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Good Grades Despite Learning Disabilities?
Q: My fourth-grader brings home A's and B's and participates in a lot of extra-curricular activities. Her teacher and the school's psychologist think she has a learning problem and they want to evaluate her over a 60-day period. I don't understand this. Do I have a right to be defensive?
A: It's certainly possible for a child to have learning disabilities while maintaining excellent grades. Your description of why she needs to be tested by her school for the next 60 days is unclear to me. Did the teacher and the counselor describe in detail what these suspected learning disabilities were? What evidence did they offer you to justify their belief that she might have learning disabilities? There are certainly batteries of tests that can be administered that would offer confirmation of their suspicions. These tests and observations do not take 60 days to administer.
Your daughter may receive a CORE evaluation for suspected special needs and/or learning disabilities. This should be provided by the school, free of charge, as mandated by federal and state law. I would also encourage you to find an independent educational psychologist, one not affiliated with this school system. Ask the school for written documentation of their request for testing your daughter for learning disabilities, along with their rationale for doing so. Present this documentation to an experienced educational psychologist, one who tests children your daughter's age for learning disabilities. She'll let you know whether this testing is necessary.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.