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  1. #1
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    Default Should I cancel my private SLP evaluation appointment?

    Brevity is not my strong suit, but I’ll try to be brief.

    I have scheduled a private SLP evaluation for my child. This is because the current school based SLP is also doing an evaluation on my child and I believe the intention is to dismiss services. I don’t have a lot of trust or faith in the school system’s ability to determine and deliver what my child needs (I am a former special education teacher). I Believe this is caused by either bias (many felt my child had no real issues when we moved here) and and youth (not a seasoned professional, seems to be floundering a bit).

    I scheduled a full and comprehensive private SLP evaluation, not covered by my insurance ($350). The initial contact over the phone was pleasant and that individual seemed competent. This person initially said that they would contact me within 24 hours to schedule the evaluation. I was not contacted within 24 hours, but on the morning following the 24 hour period, I was informed that another member of the staff would be doing the evaluation and would contact me in the near future.

    The first contact from the new private SLP was an email (sent early in the day) stating that she didn’t have updated contact information and could I please send her my updated info. My initial contact info was correct, otherwise the office wouldn’t have been able to contact me. Later, she did call me and we were able to schedule the appointments.

    Yesterday, she emails me again because she couldn’t remember what days she scheduled me for. She stated that this was an embarrassing problem on her part. ETA: she emailed me confirmation of the dates and times for the evaluation after our phone conversation scheduling these. So, it should be in her sent items folder.

    Basically, I am not getting “competent” vibes from her based on our exchanges.

    My purpose in scheduling a private evaluation was to ensure that I had a complete picture of where my child is at SLP-wise. If the private evaluation says my child is doing fine, then I will be ok with letting the school based SLP drop services. If the private SLP evaluation shows items of concern, and if it’s something that could affect educational performance, then I would know what specific things I should advocate for for my child.

    If the private SLP evaluator is not competent, then I am completely wasting my money and time.

    Thoughts?

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Peaches Keane; 12-17-2021 at 12:28 PM.

  2. #2
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Is there anyone above the SLP you're scheduled with at this practice/site who could straighten things out? The last thing you want is useless information, especially when paying out of pocket and going to battle with school.

    DD had an absolutely useless eval in 2013 because the evaluator's report had ANOTHER CHILD'S INFORMATION in it (for which the evaluator blamed her technology, which, OK, a little fair bc I observed the tech-fails in the eval, but still not acceptable for final-report), so it was very difficult to disentangle my kid's info from the other kid's ... plus, the end result was "progress is within developmental parameters" and that simply wasn't true.

    If I could have rescheduled that one AND gotten our money back, I would have.

    In this case, I wouldn't cancel-cancel, but I would see if there's any way at all to book a session at another time with the evaluator you'd originally spoken with instead.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your reply. It is very helpful.

  4. #4
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default Should I cancel my private SLP evaluation appointment?

    School SLP here. Iíd call and discuss your concerns prior to the evaluation. I do see private clients after school through a friendís clinic so being given to someone else to evaluate is normal. However, if you have concerns, please discuss them.

    You should let the private evaluator and the school SLP know sheís being evaluated at school and at a private clinic. The assessments we use canít be given again within a certain time frame (how long that is depends on the test). If a test is repeated too soon, it invalidates the results and canít be used. They need to know so they donít give the same tests.

    The private evaluation can be shared with the school and the school is to consider it under IDEA. The school does not have to agree with the recommendations though. In private practice, I can recommend therapy if child scores below average, for most tests thatís a standard score below 85. In CA, Education Code is standard score of 76 - each state has different criteria. So a child can get private speech therapy and not qualify for it in the school setting. Or the private setting can recommend multiple hours of therapy a week, Iíve seen 5 hours a week on private reports. Thatís nearly an entire school day. Schools have to consider Least Restrictive Environment and missing 5 hours a week of instruction is very restrictive. My private clinic clients donít miss instructional time when they see me, they miss other extra curricular or hanging at home time. School setting is never going to recommend multiple hours as students are in school to be in class.

