Is it Ok to Postpone a Reevaluation?

Question

How often should you reevaluate your child with dyslexia? Our school recommends every three years but wants to postpone reevaluation for our 6th grader until 7th or 8th grade.

Anonymous

Basking Ridge, NJ


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Michael S. Cohen, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Cohen is a board certified licensed psychologist who specializes in neuropsychological and clinical rehabilitation psychology services for children, adults, and elders. In addition, Dr. Cohen provides consultation services for families with special needs and consultation services to regional school districts.

This is an excellent question, and not just for parents of children with dyslexia, but for any parent with a child in special education.

A complete reevaluation for a student with dyslexia should include at least both intelligence/cognitive testing and academic achievement testing. Plus, at your child’s age, a reevaluation should also include working memory, auditory processing, and executive-function assessments. As such, a Triennial Examination becomes an extensive endeavor for a child and the family.

It is okay to postpone retesting under the following circumstances:

  • The school district is going to maintain current special education services or increase services and not dismiss your child from special education
  • If there are no new questions related to his/her learning disability or developmental status in general.

It is appropriate to request the special education triennial evaluation for any of the following reasons:

  • You or the school district have new learning disability or other diagnostic questions (e.g., is the child progressing in math or written expression age/grade appropriately? Does the child have an Attention Disorder?)
  • There are questions about the academic services the child is receiving (should a particular service be added or removed from the IEP?)
  • The special education program is not adequately advancing your child’s academic development.

I think you are generally ok in this instance to wait. If you or the district choose to reevaluate it is important to select appropriate tests and measures that can identify the disability and assist in identifying academic and related remedial strategies to assist your child.

Future Reevaluations

I do recommend students with LD be reevaluated at around age 15 or 16 if the child intends to request accommodations on the SAT/ACT or other college admissions tests. The College Board (SAT) and ACT frequently require recent assessments to support a request for disability accommodations on their entrance exams.

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