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Expert Q&A

Special Ed Assessment

I’m a special education teacher who has wavered for six years about whether to test my own son for a learning disability. He doesn’t want to be a “special” kid with “special” teachers. How do I know if it is right to test and risk my son being mad at me?

This is a common question from special educators; we wonder if perhaps we know too much about our field and are looking to find disabilities in our own children as a result. I have personally had to deal with this situation with one of my sons who has ADD. However, if they indeed have a special education need, we should not let our hesitancy create a situation where our children do not receive the assessment and services they may need. I think the most important thing is to let your child know that first and foremost you are his parent. That may mean working it out so that someone else (one of his teachers or someone from his school) is the one to recommend that he be assessed for a learning disability. You should definitely not be the one to actually administer any of the assessments, or to review them to make a diagnosis. The fact that you are in the field gives you the advantage of having access to well-trained educators and assessment specialists.