April 27, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, It's Assessment Time!

Assessments, assessments, assessments (sung to the tune of Announcements, Announcements). Assessments are a necessary part of life with a special needs kid, especially if you are receiving services paid for by the government in some way. As I've written about before, Moe is transitioning out of Early Start services and into school district services. The cut-over is his third birthday, which is right around the corner. So now, we're deep in assessments.

This will be our third round of assessments with Moe. Our first was when we entered Early Start. After 6 months of services, we had a checkpoint assessment. We just completed exit assessments with his current ABA provider, have started the intake assessments with the school district.

The first time we received the reports, I was pretty upset. It is hard to hear that your 2 year old child is at a 9 or even 18 month level in something, especially for an overachiever like me. I've since learned that assessments are only a way to qualify for services. At best, they can serve as checkpoints, but they certainly don't tell the whole story. We know Moe's strengths and abilities, and I believe it is hard to accurately assess what a not quite three year old, mostly non-verbal child does or does not know. Still, I've gotten a sneak peek at some of Moe's exit assessment results, and I can't help but react.

Our OT told me that Moe made some great gains in all areas, but particularly in fine motor, where he was at a 31 month level. That means he's almost at age level. Woo-hoo! But then our speech therapist told me that Moe actually lost some points in communication. We believe it is because we started with a 24 month baseline when we started, which assumed he had certain skills that he didn't have. This time, we started with a lower baseline, so his scores seemed to go down. It makes sense, but still, it hurts to hear.

I can't wait for assessment season to be over.


  1. This is something I can relate to all the time. I don't know if Moe does a lot better at home, away from therapists. My son has global delays and he sort of freezes during assessments with developmental pediatricians and specialists. :(

    Great on the fine motor catchup! Hoping this quarter is better for speech too. The thought of such young children being subject to "performance reviews" way before they start a career upsets me a lot.

  2. Yes, Moe definitely does best in his natural environment, without any pressure to perform. Fortunately, some of the assessments are done by his regular therapists who know him fairly well.

    Just something we need to get through, I guess.


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