    Private clinic evaluations may not be more thorough than the school evaluation. Generally private clinic is a one shot evaluation. See a client for a session to evaluate and write the report. At school I assess multiple times over a 60 day period so I have more time to build rapport and give a variety of assessments. Most importantly, I get to observe the student in class and in unstructured playtime with peers. Private assessments donít get to do that. Students can behave differently at school than at home. I have multiple observations and interviews with staff stating child demonstrates X skills that parent says child isnít doing at home. I believe the parent - the question is ďwhy is the child not doing it at homeĒ, but Iíve had parents say the school staff are lying and child canít do it. Iíve read absolute waste of time private clinic reports saying child was non-verbal when child gave me 8+ word utterances. Child refused to cooperate with the private examiner. I have also read absolute waste of time school reports too. Not everyone is a good diagnostician.

    If you disagree with the school report and recommendations, you have the right to not sign the IEP and then go through a dispute resolution process. During that process the current IEP stays put. You can request an independent evaluation during this process. If itís granted, you donít get to decide on the evaluator though - usually the school district has list of private clinics they contract with for these and the school district pays. In my experience the independent evaluation has same findings as the school report, difference is usually in recommendations for frequency of therapy and goals to work on. While all of this takes months to sort out, the student is still seen under the last signed IEP for service time and goals. Iíve seen a student for 12+ months to work on a goal theyíve already achieved, but legally we canít work on new goals until the dispute is resolved. So theyíre missing class time to work on a goal that is no longer needed. So follow up in timely fashion with school to get things resolved, but this process does usually take a few months at least.

    Lastly, Iíll add if your child is working on articulation, it is very common for a child to be able to produce the sounds in conversation in the speech room, but not do it outside the speech room. Iíve had teachers tell me a studentís /r/ for example is still a /w/ until I go into the classroom and the child sees me, I donít say anything, and their speech has no sound errors. The teachers joke they want a picture of my face on a stick to hold up in class. At this point the child has learned the skills and more time with me isnít needed. They need to use it and the adults in their life (teacher, parent) need to remind them to do it. Incentives help here. I had a friend call me to say school SLP and teacher said her daughterís speech was intelligible, but it wasnít at home or when they ordered at a restaurant. The school SLP isnít going to her home or to the restaurant to remind their daughter to use the skills she had learned. Mom and dad have to do that.

    I myself had speech therapy for a lisp in elementary school and was dismissed as I knew how to correct it, I just didnít do it outside the speech room until I cared about it. Motivation is a huge factor - if a child doesnít want to work on it and doesnít care, it can be difficult to make progress, and theyíre missing class time for no benefit. Usually though thatís upper elementary and MS and HS kids with motivation. Plus there are successful people with lisps or distorted /r/, some things arenít really an issue that needs to be fixed if the person doesnít want them fixed.

    So this is long, but I hope it helps as you navigate this

    ETA: I reread your OP. you wrote you wouldnít agree to drop service if private SLP finds areas that ďcouldĒ impact educational performance. Educational Impact has to be observable now and not ďcould be an issue in the future.Ē We canít keep taking a child from instructional time for something that could impact them later on, as it could also not impact them later on. It must be impacting them now to warrant missing instructional time. We can always reassess again later if needed

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    Last edited by niccig; 12-20-2021 at 05:27 AM.

  5. #5
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default Should I cancel my private SLP evaluation appointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by lizzywednesday View Post
    Is there anyone above the SLP you're scheduled with at this practice/site who could straighten things out? The last thing you want is useless information, especially when paying out of pocket and going to battle with school.

    DD had an absolutely useless eval in 2013 because the evaluator's report had ANOTHER CHILD'S INFORMATION in it (for which the evaluator blamed her technology, which, OK, a little fair bc I observed the tech-fails in the eval, but still not acceptable for final-report), so it was very difficult to disentangle my kid's info from the other kid's ... plus, the end result was "progress is within developmental parameters" and that simply wasn't true.

