Special Education/testing


I have 2 questions
1)If you never meet a child how can you help with your services? I like your replies a great deal but I feel like you need to know a  child at least somewhat to help
2) My son is speech delayed but very bright. How can I ask for testing accommodations. I don't want them to make a special test for him but the thing is, he is not good with open ended questions but he knows all the material.  Having to use too much language is overwhelming. He studies so hard. When I was in school, there were so many testing accommodations in place and that was before all the special ed explosion.

Dear Lia, Thank you so much for writing to me.  I found your first question about how I can help parents on this site without knowing the child very interesting.  Your second question is about how you can request accommodations for your very bright child.  

1) As I hope you will find with my answer to number two below, I only use in my responses the information given to me by the parent. And I do not state an opinion about what the child needs or how the child should be served. What I do is help with general processes related to, and information about, the special education process. So for this service, I feel very comfortable answering parents. On the other hand, if you were to hire my service and I was helping you navigate the process, attending meetings, etc., I use a wide variety of ways to know the child such as classroom observations, home visits, interviews, etc. and get to know the child specifically.  If I get a question on this site that I cannot answer because I don't know the child, then I decline the question.  I hope that helps.  

2) Your son is speech delayed but very bright.  You seem to be saying to me that you feel he would benefit from multiple choice, graphic organizers, or word banks, for example, when test questions are open-ended (not recommending these, they are just examples).

If your son does not have currently a 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), you would ask for accommodation as an informal accommodation to see how he responds better or worse when the accommodation is provided.  Schools have to intervene, collect data, and then formalize accommodations that are needed for your son to progress in the curriculum.

If your son has an IEP or 504 Plan, you will want to ask the school to convene a multidisciplinary team meeting, and write your requests, so the team is clear about what you are requesting.  Sometimes, it is a good idea to get some testing done, to see how your son is able to show his knowledge on different individually-given tests. For example, in reading, there is a test called the Gray Oral Reading Test.  It is a multiple choice test, where the child reads and then answers comprehension questions through multiple choice.  Then there are other tests like the informal Qualitative Reading Inventory, where the child reads the passage and then the examiner asks open-ended questions.  So that is an example how data can help you advocate for what your child needs.  

Teachers should be differentiating in how children respond. So whether or not your child already qualifies for accommodation, I feel your expectation is appropriate, unless the district tests specifically do not allow the accommodation you are requesting.

I hope that my response has not only answered your questions, but helped you as you advocate for your child's education!  Thank you again for writing to me, and please follow up if you have any other questions.  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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