals with specific learning disabilities in the area of reading, writing, and/or mathematics.
Behavioral assessments can evaluate a child’s strengths and weakness in the areas of personal/adaptive skills, social skills, emotional functioning, and the degree to which behaviors are being internalizing and/or externalized. In conjunction with targeted cognitive assessments, these results are highly beneficial in identifying attention, hyperactivity, and executive functioning deficits.
Cognitive assessments are also called ability assessments because they aim to quantify one’s cognitive ability. I administer cognitive assessments for the purposes of evaluating general ability, nonverbal intelligence, and potential giftedness, specifically for culturally and linguistically diverse individuals.
Just like the name, consultation services support and assist families with NAVIGATING EDUCATION for their children. The goal with consultation is to partner with families. By providing a safe and welcoming environment, families can ask any question and trust that they are getting an accurate thorough answer that is individualized to their concerns, their child’s needs, and with an understanding of their child’s school and district. Families can voice any opinion without judgement, and receive support in navigating the nuances of individual schools or districts to help strengthen the family-school relationship.
- IEP Support and Document review
- Interpretation of Assessment Data
- Guidance for Culturally or Linguistically Diverse Families
- Consultation services and structures are individual to each client
For Low-Income Families...
Fact: Assessment services come with a very high cost, rendering them nearly or completely unattainable for some.
Fact: In partnership with private donors, I am excited to offer partial scholarships for:
- Hometown Heroes
- Military Members and Veterans
- First Responders: Police, Fire, EMT
- Medical Personnel: Nurses, Doctors
- Part- to Full-Time Non-Profit Employees
- Families Struggling with Major Life Events
- Parent: death, impactful diagnosis
- Sibling: death, impactful diagnosis
- Change in Family Status: separation, divorce, change in custody, parental imprisonment
- Financial status: recently laid off from work, guardians receive Social Security
- Federal Assistance Program Recipients
*Specific documentation required in order to qualify