    If I could have rescheduled that one AND gotten our money back, I would have.

    In this case, I wouldn't cancel-cancel, but I would see if there's any way at all to book a session at another time with the evaluator you'd originally spoken with instead.
    This is my worse nightmare to mess up reports. Iím assessing 20 students at the moment. You have to be very careful and be organized with protocols and writing the report to not mix up the names and information. You can always request the report be rewritten without errors. There shouldnít be errors like that. I still print out draft copies and edit on paper as I miss typos etc on the computer screen.


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  6. #6
    lizzywednesday is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by niccig View Post
    This is my worse nightmare to mess up reports. I’m assessing 20 students at the moment. You have to be very careful and be organized with protocols and writing the report to not mix up the names and information. You can always request the report be rewritten without errors. There shouldn’t be errors like that. I still print out draft copies and edit on paper as I miss typos etc on the computer screen.
    Honestly, the biggest issue from that eval was I was trying to juggle my dad's grief (his mother, Nana, had just died) and all the usual stuff I took on at the holidays, so asking for a rewritten report wasn't even on my radar - I was so overwhelmed! And I didn't realize I could have requested a new written report. I know differently now, but if I'd asked for a new report then, I may have been able to get DD more help, and earlier, than we ended up getting her.
    ==========================================
    Liz
    DD (3/2010)

    "Make mistakes! Get messy!" - Miss Frizzle

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the very thorough reply, niccig. A lot of it I am aware of as I used to be a special education teacher.

    My child has mild autism. There were also developmental speech delays. I believe there was/is some difficulty with articulation. I suspected receptive language issues in the past. At his last evaluation (a couple of years ago) I made mention of my concerns regarding receptive language in the evaluation planning meeting. At the meeting to discuss results, the SLP did not mention receptive language. When I inquired about the results on receptive language she flipped through her reports, found it, and says with surprise in her voice, “Oh, huh. Yeah, he does show some receptive language difficulties. He did score lower than average on that section.”

    I can’t remember what goals were set back then. I’m not sure it matters because multiple times his teachers sent home reports with “No data taken on this goal”. That’s a BIG NO NO where I am from.

    In more recent times, the SLP seems to have focused on the autism diagnosis and works on “conversational skills”. Our other child (16 months junior to the child with autism) is a chatterbox and is the best therapy ever. I’m not certain that conversational skills have ever been a problem. The current questionnaire sent by the SLP asks a bunch of autism related questions. It doesn’t state that it’s an “autism evaluation”, but it is.

    I don’t like the current goals, so I am not going to drag them out a year. I just want an evaluation that takes MY unique child into real consideration. I don’t want him compared to “other autistic children”. I want him compared to his non disabled, same age peers, which is what the evaluation is SUPPOSED to do.

    When I talked about items that “could” impact educational performance, I meant in the present time. Items to discuss with the school, at the meeting. Just because something “can” impact performance, doesn’t mean it “is”.

  8. #8
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default Should I cancel my private SLP evaluation appointment?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peaches Keane View Post
    Thanks for the very thorough reply, niccig. A lot of it I am aware of as I used to be a special education teacher.

    My child has mild autism. There were also developmental speech delays. I believe there was/is some difficulty with articulation. I suspected receptive language issues in the past. At his last evaluation (a couple of years ago) I made mention of my concerns regarding receptive language in the evaluation planning meeting. At the meeting to discuss results, the SLP did not mention receptive language. When I inquired about the results on receptive language she flipped through her reports, found it, and says with surprise in her voice, ďOh, huh. Yeah, he does show some receptive language difficulties. He did score lower than average on that section.Ē

    I canít remember what goals were set back then. Iím not sure it matters because multiple times his teachers sent home reports with ďNo data taken on this goalĒ. Thatís a BIG NO NO where I am from.

    In more recent times, the SLP seems to have focused on the autism diagnosis and works on ďconversational skillsĒ. Our other child (16 months junior to the child with autism) is a chatterbox and is the best therapy ever. Iím not certain that conversational skills have ever been a problem. The current questionnaire sent by the SLP asks a bunch of autism related questions. It doesnít state that itís an ďautism evaluationĒ, but it is.

    I donít like the current goals, so I am not going to drag them out a year. I just want an evaluation that takes MY unique child into real consideration. I donít want him compared to ďother autistic childrenĒ. I want him compared to his non disabled, same age peers, which is what the evaluation is SUPPOSED to do.

    When I talked about items that ďcouldĒ impact educational performance, I meant in the present time. Items to discuss with the school, at the meeting. Just because something ďcanĒ impact performance, doesnít mean it ďisĒ.
    Iím not sure youíll get what you want from a private evaluation unless theyíll meet a few times and itíll depend on experience of the evaluator and what tests theyíll administer. Due to time constraints, some private clinics only have 1 session and you canít always get a comprehensive evaluation in that time. Theyíll administer 1 comprehensive test, but often the standardized test doesnít give you enough information and informal tasks can be more informative. Observations in class and with peers are crucial and private clinics donít do that. It depends on the child. I have some students one session wouldnít give me anywhere near the information I need. Evaluations are a snap shot, but several snapshots (several sessions in a variety of settings)give a better overall picture.

    If you disagree with school IEP recommendations, definitely use the avenues to disagree. You can also ask for the school reportís before the meeting so you can read it ahead of time. I think itís too much information presented at a meeting to take it all in, especially if other providers are also evaluating (school psych, OT etc).


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    Last edited by niccig; 12-20-2021 at 07:39 PM.

  9. #9
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    Thank you again for all the information you are providing. I can tell that you really know your stuff.

    An update (of sorts).

    After discussing the situation with my husband, we decided to go ahead with the private evaluation. The first part was today. Due to Covid restrictions, I could not go inside. I don’t mind, as I think DS would be nervous in my presence. I stressed to him that this was an evaluation to see where he is at at this point in time. That there may be easy stuff to do, regular stuff to do, and there may be stuff that’s really hard to do. I told him that the point is to find out what he CAN and CANNOT do and not to freak out if there was something he couldn’t do.

    The SLP seemed a lot more professional in person. Everything else is closed for the holiday. They opened the office just for us. I went in to pay the bill after DS came out. I passed the room where the evaluation was conducted and it looks like they did a lot and had fun doing it, too.

    DS has been in an excellent and buoyant mood since then, so he must have enjoyed the process. This may not be very “awesome advocate mom” of me, but at this point, his joy translates into my happiness. We go back on Wednesday to complete the evaluation. Of course, I still hope to get a useful report.

    We shall see how it goes.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peaches Keane View Post
    Thank you again for all the information you are providing. I can tell that you really know your stuff.

    An update (of sorts).

    After discussing the situation with my husband, we decided to go ahead with the private evaluation. The first part was today. Due to Covid restrictions, I could not go inside. I donít mind, as I think DS would be nervous in my presence. I stressed to him that this was an evaluation to see where he is at at this point in time. That there may be easy stuff to do, regular stuff to do, and there may be stuff thatís really hard to do. I told him that the point is to find out what he CAN and CANNOT do and not to freak out if there was something he couldnít do.

    The SLP seemed a lot more professional in person. Everything else is closed for the holiday. They opened the office just for us. I went in to pay the bill after DS came out. I passed the room where the evaluation was conducted and it looks like they did a lot and had fun doing it, too.

    DS has been in an excellent and buoyant mood since then, so he must have enjoyed the process. This may not be very ďawesome advocate momĒ of me, but at this point, his joy translates into my happiness. We go back on Wednesday to complete the evaluation. Of course, I still hope to get a useful report.

    We shall see how it goes.

    Thanks again!
    Good that itís more than one assessment session. Sounds like you DS establish rapport with the examiner. I hope you get what you need from the report


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